Virtual Reality and the Future of MMOs - Pipe Dream or Possibility?

Brittany Vincent
By Brittany Vincent, News Editor August 5, 2014


Virtual reality has been a hot topic in gaming almost since its inception. Many companies have tried and had limited success to introduce the “next new revolution” in gaming over the years. Although several devices that have been touted as “virtual reality” with minimal success, most notably Virtuality, a line of arcade machines that were popular in the early 1990’s, and the Virtual Boy, a monochromatic headset which flopped for Nintendo in 1995. Outside of these few meager mainstream attempts, there has not been a branding or a company that has lent itself to being the “name” of VR until recently.

Enter Oculus VR, the biggest name in VR tech right now. Recently selling themselves to Facebook for 2 billion dollars was quite an unexpected move, but the increased funding has the Facebook/Oculus partnership setting big goals for itself. One possible project that may be in the works is a VR-based MMO. Imagine, a whole new world with thousands of players interconnected completely in the game, but is this a close reality or simply another VR pipe dream?


With the drop of Oculus’s second development kit, gamers are getting a closer eye on what the possible final specs may play like. Featuring a 1080p resolution screen, this version seems to be getting closer to their goal of making a player forget where they are. Gone may be the days of third-person MMOs and this may entirely change the way MMOs are made. Combat would no longer be the stuff of macros and clicking.

Any first-person combat is by its nature more visceral, and players would probably have to adapt to a more twitch style of gameplay with the change in the depth of vision. Sidebar chat would also probably fall away with VoIP taking over as the number one form of communication between players. Outside of visual VR, due to things like PrioVR and ControlVR’s new suits, hand signals may be a possibility for players in the future. But that all opens up its own communicative challenges as well, especially given some players’ propensity for vulgarity and the allure of being a “troll.”


However, all this comes with a price. Despite being marketed towards all types of gamers, this type of technology won't come cheap, at least initially. And when you consider the fact that more and more players are opting to take their MMO time on the road with releases like Dawn of the Immortals, the question of whether or not this is even something enough MMO players are willing to pay for comes in play. Sure, it would be engaging and interesting to delve into the worlds of your favorite games with a level of control you've never had before, but would it be even practical at this point in time?


The final area of consideration would be the fact that the tech simply isn't as advanced as it should be for this type of interaction. It’s clear from the many Let’s Plays and showcases from amateur streamers and professionals alike that, while it’s making great strides currently, the tech we have at our disposal at this very moment simply isn't advanced enough to make for convincing virtual reality exploration and interaction at the scale MMO's need.

It’s a lofty goal that’s at least a VR generation or two away. But we’re getting there, and that’s the start of things. Every awesome undertaking begins with an idea, and now that we’re working with fragments, no matter how small, of what could eventually blossom into one of the greatest undertakings this side of the persistent world, we're well on our way to seeing it come to fruition -- even if it’s a little ways off just yet.

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About the Author

Brittany Vincent
Brittany Vincent, News Editor
Brittany Vincent started her games media career in 2007. She's a prolific freelancer, contributing to outlets like G4TV, Joystiq, IGN, GamesRadar, Destructoid, Kotaku and more.

Discussion (32)

Lerch2000 3 years ago
Ok to be clear, I don't own or have ever tried a VR setup. But I was wondering since we know sitting to close to tv's and pc monitors are bad for your eyes, doesn't that mean VR sets would be really bad? (isn't it a screen in there your looking at?)

Unknown 5 years ago
More like fake VR if were using a controller to move our character in the game it's not really VR then. But even though its a smart idea for a majority of the consumers I think putting VR experience on smart phones and tablets is dumb. Get a real VR headset or don't use one at all. I'm getting a real VR headset just haven't decided which one yet and probably not gonna be till the end of this year.

View 1 reply
Jinx 6 years ago
The main area of development right now for VR is smartphones and smaller tablets. Rift is still too expensive for most people but they will probably have an Android or Iphone lying around the house they can use to get the VR headset experience with a display mount from ebay for like 10 bucks

LOLanony 6 years ago
usohai ,sao is good

CyberJsus 6 years ago
u know what´s funny? The idea of cyberspace and working and playing in it is older than most of you guys LMAO
Cyberspace and virtual Reality exists since the late 70ies of the 20th century.
Ask your parents LOL

RavorsMalody 6 years ago
they cant even make proper mmo's for the pc. why the hell would anyone even attempt an mmo for this stupid gadget

iJerkedOff 7 years ago
You know what isn't a pipe dream? Spankin' it to you brit. Awwww yeeeeah.

Nuthax 7 years ago
Shit going to become real O.O
im crying right now...seriously

ZhaoYun 7 years ago
Virtual Reality in MMOS is defenetely possible dont believe me?watch an anime called Sword Art Online nough said

View 2 replies
gamers4all 7 years ago
I laughed at the 2nd space-helmet looking pic... really?

RubyDuck 7 years ago
I can see technology go 20x better by 2030 maybe even earlier. Why not?
Computer hardware is starting to have leaps in performance lately.
Heck we already got some phones that are capable to show holograms by 2015.

Dot 7 years ago
they make a good point its way to early for you "Sword Art Online" fans technology just ain't there yet, but for those around my age or older "Dot Hack" here we come its perfect for that since it was simply the VR glasses and a controller, someone start a petition for a dot hack like MMO

View 1 reply
LordHikaru 7 years ago
Realistically speaking, we're still probably several decades before we reach any true level of virtual reality we can make up fictionally in such shows like SAO and the like. Alot of the current technology openly(there could be top secret government shit going on for all we know lol) in development only focus on what we see visually with our eyes. We're long from taking our brainwaves and transferring them into a machine and having that kind of fully connected experience where it actually feels like your there. It would be nice if they made a huge breakthrough in my life time.

View 1 reply
Aladeen 7 years ago
That's not gonna be for like 20 years man ...not enough people are gonna buy that shit now.

Protokore 7 years ago
....or maybe even FLYING across the blue sky filled with clouds and birds… would be so awesome killing these boars….

Made me think, if you want to feel like you're flying you need air, the feel of weightlessness, the mobility. That being said, unless you have what wootz91 is talking, all VR will ever feel like is a big screen. The whole VR experience is lost when you are aware that you are simply, sitting still or stand there pressing buttons and not actually in the world you're playing in.

They need to put you in a trance, or sleep like state, access your mind and feed your 'dreams' to give you a real feeling, almost like inception but instead of you creating the dream, they would input the VR you want.

That being said though, if you honestly want the cheapest and best VR, become a lucid dreamer. The only thing you're missing is connection to other minds but aside from that would be exactly what VR should be.

wootz91 7 years ago
I guess the first thing they have to invent is kinda a connection from your brain to a computer, like in the Matrix movies. Then there would be a chance for real VR. All these wannabe VR like Oculus Rift or Xbox Kinect are to overelaborate in my oppinion. Until then i rather stick with a controller or keyboard + mouse.

View 2 replies
TheNeon 7 years ago
I wish i would've been born 10 or 20 years in the future just for VR games... i can't stop imagining myself going in an open world, in the woods killing evil treants or maybe even FLYING across the blue sky filled with clouds and birds... would be so awesome killing these boars....
crying right now, i want it, pls someone make some progress or ill die bored from normal games.... please just do it.
(mounted kek)

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