Gaming Enthusiast http://www.gamingenthusiast.net PC Gaming News, Reviews & Interviews Sat, 28 Mar 2015 03:03:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Vive VR Dev Kits Releasing Free Soon – But Don’t Expect To Get In http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/vive-vr-dev-kits-releasing-free-soon-but-dont-expect-to-get-in/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/vive-vr-dev-kits-releasing-free-soon-but-dont-expect-to-get-in/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 03:03:17 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22256

Valve and HTC will be offering signups for their Vive dev kits soon. The bad news; they will definitely have limited slots. The good news,…

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Valve and HTC will be offering signups for their Vive dev kits soon.

The bad news; they will definitely have limited slots. The good news, the kits will be free. The bad news (again): the kits will apparently be free ‘for now’, implying you may not want to sign up if you can’t spring for the costs for it down the line.

A select group of devs already have their hands on the Vive headsets, so Valve is working to slowly expand the number of users.

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CABAL 2 Previews Wizard And Priest, Closed Beta Launching End Of April http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/cabal-2-previews-wizard-and-priest-closed-beta-launching-end-of-april/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/cabal-2-previews-wizard-and-priest-closed-beta-launching-end-of-april/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 02:55:59 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22253

ESTSoft has shared a new preview of two classes for upcoming MMO CABAL 2. The game is, of course, the sequel to MMO Cabal Online,…

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ESTSoft has shared a new preview of two classes for upcoming MMO CABAL 2.

The game is, of course, the sequel to MMO Cabal Online, which boasted 30 million players from 60 countries. ESTSoft has announced closed beta will start at the end of April, prior to a release this Spring.

Watch the preview below.

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Humble Store Goes 2K Krazy; Any 2K Game Gets You Spec Ops Free http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/humble-store-goes-2k-krazy-any-2k-game-gets-you-spec-ops-free/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/humble-store-goes-2k-krazy-any-2k-game-gets-you-spec-ops-free/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 02:42:40 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22250

2K Games is the latest to offer up their games on sale on Humble, and they didn’t unveil any Humble Bundle, they still have a…

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2K Games is the latest to offer up their games on sale on Humble, and they didn’t unveil any Humble Bundle, they still have a good promo on offer.

Any purchase gets you a free copy of Spec Ops: The Line, gratis, including the game itself, currently at $ 6. The duplicate can be gifted, of course, but you can totally buy the cheapest game on offer (Sid Meier’s Civilization III Complete for $ 1.24) and get it that way too.

Still, 2K’s best titles are part of the sale, including Evolve, a Bioshock triple pack, XCOM Enemy Unknown, and more, for as much as 83 % off.

The sale is live until March 31, 10 AM PDT. Check out Humble’s storepage here.

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Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin Has Confusing Pricing (But You Could Save Money) http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/dark-souls-2-scholar-of-the-first-sin-has-confusing-pricing-but-you-could-save-money/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/dark-souls-2-scholar-of-the-first-sin-has-confusing-pricing-but-you-could-save-money/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 02:26:52 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22248

Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin has some confusing pricing, but you’ll want to read up, as it could save you some dollars.…

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Dark Souls 2 Scholar of the First Sin has some confusing pricing, but you’ll want to read up, as it could save you some dollars.

From Software has created enhancements for DirectX11, but if your PC can only run DirectX9, it’s fine. You get your own version of the game, which is a little bit cheaper and with lower requirements. You have upgrade options for either version if you own the original too.

DirectX9 – $ 40
DirectX11 – $ 50
DirectX9 to DirectX11 upgrade (if you own all DLC) – $ 20
DirectX11 Scholar upgrade (if you don’t have all the DLC) – $ 30

Read the requirements for the DirectX9 and DirectX11 version below.

DirectX9 Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows Vista SP2 / Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8
CPU: AMD Phenom II X2 555 3.2GHz / Intel Pentium Core 2 Duo E8500 3.17GHz
Memory: 2GB RAM
GPU: Nvidia GeForce 9600GT / ATI Radeon HD5870
DirectX: 9.0c
Network: Broadband Internet Connection
Hard Drive: 12GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX9 sound device
Additional Notes: Controller support: Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller for Windows (or equivalent) recommended

DirectX 9 Recommended Specifications:

OS: Windows 7 SP1 / Windows 8
CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 3.10GHz / AMD A8 3870K 3.0GHz
Memory: 4GB RAM
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 / ATI Radeon HD 6870 or better
DirectX: 9.0c
Network: Broadband Internet Connection
Hard Drive: 15GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX9 sound device
Additional Notes: Controller support: Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller for Windows (or equivalent) recommended

DirectX11 Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows 7 SP1 64bit / Windows 8.1 64bit
CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 3.1GHz / AMD A8 3870 3.6GHz
Memory: 4GB RAM
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 465 / ATI Radeon HD 6870
DirectX: 11
Network: Broadband Internet Connection
Hard Drive: 23GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX11 sound device
Additional Notes: Controller support: Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller for Windows (or equivalent) recommended

DirectX 11 Recommended Specifications:

OS: Windows 7 SP1 64bit / Windows 8.1 64bit
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz / AMD FX 8150 3.6GHz or better
Memory: 8GB RAM or better
GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 750 (700 series) or better / ATI Radeon HD 7850 (7000 series) or better
DirectX: 11
Network: Broadband Internet Connection
Hard Drive: 23GB available space
Sound Card: DirectX11 sound device
Additional Notes: Controller support: Microsoft Xbox 360 Controller for Windows (or equivalent) recommended

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Oculus Revealed At Facebook Event, Fails To Impress Buzzfeed http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/oculus-revealed-at-facebook-event-fails-to-impress-buzzfeed/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/oculus-revealed-at-facebook-event-fails-to-impress-buzzfeed/#comments Sat, 28 Mar 2015 02:02:38 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22246

Oculus Rift was unveiled to the general public at Facebook’s F8 event. Unfortunately, it failed to impress the non-gaming media. Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash…

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Oculus Rift was unveiled to the general public at Facebook’s F8 event. Unfortunately, it failed to impress the non-gaming media.

Oculus Chief Scientist Michael Abrash gave a talk at the event titled “Why Virtual Reality Matters To You”. If gaming outlets have jumped in to the VR bandwagon, more mainstream reporters, such as Joseph Bernstein at Buzzfeed, remain nonplussed.

Here’s a salient quote/commentary from Buzzfeed:

Yes, Facebook CTO Mike Schroepfer pitched the idea of Oculus as a way to improve our social connections — imagine the joy of getting to virtually experience an office birthday! — and yet Abrash’s vision of practical VR felt lame and circumscribed: “an infinitely configurably virtual workspace” … using “our hands as dexterous manipulators.”

Do you agree with Bernstein’s assessment? Is Oculus doubtful to find use outside of a gaming device? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Life is Strange Offers Time Manipulation And Decision Making Gameplay http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/life-is-strange-offers-time-manipulation-and-decision-making-gameplay/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/life-is-strange-offers-time-manipulation-and-decision-making-gameplay/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 18:56:54 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22241

The episodic adventure known as Life is Strange is taking strides to give The Walking Dead series a run for its money. The game is…

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The episodic adventure known as Life is Strange is taking strides to give The Walking Dead series a run for its money. The game is developed by Dontnod and is published by Square-Enix. However, when it comes to point-and-click, the game offers a bit more exploration and observation it’s city, Arcadia Bay.

The main character of the game is Max Caulfield. She has discovered, after a few blackouts of day dreaming, that she now has the power to alter time. This emphasis on time comes with conflicting actions as she can choose to stick with a decision made, or learn from the mistake and alter reality. There is great power in being able to change a sequence of events, but it can also prove dangerous based on the web of occurrences that continue to unfold on the Oregon coastline.

Life is Strange is now available for $4.99 and episode on PC via Steam, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

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Life is Strange: Episode 2 Review http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/review/life-is-strange-episode-2-review/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/review/life-is-strange-episode-2-review/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 16:23:05 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=review&p=22194

Developer: Dontnod Publisher: Square-Enix Platform: PC [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One Release Date: March 24, 2015 Price: $4.99 [Per episode] It’s…

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Developer: Dontnod
Publisher: Square-Enix
Platform: PC [Reviewed], PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: March 24, 2015
Price: $4.99 [Per episode]

It’s tough to talk about the happenings within an episodic adventure and not spoil its contents. However, you might be reading this to wonder whether or not to continue on purchasing future episodes, or even to start the journey of Max and her special abilities to alter immediate time. The Dontnod developed Square-Enix published game is detailed by its hand-painted art style and sophomoric voice acting. But, the teen-drama highlights itself with flares of profanity, drugs, and flavors of punk rock.

The second episode of the game introduces a few new faces to the growing cast of members of the Blackwell Academy, a collegiate institution located in Arcadia Bay. The city finds itself nestled against the waves of the Pacific Ocean along the Oregon coast, sitting just below forested hills. While this may not douse itself in mystery, the recent happenings and missing girl slowly reveal that there is something afoot. Max starts to question the validity of her reality and just how the reintroduction of her friend Chloe will help decipher its meaning. The question isn’t quite clear as to what these visions are, but rather when.

The game is rich in scenery and environment detail.

The game is rich in scenery and environment detail.

The main mechanic of the game is delivered in the form of time alteration. In the role of Max, you are tasked with observing, interacting, and searching in order to determine if premonitions about others are true, leaving you to determine if perception is in fact reality. And in that sense, the reality can be altered being that you can take back almost any action whether said or done. There is a rewind feature that can slowly backtrack to certain moments and choices made. Whereas, hitting the other rewind action will enact a complete leap backwards, enabling you to make different choices or selections in the convo tree. This becomes helpful in second-guessing yourself after making a decision that can be altered. However, there are certain portions of the game that cannot be undone.

This determination system is further emphasized in the second episode titled “Out of Time.” There are more situations introduced which challenge you to make more difficult decisions and determine how your story will play out. More environments are introduced around the academy grounds, like the girls shower room. Dependent on how comfortable you are, playing these areas can leave a sense of uneasiness, as if I wasn’t supposed to be there. But, there are more pertinent questions to be answered, like: Who is Rachel? Where did this time change ability come from? And, even: Why Max?

Other thoughts about Max start to form if you continue to explore the surroundings of Blackwell Academy. There are references to such books as “The October Country” by Ray Bradbury, and a few other works from him. There is also a depiction of “The Wringer Cow” done in the same art style as “The Catcher in the Rye” book cover. Looking deeper in to the meaning of both stories, we may infer that this could all be a hallucination from Max. She even has the same last name of Caulfield, which is the same as the main character of “The Catcher in the Rye.” While the decision making and adverse effects of rewinding may cause physical harm to Max, there is the bigger question as to whether it’s just her brain succumbing to a mental breakdown. This is something that digs its hooks into you as the story progresses and the more tertiary characters become involved in the main storyline.

Here is a comparison to The Catcher in the Rye seen on the right and The Wringer and the Cow seen on the left.

Here is a comparison to The Catcher in the Rye seen on the right and The Wringer and the Cow seen on the left.

 

As we jump further into the happenings of the town and its inhabitants, there situations unfolding all around. Warren is still chasing Max with his adolescent heart, and Officer Madsen keeps a general shroud of creepiness in his aural spectrum. Watching your surrounds can become extremely helpful in finding clues about school peers, or about Max’s observations of people. Her thoughts can be heard as she makes comments on how stressed a woman looks as she’s waiting for the bus, or how much the city has probably changed in the eyes of the man standing adjacent to the woman. Conversation trees can be navigated with most characters, offering new things to be added to her personal journal that can be referenced in the options menu.

Max is introduced to some awareness that her “gift” isn’t to be taken lightly. For instance, she turns down the possibility of casually having sexual intercourse with random human beings, then reversing it like it never happened. Chloe does present some interesting topics of conversation.

The second episode drives a sense of discovery as we find out more about Chloe and her relation to Rachel. This begs the question as to who is responsible for Rachel’s disappearance, even offering to question my initial prediction as to what person was responsible for the potential crime. Again, there is more questioning about characters and initial assumptions made. This is what makes Life is Strange a different experience: having it seem like you have control of time alteration, which instead, throws a wrench in the gears of your ability to make decisions and stick with them.

Man, look at that junk in that trunk.

Man, look at that junk in that trunk.

The second episode also toys with your heart-strings. There are more questions about morality. Choosing a question on screen doesn’t always align with what you might do in real life, but rather, what you fear the outcome might be. There is a lot of that in “Out of Time,” which probably hints at the contents of the episode itself.

The Bottom Line:

I’m lost in the middle. On one hand, the game is beautifully created in this painted art style, tugs at emotions, and could easily kill you with curiosity. Moments like allowing Max to sit down and pluck the guitar along with the soundtrack is something to marvel, taking ones time in exploring the intricacies of a simple dorm room.

On the other, the game frustrates with at times limited conversation trees, with other more sprawling ones only used to have shallow conversations about cute boys, and even side-tracking puzzles that could have been better spent on exploration.

There is something about Life is Strange that is strange. There is still an inner debate as I continue on the journey of Max, bloody noses, and my new found ability of being granted take-backs, plus do-overs, but no cutsies.

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EA:Battlefield Hardline DRM Does Not Limit PC Parts, But Number Of PCs Registered http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/eabattlefield-hardline-drm-does-not-limit-pc-parts-but-number-of-pcs-registered/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/eabattlefield-hardline-drm-does-not-limit-pc-parts-but-number-of-pcs-registered/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:45:21 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22227

EA has clarified earlier reports that Battlefield Hardline on PC comes with intrusive DRM. It actually does something else, which isn’t as bad, but isn’t…

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EA has clarified earlier reports that Battlefield Hardline on PC comes with intrusive DRM. It actually does something else, which isn’t as bad, but isn’t all that great either.

These are EA’s exact words:

Origin authentication allows players to install a game on up to five different PCs every 24 hours.

Players looking to benchmark more than five hardware configurations in one 24 hour period can contact our Customer Support team who can help.

While in practice most gamers won’t enter a situation where they’ll register more than five PCs, in principle this is still a limitation on consumer rights. Origin certainly isn’t a popular DRM system for gamers either, for the many bugs and issues and limitations it creates.

Does this discourage you from buying Hardline? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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GOG Throws Shade At Steam With Expanded Refunds Policy http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/gog-throws-shade-at-steam-with-expanded-refunds-policy/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/news/gog-throws-shade-at-steam-with-expanded-refunds-policy/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 02:32:08 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=news&p=22225

GOG has expanded upon their refunds policy, not just for the benefit of the customers, but clearly as a swipe on Steam. On their State…

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GOG has expanded upon their refunds policy, not just for the benefit of the customers, but clearly as a swipe on Steam.

On their State of Customer Experience post, they reveal that they have expanded the refunds period to 30 days, beyond the 14 days the EU mandates. They also say you shouldn’t feel the need to rush, because GOG will consider the timer stopped when you contact them (AKA as long as you let them know, even at the last minute, you can get that refund).

Furthermore, GOG states that they will offer refunds after you’ve downloaded your games if you find that they don’t run on your computer, for whatever reason. This is clearly a strike on Valve’s current refunds policy, which states that you waive your refund rights the moment you start downloading your games.

GOG is a far way from challenging Steam’s dominance, but this certainly is a step towards making GOG even more enticing. You can rest assured GOG’s fanbase (disclosure: includes me!) is going to stay fiercely loyal to them for some time.

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PR vs. VR: Is Virtual Reality Here to Stay or Short Term Play? http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/article/pr-vs-vr-is-virtual-reality-here-to-stay-or-short-term-play/ http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/article/pr-vs-vr-is-virtual-reality-here-to-stay-or-short-term-play/#comments Fri, 27 Mar 2015 00:53:28 +0000 http://www.gamingenthusiast.net/?post_type=article&p=22130

Is there room for VR in the PC gaming market?

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With the start and close of the Game Developers Conference (GDC), we saw signs that Virtual Reality was starting to become more popular with companies investing in the technology. However, when the software and hardware reaches consumers, there still ins’t quite a clear picture as to what many will be expected to sacrifice in order to buy their first headset. There are many “Why’s” and “What’s” to be answered as to whether or not many of us are wasting our time.

Ryan and Greg of PC Gaming Enthusiast have differing views on the potential pitfalls and success that the technology will bring. They’ve taken the liberty of forming arguments to hash out their differences, hoping to shed some light on the emerging platform.

Here’s a brave prediction on virtual reality: It will be too expensive, it will not be adopted by the public at large, and it will die out again in five year’s time.

Ryan: Strong words, right? And how can I be so sure that virtual reality won’t hit it off? To be frank, the law of averages is on my side.

Of course, the tech industry has always been about innovation and launching new product categories. For every successful product and company that truly makes it, there are many more products that don’t get there, and hundreds upon hundreds of products that that have been rendered obsolete. Before the mp3, there was RealAudio. Before Windows popularized graphic user interfaces for personal computers, there was GEM, created by Digital Research.

Virtual reality as we know it today was first popularized by Jaron Lanier, who designed HMDs and gloves under VPL Research in the 1980s. VR had its best year in 1991, with the release of the commercial products Virtuality and Sega VR headsets. This year also saw the development of the first cubic immersive room and a VR simulation of Mars rovers for NASA.

The following year, CGW predicted VR would become affordable by 1994. As we all know, this would never come to pass.

I have no doubt VR technology has advanced far from where it used to be. VR seemed to reappear out of nowhere. But since the tech was first unveiled in the 1980s, it continued to find use outside the consumer markets. Governments and private companies found uses for VR. It can help train pilots, make cars safer, test medicine, and serve as a form of exposure therapy. It is even in use in fields such as education and archaeology. Thanks to advancements in motion controls, graphics hardware acceleration, and many other fields, including a better understanding of creating immersion, VR companies are confident their tech is consumer readyVirtuality

But VR is still a huge wager. VR companies are hoping that they can convince consumers to adopt the tech en masse, in the same way Apple convinced the world to adopt iPhones. But what’s in it for us?

Let’s look at the value proposition of VR. You have to already own a computer, game console, or possibly a high end smartphone. You have to buy a headset for at least $200 (the selling price of Samsung Gear VR). And then you buy games. That is a lot to ask for.

 

Here lies Google Glass. A short trip down the road of fashion infused tech that never really left the ground.

Here lies Google Glass. A short trip down the road of fashion infused tech that never really left the ground.

Also consider another recent flub: 3D television. While TV makers saw an opportunity in cheaper means of producing the 3D tech. There was a ready potential market with the popularity of CG movies that could be resold at home in 3D. It simply did not all come together. Consumers found 3D glasses to be a huge hassle, and it added nothing to any of the media it was used for , as outlined here.

I think VR will likely receive the same treatment that 3D television received.. In between, there will be some good headsets and games that will be great, if you can afford it, but unless the tech companies figure out a way to make the tech more accessible, it won’t catch on.

Sorry, but VR is here to stay!

Greg: The discrediting of virtual reality as a simple fad is easy to do. Of course when new technology introduced to the public, the first duty and response is to find reasoning as to why it will fail, flaring up the pessimists in the realm of PC gaming. Instead, new technology should be embraced and met with optimism as to why said technology is important.

“A digital service where music is purchased off the internet? People want to buy the physical copy and own the CD.” Apple made it work. “A download service for video games? People want to buy the actual, physical copy.” Tell that to Valve with its Steam concurrent user count to be about 9-million. “No one is going to pay a subscription for movies when they can just go rent or buy them at the store.” I guess Netflix was just an idea at one point in time, right?

There is a simple reason as to why VR will succeed, and that is because the innovation and technology has reached a level playing field. Otherwise, we wouldn’t see the research and development from Valve, Samsung, HTC, Razer, or even NVIDIA. So, what’s the big deal if these companies are involved?

These hardware, software, and game developers have invested in an idea: provide a vehicle in which to bring a new experience to the masses. They are creating a market for it instead of pursuing an afterthought of one.

There are three main reasons in which this will be possible: the price, the support, and the demand for VR.

Pricing has been such a huge deal in the run of this prospective launch. The money that each PC gamer spends on RAM, CPUs, GPUs, cooling systems, and the standard case has now become necessity in creating a rig good enough to play most games. In an effort to battle cost, Razer is one such company introducing open source virtual reality (OSVR) in the efforts to drive down cost, even offering a solution to 3D print your own set.

OSVR Infogram

A $199 VR headset has much more promise than a Kinect or even a new Turtle Beach set. The level of immersion can far outweigh the experience as a whole. In gaming, immersion is the reason people will repeatedly spend $59.99 within a year just to get the newest installment of Battlefield, or $39.99 on a game that they’ve already purchased before but now is remastered.

Unlike the shortfalls of motion control and the 3D TV experience, there is more behind the driving force of VR. NVIDIA recently introduced the TITAN X, and more importantly, its support for VR. Instead of the development stemming from console gaming and creating a fad within a community, it stems from the inner-core of hardware/software development, providing a solid backbone.

The Oculus Rift ignited the development of VR, but it also piqued interest in the average PC gamer. It conveyed the message that “yes, you can experience this too.”

That brings us to market that Oculus created, and now others are refining. Even the car company Tesla was once at the point where people were disinterested in the thought of having an electric sports car. I remember an episode on National Geographic titled “The Future of Electric Cars” that featured a young car developer. It seemed as though the technology was years and years away, but one day you could see someone driving it down the street.

For Tesla, there was a void in which people wanted a high-quality electric vehicle that didn’t look like a wind-up mouse. Sorry, Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius owners. The demand for VR was created when motion controls fizzled out and there wasn’t anything happening on the forefront of new ways to play.

content

The desire for more immersive gaming is here. Where do games go once they’ve reached HD and have since reached the realm of 4K? The question, to me, was answered a while back after seeing a few demos from NVIDIA. Having played the Oculus Rift a few times before, it was easy to see that there is a whole new realm accessible to people who want more from the gaming experience. I’m not talking about the core gaming audience. Developers are providing an immersive gaming experience to someone who might not have full functionality of their motor skills. If you don’t think there are people out there unlike yourself, the average gamer, that want to play an FPS, racer, or adventure game–think again.

VR does live up to the hype, there is a market for it, and unfortunately, stacks the odds against those who oppose it.

So, what is the verdict? Is VR a bunch of huff-and-puff or does it have solid real-estate in the gaming market?

 

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