E3 2016 – We Are VR Troopers

lawnmowerman2Another E3 has come and gone. We have new hardware and software to look forward to. It almost seems like Sony and Microsoft want people to believe that this generation is over and a new one is just beginning. The biggest push in the coming months seems to be VR. This technology has peeled back a layer to reveal another universe. Virtual reality will grow, just as the telegraph grew to the telephone – as the radio to the TV – it will be everywhere.

lawnmowerWith Playstation Neo and Project Scorpio, the message is that console generations are a thing of the past. Both Microsoft and Sony have tasted the sweet business model of the phone market and want  you to upgrade your console every couple years. “Don’t worry, all your games will still play on the new hardware”, they repeated over again. Microsoft even announced a slightly upgraded, slimmer version of it’s original XBox One, the XBox One S which seems to be placed in a precarious position right off the bat. Why would anyone rush to buy an XBox One S, much less an original XBox One when Project Scorpio is right around the corner. However, the real reason behind the upgrades is upcoming 4K gaming and VR revolution.

c0b00267-8c99-4ad5-8765-09600b3f934bVR was a big focus in the show. Microsoft’s Augmented Reality headset, Hololens is now out in the wild and Sony’s big thing was Playstation VR.  That’s not to count out PC’s own Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. However, these are just useless gadgets without software, and software was a huge showing in the VR space. From announced experiences like Star Wars Battlefront X-Wing Mission, Batman Arkham VR, and Eagle Flight to games like Star Trek: Bridge Crew, FarpointStatik Institute of Retention, Psychonauts In the Rhombus of Ruin, and Serious Sam VR to VR being bolted on to existing games such as Fallout 4 and Doom.  These companies are betting big on VR and I can only hope that it isn’t a fad this time around. Maybe if it catches on we will get a big budget remake of the Lawnmower Man.

There were some good traditional games shown as well. Nintendo stole the show with Legend Of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild. They also announced a new IP, Ever Oasis which looks suspiciously like Legend of Zelda in the desert. Prey 2, which debuted at E3 a few years back and was rumored as canceled is back as Prey. Rare’s Sea Of Thieves makes me long for a new Monkey Island game. Horizon Zero Dawn and ReCore still look awesome with badass ladies hunting robots. Detroit is based on the really good short film, Kara by Quantic Dream though the trailers has a distinct lack of Kara in them. Crash Bandicoot is getting a remaster. Batman, South Park, ShantaeWatchdogs, Halo Wars, God Of War (with Christopher Judge!), and the DC universe mashup with Mortal Kombat, Injustice are all getting new games as well. Lastly, I will be keeping my eye on Bound, Pyre, We Happy Few, and Axiom Verge.

The VR future is here

VR is here and is building on the motion control that marked last generation. Only time will tell if it is here to stay or not. It is doubtful that I will dip into the VR waters any time soon. Between price and space requirements, it seems like they are fighting an uphill battle with consumers. However, there doesn’t seem to be any lack of traditional gaming options in the near future. So for now, I can’t wait to see what the next year in gaming has in store.

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