With the Oculus Quest coming up in Spring 2019, and the new efforts from Oculus’s competitors to bring their own standalone devices up to 6DOF with inside-out tracking, the VR world is going to see some pretty intense changes within the next year.
Among those changes will be the introduction of arena-scale games that bring players together in real stadiums and at real specialized locations.
I’m interested in what some games that already exist in 6DOF VR — on devices like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive — might play like if they were given the freedom of movement afforded by the Oculus Quest and newer 6DOF-ready standalone headsets.
Below is a list of 25 games that already exist, that would be fantastic to play in an open space, with or without other humans sharing that space. To lean on the benefits of running around a real-world area using inside-out tracking, I’ve ignored games that use their own type of locomotion (like Echo Arena), or that rely heavily on vertical movement (like Windlands).
Every game confirmed for Oculus Quest
Sparc would benefit from inside-out tracking by giving you more space to move around on your court. It’s fundamentally a court sport where you try to hit your opponent with a ball. Having the ability to duck, dodge, and dive around your court (without tripping over a wire) will change how this game is played — for the better.
With two standalone devices, two players could face off with one another within the same general vicinity of one another, which would make Sparc even more like a sport and less like a video game.
Pavlov VR is a fast-paced, casual FPS game that you could basically summarize as a VR reimagining of Counter Strike. It’s full of player-created mod content, such as new maps and new game modes. And, with the power of inside-out tracking, it’s a game that would be highly suited to create custom real-world arenas around.
The start-up company Oculus Rift kickstarted the industry of virtual reality again with the release of a Kickstarter project for their Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles, in the year 2010.
Because of how vertical this expansive roleplaying game is, Skyrim VR would need to maintain artificial locomotion options even with inside-out tracking on a standalone device. Where it would benefit, however, is in the combat.
While playing Skyrim VR with inside-out tracking, you could go into open environments where you’d be able to move around more freely. In combat, you would truly feel like you’re having full battles with enemies as you duck, dodge, and roll behind them to unleash your inner Dragonborn in full, wireless 6DOF VR.
Other RPGs that would benefit from inside-out tracking for combat and exploration:
A Township Tale
Fallout 4 VR
I especially want to see Onward , the premiere competitive mil-sim FPS for VR headsets, make its way to standalone VR. Not only because its maps are perfect to navigate on a flat real-world plane, but also because it’s a VR eSport with a hefty community already building around it. Obviously, an Onward arena would have to be very large to accommodate the size of the game’s maps. But with inside-out tracking, Onward would blossom as an arena-scale VR eSport.
GORN is already built onto a flat plane, where it already simulates a gladiatorial arena. It would benefit from inside-out tracking by giving you a bigger space to maneuver around while you clobber its big, bumbling enemies to death.
The Thrill of the Fight
Because of my tiny little bedroom space, I’m stuck in a portion of The Thrill of the Fight’s boxing ring that makes it difficult to dodge and weave through enemy punches. It’s disappointing because The Thrill of the Fight is so realistic and I want to use the entire boxing ring when I play, but it’s just not possible with my Oculus Rift in my bedroom. That’s why inside-out tracking will be so great for games like The Thrill of the Fight; I could go to any larger space (given that it’s completely clear of humans, animals, and objects) and then I could move around in the entire boxing ring without being constrained.
Other boxing games that would benefit from larger space to weave and dodge:
SEGA’s VR Glasses Project That Didn’t Make It. Gaming companies also knew that Virtual Reality was going to become a huge thing in the gaming world. However, while they had the vision, they were lacking the technology we have today. In 1993, at one of the first Consumer Electronics Shows, SEGA announced the Sega VR headset for their Genesis console. The prototype glasses had head tracking, LCD screens in the visor and stereo sound. SEGA’s idea was to release the product for a mere $200 at the time, but technical development issues turned the idea into one of the biggest flops for the infamous gaming company. The product was never released on the market.
Rec Room is more of an open platform for content than a specific game. However, I believe that its laser tag mode would make for incredible arena-scale gameplay, possibly good enough on its own to replace traditional forms of laser tag. I’d even imagine VR entertainment businesses working with Rec Room content creators to model virtual arenas around the real-world spaces that their customers will be playing in.
Eleven: Table Tennis
For the same reason games like Project Tennis Scramble will excel on Oculus Quest, Eleven: Table Tennis will also work particularly well on standalone devices. But even for a simple game of table tennis, I still want to have the complete maneuverability of the court.
Stuck with a wire, and beholden to such a small space, I feel like I can’t get completely loose when I play this game — which is a shame! That said, the function of using a standalone device will be that I can dive and bounce around my side of the net more, preferably having more space in the area I choose to play in, making the game feel that much more like actual table tennis.
Other court-based games that would also benefit from letting you freely dive around your playing area:
As a linear PVE-focused FPS game, Robo Recall is still pretty fast-paced and thrilling. It does rely a lot on teleportation, and many of its levels do have you teleporting to get on top of high-up locations. However, some of its chokepoints would be perfect to run around inside of. Combat, and especially melee combat, would be better with inside-out tracking because the game would feel more visceral and alive (and, consequently, more active) if you were physically running around and punching robots between teleports.
Other PVE shooters that would also benefit from a mix of teleporting and active (physical) running around:
VR The Diner Duo
I love cooking sim VR The Diner Duo ’s co-op multiplayer mode. It allows one person to cook meals within the VR headset, and another person to play as a waiter from the comfort of a keyboard or controller. VR The Diner Duo would benefit with inside-out tracking by allowing both players to walk freely around the diner. Both players could operate the restaurant from VR as well.
Virtual Reality Is For Phones, Too. One of the biggest misconceptions with virtual reality is that you need to buy expensive viewing gear in order to participate. That is not true at all. In fact, the latest cell phones allow you to use it as a device for virtual reality. You might need to make or buy an additional piece to use it for that, but it is usually at a low cost. Google, for example, offers a 3D cardboard kit for your phone for less than $10.
Ultimately, standalone 6DOF headsets will be a fantastic thing for VR fitness. Games that were previously mostly stationary will now be more physically active. Moving around a game world will be less about pushing on a thumbstick, and more about running.
And while there are definitely games that I missed, these games would be a hit on Oculus Quest.
What games do you think would benefit from inside-out tracking on a standalone headset?
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