How risk-averse, big-budget publishers could doom VR gaming

The hardware is nice, but without support from major publishers, it could have trouble attracting a mass market. (credit: Kyle Orland)

As impressed as we have been with the technology behind new, consumer-level virtual reality headsets, there has been something important missing from the initial selection of software available for the likes of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive: games from the industry's biggest, most popular publishers. It's still early, but the lack of initial enthusiasm for VR from most AAA studios continues to be a headwind to the technology's potential success.

Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick recently verbalized the problem. At the Cowen and Company 44th Annual Technology, Media & Telecom Conference yesterday, the head of the multi-billion-dollar publisher said VR's current $2,000 asking price (when you factor in high-powered PC costs) and need for a dedicated play space limit the potential for mass appeal.

"We have like $300 to spend on an entertainment device and we do not have a dedicated room," he said. "We have a room for a screen, a couch, and controllers. We don’t have something where you stand in a big open space and hold two controllers with something on your head and, you know, not crash into the coffee table. We don’t have that."

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