For Christmas this year, my wife and I decided to get our kids a Meta Quest 2 virtual reality gaming set. (By getting it for my kids, I absolutely mean finding a reason to get it for myself, but I digress…) While our household has a collection of traditional consoles (several Nintendo Switches and an Xbox Series X), the temptation of the next-gen VR tech proved too much to resist.
I have to be honest: I was a bit skeptical about the Meta Quest 2. Maybe it was the name, my tendency to get motion sickness, or the lack of a serious gaming library for the “console.” But after three days of near continuous use by the family, I can happily say my skepticism was wrong.
The Meta Quest 2 has something for everyone. My daughter loves playing Among Us VR with friends, my wife loves the Google Earth-like Wander which allows users to virtually travel anywhere on the planet, and my son and I have become obsessed with Resident Evil 4 VR which won the award for Best VR Game of the Year at the SXSW Game Awards.
Resident Evil 4 VR gives the best glimpse of what’s possible with VR gaming. The game allows users to select from a variety of options which range from stationary / sitting to full immersion. Serious gamers will enjoy the full immersion setting, which allows players to walk around inside the game (users can mark off sections of the real-world room they play in as the functional space in the game) while controlling faster movements with the thumbstick. Reloading weapons, shooting, knife-fighting, and even using the famous typewriter for saving all happen with real movements using the Meta Quest 2 technology. It truly feels like users are actually inside the narrative world of the game.
The drawbacks are…unfortunate. Older users will find the motion sickness is a constant problem and that play is best limited to 40-60 mins at a time. It’s not yet clear whether this is an issue that will always exist due to the effects of VR on the brain or if this issue will dissipate as technology improves. I’m certainly hoping for the latter.
Still, it’s hard not to dream about the possibilities of this technology, particularly as the software and programming catch up to the technology. If you’ve read my previous articles, it will come as no surprise that I am buzzing with anticipation over the upcoming Aliens VR game that is in development. I just hope that VR tech is here to stay and the industry won’t collapse or go the way of the 3-D television.