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CFlandre's blog

6:27 PM on 09.29.2012

Why The Oculus Rift MAY Fail

Let's be honest here: people get overly ambitious when talking about the "Future of Gaming".

Just a bit of perspective before I start: I bought a Wii during launch. I was one of 16 lucky people who got their Wii at Best Buy, not too long after it came out. And I was excited as hell. Why? Because I thought that the Wii could change the way we interface with games.

I mean, think of it: there's so many things the Wii remote could be! It could be a gun! It could be a sword! It could be anything! What's not awesome about that?

And I was right: it did change it. But was it for the better?

I made a realization after I got my Wii: it isn't technology that drives the gaming industry. What drives the gaming industry are the games (surprise, surprise, right?).

A lot of the Wii games in my library have gone unplayed once beaten, with only a couple I still play. And while, sure, it was cool to be able to control where exactly a gun shoots, or which direction a sword swings, it always left me with a very shallow feeling in the pit of my stomach when all was said and done. No game in my library really stuck with me. Why did these games make me feel so empty?

I started playing older games from the NES and SNES eras in an attempt to find out what about these games I was getting that I wasn't getting from their modern counterparts. My answer? The games used their game design to immerse the player. The games were basically built around the player and his limitations! It wasn't about adding some unnecessary accessory to increase "immersion"; love and passion went into creating a game FOR the player, and that in turn made a more satisfying and memorable experience.

Which brings me to my main point: Motion Controls add nothing to a game, unless the game is built around the controls. For this reason, I feel that the Oculus Rift, essentially a virtual reality headset for consoles, is misguided in its aim to "increase immersion" through adding (what I would consider) an unnecessary accessory, and is likely to fail.

When people talk about the "Future of Gaming", I believe too much focus lies on the technologies of gaming, rather than exploring gaming as a medium for examining the human potential to think and feel.

Contrast the Oculus Rift with the Ouya, a new gaming system based on Android, whose maker Boxer8 is making the Ouya's SDK (software development kit) Open Source, so that anybody with a decent internet connection can access it, modify it, and develop games on their system. Why would they do this?

Because this is about something bigger than them, and they realize it.

They're opening the floodgates for those creative people, who would not be able to develop games on mainstream consoles like the Wii because of licensing and publishing costs, by making tools more readily available than they have been in the past three decades. They're trying to help people introduce new ideas to the gaming industry, which it desperately needs. And the Ouya's just the start; think about the ramifications should something like the Ouya succeed, where people in the gaming industry are only bound by their unfettered creativity.

In my opinion, that's the REAL Future of Gaming.

Alright, I'm spent. What do you guys think?   read

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