Okay boys and girls, this is the last week of this, I promise. But it does set us up nicely for what comes afterwards and there are some relatively big topics still to address. Before we get to that there is some other business to attend to, since I was asked whether or not this weekend just gone’s live streamed HTC Vive tournament counted for my ‘VR Only eSports Tournament’ prediction. In short, the answer is no. Had I been aware of it at the time of writing I would’ve been slightly clearer of course; but this tournament would need to be slightly bigger in scale than a live stream by one of the platform holders. That said, it was very nice to see and another indication that perhaps what I inferred isn’t that far away.
Casting the runes out onto the carpet the fates say…
Bethesda Pulls The Trigger
It may be hard to recall right now in 2017, but do you remember the excitement at E3 when Bethesda surprised the world with not just a DOOM VR experience but a Fallout 4 experience as well? We’ve heard precious little about either experience since August and you’ve got to wonder what with the team have learnt whether or not we might see something more whole at this year’s E3. So that’s my prediction, Bethesda, a year later come back with a full and proper experience and not just a demo. VRFocus described DOOM VR as “a great showcase” and Fallout 4 as “woefully short”, but in all honesty I’d like to see both get their due on the HTC Vive.
If one of the more mainstream studios is going to be brave and be the one to go for it Bethesda is not a bad bet.
Staring at the dripping wax from the candle I see…
We’ve talked about it on a number of occasions but whether it is industry or football, China’s rise to a true powerhouse (economic in this case) has been on the cards for some time. Ignoring the politics the country is very good at getting its ducks all in a row and China look set to be by the end of 2017 a VR power in waiting. Certainly it will become a talking point at the end of the year as to who will be the industry leader in the Asian block.
Using a whirlybird fortune teller I can tell you will marry David from your Geography class, and also that…
Will they? Won’t they? They will, but not just yet. Apple will of course enter the VR/AR fray at some point it’s as nailed on as you can get. As I’ve mentioned before the company is not keen to let rivals get a head start on them, but in this instance Apple might just be playing the smart long game. Letting everyone else do the developing and the building before storming in with something to kick off a Gen 3 perhaps?
For me though it’s more that Apple simply have other things to concern themselves with at this time. People aren’t happy with the company, they’ve still – somehow – got lawsuits and court cases about patents and tax to deal with and more importantly they’ve a product line that their customer base is growing in burn out and disinterest. Do they really want to leap into battle against Facebook, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, etc? A year to steady the ship with some solid crowd-pleasing updates and a 2018 when they can then go on the offensive.
Holding the swinging pendulum it indicates…
VR Does What Nintendon’t
So the Nintendo Switch (*insert click noise here*) announcement occurred and naturally everyone lost their minds, before a very high percentage proceeded to lose the contents of their wallets as well. 2017 I feel will bring much more of the same from ol’ Ninty when it comes to VR.
Person X isn’t keen, it doesn’t work. Person Y is keen, it does work. Person Z suggests it is something the company has to look into and in fact they are. Round and round and round it goes. Where it stops nobody knows. Least of all X, Y and Z.
No headset will be announced for the Switch – which is just as well in some ways based on the pricing of some of the peripherals. Nintendo will continue to um and arr and be grumpy that you, me, and everyone else keep asking them about it. Much like the SEGA advert of old, whatever anyone says when it comes to VR Nintendon’t and Nintenwon’t.
Reaching out into the void for consultation with the spirits of the dead I pause for a moment-
And Speaking Of SEGA…
Where the heck is SEGA? No really. If you look at SEGA historically they’ve been frightfully keen since they went third-party to get in on the ground floor with new technology and have something ready from the get go. Flinging an old franchise or an evergreen franchise at the tech in the hope that if it sticks it’ll see them in prime position. This has not worked particularly well in the past, (trust me, I’ve worked on some of them) yet they have persisted. Be it SEGA Superstars on EyeToy, Sonic Free Riders and Rise Of Nightmares (whose artwork seems to get plagiarised a lot on horror image asset packs) on the first Kinect. That Sonic deal with Nintendo on the Wii U? Remember that?
For VR though? They’ve had a couple of Hatsune Miku games of course. They did have those for launch of the PlayStation VR. (Not that they yelled particularly loudly about it.) But that’s tempered by the fact that,well… Their name might feature in one of the titles but Miku and the Vocaloid brigade aren’t exactly SEGA’s intellectual property.
Has anyone even mentioned SEGA’s franchise library in the VR discussion yet? I’m not talking about Creative Assembly wafting a 360 video at us that one time. An actual SEGA game.
I predict 2017 will rectify that and we will have a familiar traditional SEGA franchise on the books for VR. Maybe even a resurrected one. There’s plenty to choose from. So many that it gives me an idea. Come back next week as I go through the ten franchises SEGA would be crazy not to bring to VR.
This article was originally written by the author for VRFocus.