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Most VR games feel like demos - Spencer

Xbox head says VR will find its spot in gaming, but it will be a couple years before developers learn the ropes

Last month, Oculus' John Carmack said VR devs have for the most part been coasting on novelty so far. He isn't the only representative of a company with a stake in VR questioning the first steps into the new medium, as Microsoft head of Xbox Phil Spencer echoed similar sentiments in a recent interview with Stevivor that was published today.

"I don't think the creators in the game space have yet found - well, they haven't obviously perfected the craft of building VR games," Spencer said. "It's so early, I think we're a couple of years before we'll really see that hit mainstream."

Spencer said he's sold on VR films that transport people to new environments, but hasn't seen compelling counterparts in the gaming field.

"I think VR will find its spot in gaming; I would make that bet," Spencer said. "We designed Scorpio as a VR-capable console. Whether that happens this year, next year or the year after... like I said, I still think the creative community has to get its arms around what are these new tools, and this new feeling - this new immersion.

"What experiences do you put in people's hands to have a long-term engagement? Most of these things I'm playing now feel like demos and experiments, which I actually think it's absolutely the right thing to have happened. That's not a criticism at all, but should be happening. But I think it will take time."

Spencer likened the situation to the Kinect, saying that only a handful of games took advantage of the technology properly. Those that tried to offer traditional gameplay and just let users wave their arms as a substitute for pushing buttons failed, while games like Dance Central, which couldn't really map to a controller, fared better.

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Latest comments (5)

James Coote Independent Game Developer 4 years ago
It's already been a good couple of years since DK1 shipped to a large number of devs. The danger is we're still at this point in another two years time.
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Rodney Smith Developer 4 years ago
m$ spoilers. just grow up and stop it.
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Robin Clarke Producer, AppyNation Ltd4 years ago
There are already more decent PSVR games than Kinect's grand total of zero.

I think MS thought they could carry on making vague pronouncements about Hololens for a few more years before VR started attracting mainstream users.
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Jeff Kleist Writer, Marketing, Licensing 4 years ago
There's definitely great Kinect games

Dance Central 1/2/3
Child of Eden
The Gunstringer

And definitely some decent fun ones

Power up heroes (later reskinned to an avengers game)
Kinect sports 1/2
Disneyland Adventires

This issue with VR is that many people find they're fatigued after 30-45 minutes. The solution being that bite size chapters of a bigger story riding the edge. It's similar to sandbox games that help out busy people by making sure it's easily digestible in hour long bites. But since the audience right now is limited, a 2 hour batman game is what the customer base will support.

Hololens is a commercial product with an eventual goal of being a consumer one. You won't see them on the shelf till close to 2020.
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Paul Jace Merchandiser 4 years ago
I will echo Jeff's sentiments, there were definitely some good Kinect games, including the Your Shape series, Fruit Ninja Kinect and some of the download-only party games like Home Run Stars and Wreckateer . The problem for Kinect games was that the good one's only encompassed a small group of genres. But good Kinect games absolutely still existed and anyone who says otherwise obviously never used a Kinect for any significant amount of time.

And I think that Phil is right about most VR games feeling like demos. But this is still mainly due to how early we are in this round of VR. If it last then things can get better. But that's assuming the VR craze doesn't sputter out in the next year or two.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Paul Jace on 2nd November 2016 3:06am

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