Virtual Reality and the Oculus Rift
Past Attempts at Virtual Reality Gaming
Despite its seeming promise, virtual reality gaming has been but a minor footnote in the history of gaming thus far. The most notable attempt at a virtual reality device was Nintendo's release of the Virtual Boy system in the mid-1990's. Being the biggest name in gaming at the time, Nintendo was considered a can't-miss company, and the Virtual Boy was expected to revolutionize the gaming industry. However the device proved to be a major disappointment commercially and critically. Gamers complained of headaches from short play sessions of the device, the red-tinged graphics were seen as unappealing and an eyesore, and even the virtual reality effect was seen as disappointing, with many "virtual reality" games for the system only being pseudo-3D.
A major barrier to the creation and mass production of such devices has been the prohibitive costs of creating them (the main reason why Nintendo was forced to use a red monochromatic display for the Virtual Boy). However, those costs have come down over the intervening years, and the market appears ready to explode like was envisioned of it years ago.
The Present and Future of Virtual Reality Gaming
The VR headset device Oculus Rift has sparked intense interest amongst gamers for its potential to turn nearly any 3D game into a true virtual experience. The device is already attracting support from several major developers, and games like Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 and the upcoming EverQuest Next are expected to support the hardware. Several games are also being developed specifically for the device. While the Oculus Rift will support PlayStation 4 games, Sony has quickly come out with a planned VR headset of their own, dubbed Project Morpheus. While details are yet few, it's expected to garner a good deal of support among developers for the console. It's now wondered whether Microsoft and/or Nintendo will follow suit with VR headsets of their own, or rely on Oculus to supply their gamers with virtual reality experiences.
One of the more sensationalized aspects of virtual reality gaming is the possibility to have virtual sex; and already several companied have indeed jumped at the chance to make such games and even peripheral devices for the Oculus. A VR Tenga demo released in Japan allows gamers to have virtual sex with anime girls through the use of a peripheral device that they thrust against to simulate the act. Meanwhile, Wicked Paradise is another sex game being developed from the ground up for the Oculus, and will allow gamers to woo more realistic (non-anime) women into their embrace. Regardless of one's feelings about virtual sex games and those who would play them, they are certainly coming, and will undoubtedly draw a lot of attention and backlash from the media and concerned citizens.