VR: Should Studios Shy Away From Porting AAA Games?

Virtual Reality as a platform still has a ways to go before it’s come into its own as a viable medium for entertainment to the masses, but things have been going good for VR technology in a number of ways with a number of the different solutions seeing success and popularity with consumers. From a gamer’s standpoint, VR serves as a potentially great escape from the rest of the world in an unimaginable way. Some of the best parts about games is their ability to transport you to whole new fantasy worlds that you could only dream of, and huge AAA game titles are a big part of this. Should they be ported to the VR platform though? Or are game studios better off devoting their time to creating new experiences that are designed for VR from the ground up?

This week was E3 and was the biggest time of the year for gaming, with plenty of stuff being announced for all the different VR platforms that are currently available. While there were lots of games shown for systems like the PlayStation VR as well as PC options like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, a few game titles stood out. These were three games from Bethesda which include Doom VFR, Fallout 4 VR, and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR.

These are all great games, and when played like gamers are used to they provide hundreds of hours of entertainment between the three of them, but how well do they translate to VR, especially when you consider that titles like Skyrim are already more than a few years old, and already have a definitive edition available for the now current-gen consoles, plus a version of the game coming out for the Nintendo Switch. Yes, Skyrim in VR will be able to finally allow gamers to see what it would be like to immerse themselves in a world in which they’ve perhaps already spent so many hours exploring, but how engaging is something like a five-year old game going to be for its potentially biggest fans? The ones who have already played the game for a vast amount of time and perhaps beaten it all the way through more than once? Games like Skyrim being ported to the virtual reality platform lets players see their favorite games in a new way, and play them in a new way too, but for the majority of gamers who might be interested in a game like Skyrim, chances are they’ve already played it on another platform, so it raises the question of whether or not gamers will find the value in picking up the game again just to experience it in virtual reality.

AAA games being available in VR isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if they’re newer titles. Doom VR for instance is a game that’s only been out in its regular form for the better part of a year, as opposed to the five+ years that Skyrim has been available. For this reason alone Doom VR could potentially see better reception from gamers, and perhaps it’s the fact that Doom in its most recent release form has only been out for around a year that makes it a decent option for a VR port, it hasn’t been out long and people haven’t spent the last five years playing it over and over. While the idea of porting AAA games over to the VR platform is likely something that quite a few studios are looking into, it might take some time to see how well-received these ports are compared to completely new games that were based on the same franchises but built specifically for VR in the first place.

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