Virtual reality is already having all kinds of impacts beyond its ability to transform popular video games. We’ve covered virtual reality and tourism (one of the more exciting things going on in VR-related tech), and there are also VR experiments happening in fitness, education, and all kinds of other exciting areas. When we do consider gaming, however, it’s possible that we are largely overlooking the biggest potential impact of VR. This technology might have the power to make fringe or niche gaming genres more popular among the masses.
Basically, it might be able to do this by turning games that previously had limited appeal into more relatable and interactive experiences. These are a few of the genres that would make us say so.
Tabletop Strategy Games
Tabletop strategy games are perhaps the ultimate niche form of entertainment. While they’re extraordinarily popular with certain people (and may have been even more so years and decades in the past), others disregard them as boring or primitive – or even nerdy. There’s a certain culture to tabletop strategy games that just doesn’t necessarily overlap with more traditional gaming culture. That could change in a hurry thanks to VR though. Even back in the spring of 2016, when consumer VR devices were more or less brand new, an article referred to strategy games as “VR’s most surprising killer genre,” and since that time more games have come out to rave reviews. Putting these traditional games into VR has seemingly given them a new, more modern appeal, such that the format now appeals to traditional gamers, while the games themselves are still perfect for old fans.
Slot machine simulations are actually very popular – or at least there are a ton of mobile apps with different versions of them. However, a lot of people simply look past these games as loud, distracting, and ultimately somewhat uninventive and boring. Subtly, however, this genre has already gotten a lot more sophisticated online, and in a way that might set it up nicely to generate enthusiasm on VR. Specifically, the games’ transition to 3D animation has been one of the most talked about innovations in recent times where online gaming is concerned. The games have gotten more engaging and gained more universal appeal, and those trends figure to continue in virtual reality. A slot in VR is going to be more exciting than your average mobile slot simply because there will be a setting and characters involved.
It’s a little bit harder to justify calling platformers niche games. It’s a huge genre (basically any game in which the hero you’re controlling is navigating “platform” levels, typically in 2D). It’s also an extraordinarily popular one. That said, most platformers are at least lightly associated with younger age groups. The rest of us might look at them with a degree of nostalgia, but most adult gamers are playing other genres on their high-end game systems. VR might just be able to bring platformers back to the forefront of the industry regardless of age groups. Indeed some have speculated that it could be one of virtual reality’s best genres. The thrill of jumping into this kind of game on your own may just outweigh the idea that the games are for younger audiences.