Virtual reality marketed its name on the map of the gaming industry the minute those first VR headsets started entering the market. Years later, this part of the VR entertainment niche is still improving and thus introducing new features and practices in the realm of gaming. As 2023 is slowly coming to its end, it’s important to take a glance at all the trends that have been prevalent in the VR gaming industry so far this year.
- VR headsets suitable for gaming are becoming more affordable, with options like Meta Quest 2 available for $300.
- VR games have started to embrace hybrid monetization strategies, including in-game purchases, battle passes, and subscriptions.
- Integration into the Metaverse is a major trend, allowing players to access Metaverse content in-game, ‘port’ avatars, and progress from one game to another.
- Cloud gaming services like Nvidia’s Cloud XR, PlutoSphere, and Shadow are becoming popular, eliminating the need for a powerful PC to play VR games.
More affordable VR tech
VR gaming won’t be possible without the use of a proper VR headset, which has been a hefty investment for many. Fortunately, the cost of headsets has dropped significantly, with Meta Quest Pro’s reduced price of $999.99 from $1,499.99. This is always good news for gamers who don’t want to compromise the quality of the experience yet don’t have the finances to sustain it.
The Meta Quest 2 is a great budget option, offering good performance for around $300. This is still a significant investment, but the price is expected to drop even further in the upcoming year of 2024.
Upgraded hardware features
High-resolution headsets are now aiming for 8K displays, with lenses that are slimmer and more lightweight. Meta Quest 3’s pancake lenses have become a great topic of discussion among VR gamers, who applaud Meta’s choice to make the headset lighter and, thus, more convenient for longer periods of gaming.
Meanwhile, tactile gloves from bHaptics and force feedback gloves from HaptX Gloves DK2 are making the experience even more realistic, giving users the ability to feel the texture and properties of objects.
Eye tracking and haptic feedback provide a more interactive experience, allowing players to truly immerse themselves in virtual reality.
Additionally, VR games are beginning to embrace hybrid monetization strategies, combining multiple monetization tactics like in-game purchases, battle passes, and subscriptions. This allows developers to monetize their games in multiple ways simultaneously and, therefore, be able to develop longer and more graphically advanced VR games.
Monetization also allows players to customize their gaming experience and pick the most suitable monetization option. This hybrid model is becoming increasingly popular, as it provides the best of both worlds – the potential of high earnings for developers and a great gaming experience for players.
VR games like Second Life VR and Rec Room have already adopted this monetization model as a way to boost their revenue. The relatively high price of VR headsets is one of the main challenges that the VR gaming industry is facing. Read more on that here:
With the metaverse on the horizon, one of the biggest trends in VR games in 2023 has been integration into the metaverse. This has been made possible by allowing players to access metaverse content in-game or allowing them to ‘port’ their avatars and progress from one game into another.
Players are able to explore virtual worlds, meet up with friends in-game, and even start businesses and make money. This could be a game-changer for the gaming industry, allowing players to experience multiple games and worlds in a single Metaverse.
Hyper realistic visuals
The more VR games start appearing on the market, the better quality experiences they have started to deliver. Powered by advanced rendering techniques and hardware, the hyper realistic visuals create a sense of presence and make gamers feel as if they’ve stepped into another reality.
Games like ‘Astral Horizons’ and ‘NeoCity Noir’ are already pushing the boundaries of virtual reality, and this trend is only set to continue. VR headsets will also benefit from this trend, providing superior visual fidelity and a more immersive gaming experience.
Mixed reality games
Mixed reality games have taken gaming to the next level by allowing players to interact with the physical world. With headsets like the Quest Pro, gamers can experience a blend of the real and virtual in games like Demoe and Spatial Ops.
In Dimension Quest, players use a combination of physical and virtual clues to solve puzzles. MR is a captivating and creative way to experience games, adding a whole new layer of immersion and challenge.
Competitive VR gaming
As VR technology advances, VR-specific e-sports titles are gaining traction, and competitive VR gaming is becoming an important part of the e-sports landscape. This trend has continued in 2023, with more tournaments being held and an ever-increasing number of players joining the ranks.
‘VR Rivals Arena’ holds weekly tournaments featuring popular VR first-person shooters and team sports. These competitions bring gamers together to compete and form a community of players.
Most popular VR gaming genres
The most played VR games in 2023 happen to be from the following genres:
Adventure VR games have been popular for years with their exploration, puzzle-solving, and combat features. It would be hard to dethrone them from the VR Hall of Fame. Half-Life: Alyx is a prime example of the type of immersive, story-driven gaming experience that has continued to impress gamers in 2023.
Shooter games, like adventure VR games, demand the players to use strategy and quick reflexes to survive and complete objectives. This makes them highly competitive and entertaining for gamers.
First-person shooter games like Boneworks and Superhot will be some of the most popular VR gaming genres. They offer an immersive experience that can’t be found in traditional gaming. Players are plunged into a virtual world that can be explored from every angle.
Following closely behind shooters, vehicle simulation VR games are the most popular of the VR gaming genres in 2023. Players get to experience driving various vehicles, ranging from cars to boats while being immersed in stunningly realistic graphics.
Many of these games also have features such as customizing cars and tracks and online tournaments. With the ability to race against other players from around the world, these games provide a great way to have some fun while honing your driving skills.
Another VR gaming-related trend of 2023 is cloud gaming. Cloud gaming services, such as Nvidia’s Cloud XR, PlutoSphere, and Shadow, are making VR gaming more accessible by removing the need for a powerful PC. These services work with various HTC Vive and Oculus Quest models, giving players access to a range of exciting games.
Players will likely enjoy lower latency, faster load times, and better graphics quality, as well as having the option to switch between devices without having to worry about compatibility issues.
Cloud gaming will also make it easier for developers to create and distribute their games, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in the world of VR gaming.
VR gaming in 2023 has been an exciting journey for gamers. With more affordable tech and upgraded hardware features, players now have access to a wide range of immersive experiences. The integration of the Metaverse into games brings hyper-realistic visuals and creates a truly immersive environment. Additionally, competitive gaming is expected to become even more popular, adding a new level of excitement to the VR gaming scene. No matter the genre, whether it’s mixed reality or cloud gaming, players have a variety of options to choose from.