Virtual reality has been touted as the next big thing in video games since as early as the 1960s. However, despite a few ill-judged attempts to bring VR to the market, the technology has failed to make much of an impression relatively recently. While devices like the Virtual Boy from Virtual Boy struggled to secure decent sales, later technology like the Oculus Rift would redefine the market. Sony would later get in on the action with their own PlayStation VR headset. In the United States alone, more than 37 million people own a VR headset. Despite an upswing in sales, there’s still some resistance to the concept of virtual reality in mainstream gaming. Recently, there’s been a lot of talk about bringing VR to esports and games like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. But do these plans hold any water? Let’s find out.
Valve Embraces Virtual Reality
While many Counter-Strike fans have been calling for Valve to commit to virtual reality technology for many years, it would be a different game that would herald Valve’s first foray into VR. In 2017, Valve announced that it would be a new edition in its flagship series that would receive the virtual reality treatment. In 2020, Half-Life: Alyx was released to positive reviews.
Half-Life: Alyx received universal acclaim across the board. As well as praising its storyline and graphics, the VR components of the game were singled out as being particularly impressive. The game took home the top prize at the VR awards, although sales figures left a lot to be desired. However, this wasn’t too surprising considering that relatively few gamers had access to a VR headset at the time. However, Alyx’s release was noted as being a driving factor behind an upswing in VR technology sales. During the last quarter of 2019, Valve shifted almost 150,000 units of its own Index VR headset.
Is VR a Good Fit with the FPS Genre?
Virtual reality headsets are a perfect fit with survival horror games like the Resident Evil franchise. The immersive nature of these devices ramps up the tension considerably, but it’s not the only genre that can benefit from VR and AR technology. First-person shooters like CS:GO are also well-served by virtual reality. After all, these games are built on the foundation of a first-person perspective.
The real challenge in applying VR to FPS games is that they’re typically a lot more fast-paced than other titles. A typical gamer might enjoy the novelty of immersion for a match or two, but deploying the tech in an esports tournament is a different matter entirely.
Does VR Really Have a Future in Esports?
While it’s come a long way in recent years, VR technology has a long way to go before it can be rolled out across the board in major CS:GO tournaments. Currently, there are too many technical limitations that make the adoption of VR impractical. However, virtual reality experiences can be incorporated elsewhere.
Take the Virtex Stadium as an example. Rather than focus on bringing VR capabilities to games themselves, this technology aims to bring an immersive virtual experience to spectators. It’s easy to see the appeal and applications of this technology. Esports viewing figures continue to soar and this exciting tech gives competitive gaming a significant edge over conventional sports.
Don’t have a VR headset to hand? Not to worry. You can still enjoy all the action in other ways. Keen to see how your favorite CS:GO team is doing at the BLAST Premier? Find all the information you need at 1337pro.com.