Virtual reality isn’t a reliable source of revenues for anyone yet, but industry experts think it’s a bad idea to sit out these rough early days.
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets launched earlier this year, but game market analysts don’t expect this VR business to turn into a significant money-generating segment of the overall gaming world until 2017 and beyond. But during a panel at the GamesBeat 2016 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, today, Nvidia general manager Zvi Greenstein, Amazon software engineer Hao Chen, and MaxPlay chief executive Sinjin Bain all argued that it is unwise hold off on investing and learning about how to make VR games as soon as possible.
“VR is not perfect now, but it’s coming together,” said Greenstein. “From a GPU perspective, we’re able to deliver presence in a power-efficient manner.”
But while the tech is ready, companies like Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two Interactive aren’t even experimenting with VR. Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Take-Two, has said that he won’t rush into VR because it’s a risk and the market doesn’t exist yet.
That’s not a sound strategy, according to the GamesBeat panel.
“I don’t think ‘wait and see’ is the right thing to do,” said Chen. “This industry has never been for the passive.”
In response to that, Bain pointed out that he’s never seen a game market transition drive as much investment and funding as VR. HTC, Google, Valve, and Facebook have multibillion-dollar strategies in place for this burgeoning technology. And that kind of money is going to enable those early VR companies to establish a strong hold on any potential market that comes out of these early days.
“Jumping in and experimenting now feels mission critical,” said Bain. “We don’t understand this medium yet. You have to jump in and make your mistakes now. This is a classic example of fail fast.”