Sony, Facebook, and HTC are vying for developers to create exclusive virtual reality games for their platforms.
Sony used its annual PlayStation Experience two-day fan event in San Francisco to unveil new virtual reality games for its upcoming PlayStation VR headset. While some of these games are exclusive to Sony’s 2016 virtual reality platform, others will also play on competing PC platforms like Oculus Rift and HTC Live, which runs on Valve’s SteamVR.
Piper Jaffray senior analyst Gene Munster forecasts sales of virtual reality headsets will grow from 12.2 million in 2016 to 100.2 million by 2020. That gives game developers a very large audience to tap into. There are over 30 million Sony SNE -0.42% PlayStation 4 consoles in the market today, all capable of running the new PlayStation VR. Munster believes approximately 10% of current PCs will be able to run virtual reality platforms like HTC Live and Facebook FB -0.51% -owned Oculus Rift out of the box, with another 10% requiring a $300 graphics card upgrade.
With over 50 games in development for PlayStation VR, and dozens in production for Oculus Rift and HTC Live, there will be plenty of new content for gamers. Here’s a list of 10 virtual reality games to look out for in 2016.
The German studio behind the original Far Cry, Warface, and Crysis franchises knows first-person shooters well. That experience, as well as the company’s CryEngine technology, comes into play with the Sony-exclusive dinosaur action game, Robinson: The Journey. The player takes control of a young boy who’s crash-landed on a planet that’s inhabited by dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. It’s a full-blown game that’s sprouted from the studio’s Back to Dinosaur Island tech demos, and it has the potential to be the type of killer app that Sony needs to sell its new headset. Jurassic World proved that everyone still loves dinosaurs running amok. This game strands players on an entire planet filled with these prehistoric creatures.
Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin, Double Fine Productions, PlayStation VR
Double Fine Productions has indie street cred and a reputation for delivering original games. Psychonauts is one of its more popular franchises, as evidenced by the over $1.5 million in crowdfunding that Psychonauts 2 raised in 24 hours on Fig. This virtual reality game will bridge the story of those two games. As Raz searches for Truman Zanotto, the player can jump from his point-of-view into other people’s minds. Raz has access to his full arsenal of psychic powers like telekinesis and pyrokinesis, which open up new gameplay opportunities in virtual reality.
Rez Infinite, Enhance Games, PlayStation VR
Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the creator of the original Rez game in 2001, always imagined his game as a virtual reality experience. Fast forward to 2016, and gamers will be able to play a completely overhauled Rez Infinite that delivers on that VR promise. The concept is simple enough. The player takes control of a floating avatar and shoots musical lasers at geometric robots to the beat of techno as the game explores colourful, and trippy, tunnels. The camera floats around from behind, allowing the player to enjoy the ride, and the beat. Music games are especially strong virtual reality experiences, and this one is fun, and important for Sony.
The Modern Zombie Taxi Company, Sony Santa Monica Studio, PlayStation VR
Sony Worldwide Studios developers around the globe are exploring virtual reality. A team at Sony Santa Monica Studio has gone retro with this very different take on zombies.