VR Is Like a "Very Expensive Wii," DayZ Creator Says
"In reality, I see this as a very expensive Wii," Dean Hall explains.
DayZ creator Dean Hall, who now runs his own studio in New Zealand, is taking a cautious approach to virtual reality. Writing on Reddit, the developer said it's still very early days for the technology. Though his studio Rocket Werkz is conducting experiments, he isn't putting all of his eggs into one basket.
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In making his comments, Hall said VR overall is like a "very expensive Wii."
"In reality, I see this as a very expensive Wii," Hall said (via GI.biz). "The Wii was successful because it offered simple, fun, approachable experiences at a low cost. We don't know what kinds of games will sell well, how big the market will be, and so on. So our steps with VR are exploration and we're not banking the studio on it. I fear some studios are so swept up with the possibilities of VR they're putting everything into it when we don't know anything about the VR game market. How many people will be buying VR games? and how much will they pay?"
Hall added that one of his chief concerns with the VR space right now is around making games that can be played for more than 20 minutes. While play sessions on console and PC can last hours, Hall said he's not sure, at least not yet, that the same can be true for VR.
"Overall my greatest concern has been: can we make good VR games that people will want to play for longer than 20min?" he said. "Vive/Oculus make for great E3 demos. When people come to the studio for visits, inevitably we send them off to the VR room for a demo. It offers simple, clear, and relatable experiences that anyone can appreciate."
Hall also said while some see Oculus Rift and HTC Vive as being similar in nature in the kind of way that PlayStation and Xbox consoles are, this may not be exactly true. He pointed out that Vive focuses more on positional tracking; being able to stand up in a room and walk around. And, for now at least, Rift is better prepared for and more associated with a sit-down experience. Both can be great--but they are different.
"While there is some overlap that seem, at least initially, like they are focused in different areas," he said. "While you can use each to do what the other is, they're both designed at the core quite differently and seem to me to be retrofitted to also do what the other is."
"For example, the Vive is focused on positional tracking right from the get-go and it is clear when you use it," he added. "Games designed for one or the other work best, IMHO, and I would offer Eve Valkyrie as a great example. CCP sat down and made a game for the Oculus and the result was outstanding."
"They're amazing," he went on to say about the devices. "They don't make me sick, and there are sample games that are a lot of fun. It's the device that really convinced me that we could make fun (and not just casual-as-f**k) VR games."
Rift launches to the public at the end of March, while HTC Vive goes on sale in April. Sony's PlayStation 4 headset PlayStation VR is due to launch this year, but a release date has not been announced.
Hall quit DayZ developer Bohemia Interactive at the end of 2014. His latest project is called Ion, and is described as "not a game" but rather more of a universe that's defined by physics, biology, and chemistry.
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