“VR is the third pillar of gaming.”
For the second consecutive week, I have not played any console games.
It’s not that I haven’t made any time to play. On the contrary: I turned on 14 different games this week, compared to a typical average of 10 titles. Interestingly, I spent less time overall gaming: typically, I put in about 20 hours per week, while this week came in closer to about 12 hours. Excepting 9 minutes checking out Chameleon Run (iOS) and 18 minutes collecting coins in Jetpack Joyride (Android), every moment of my game time was spent wearing Gear VR goggles. Don’t let anybody tell you that mobile VR is not real VR. This stuff is mind-blowing, and if you have a Samsung 6S or better, you’re crazy not to pick up a Gear VR headset and a controller.
I don’t expect that my fixation with VR at the expense of all other types of gaming will be a long-term trend. But then again, I thought for sure that I’d be back to my old console gaming habits within a week. I had heard stories of people leaving console gaming altogether for mobile games. I could never relate to that, because meta-focused social games don’t appeal to me. But I can see why a certain kind of enthusiast jumps into VR, and never wants to revert back to flat-screen gaming.
Here are the four things that keep me coming back:
Everything around you melts away. When I was in college, I’d go to the movie theaters three times a week. I loved the feeling of being able to see nothing but the entertainment in front of me. Watching a movie at home has never been the same, even with a huge HDTV screen. When watching The Avengers in my living room, I can still see the mail I have yet to open on the dining room table. The LEGO bricks littered on the floor. The books on my bookshelf that I’ll never get to reading. Subtle things that take me out of the zone. Putting on a VR headset pulls you into an entertainment zone that’s even more absorbing than an IMAX 3D movie. Everywhere you look, you’re immersed. All of your senses are captive to the entertainment experience.
I like the combination of full immersion and short play sessions. Most of the VR games I have been playing have me standing up. For roughly forty minutes, I’m somewhere else, testing my reflexes, tickling my brain with puzzles, and enjoying beautiful vistas. But I rarely want to play for longer than that. I’ll come back several times a day if I can, but my sessions don’t drag out for hours. The games are not made to keep you engaged for that long. I never feel like I need to stay up until 2:00am to finish an important long-term quest. Given my age and responsibilities, this seems like the best possible bang for the buck.
Mixing novelty with low-end premium pricing is a wonderful thing. I will always be willing to spend $70 for a game that I want to play, even if it will only last a handful of hours. That said, I sure do like spending $10 a lot more. All of the games on the Gear VR store are reasonably priced, making it easy for me to feel comfortable purchasing a lot of content. And since the games are premium, I don’t have to worry about virtual currency, timers, or energy meters. Gear VR lets me fly, shoot aliens, bowl, explore haunted houses, race karts, and snipe, all for less than the price of a single console game.
Portability and cordless play is awesome. It’s been a lot of fun to show this new tech to friends. I look forward to showing family members during an upcoming vacation. I love that I can play in any room that’s convenient. I love that I don’t have to worry about tripping over cords when I play standing up. This is such a big selling point, I think even owners of the Oculus Rift and the Vive can benefit by having a portable VR device. Gear VR is to Oculus Rift what the 3DS is to the WiiU. Both have great games, and there is certain to be a lot of ownership overlap.
- Chameleon Run (iOS): $0.99
- Omega Agent (Gear VR): $7.99
YTD Total: $1,212.98
- Dead Secret (Gear VR): 3h 16m
- Jump (Gear VR): 1h 32m
- Anshar Wars 2 (Gear VR): 1h 30m
- Land’s End (Gear VR): 1h 20m
- Gunjack: EVE (Gear VR): 1h 12m
- Evil Robot Traffic Jam (Gear VR): 1h 6m
- Omega Agent (Gear VR): 42m
- Affected 2: The Mansion (Gear VR): 30m
- Minecraft VR (Gear VR): 24m
- Smash Hit (Gear VR): 22m
- Temple Run VR (Gear VR): 18m
- Jet Pack Joyride (Android): 18m
- Chameleon Run (iOS): 9m