VR is Coming to LAN Mob

For years companies have chased the dream of virtual reality gaming, where the player becomes fully immersed in the action.  The early iterations of the technology were clunky, nauseating mass-market failures that tied the user to a physical location.  It wasn't until recent advances in processing power and VR techniques allowed smaller headset-sized systems to be created at an affordable price, allowing users to actually move around in physical space.  Input lag and stutter has been reduced to the point where these systems no longer create that nauseating motion sickness feeling that many experience with 3D.

2016 is shaping up to be the year of VR, with three major VR devices shipping and more announcements on the way.  We're anticipating having the steam powered HTC Vive in store when they start shipping sometime in late April, but the now Facebook-owned Occulus Rift can already be found in the wild (currently sold out through June 2016), and details have now emerged for a late-year release of the affordably priced PS4 VR system.  Microsoft and Google are hard at work in their research labs playing catch up, and Nintendo has pushed their next generation system out to 2017.  VR it appears will play some role in shaping what the next generation of mainstream consoles will look like.

A Paradigm Shift

While it's clear that VR is set to make a big splash this year, what remains to be seen is how quickly gamers adopt these systems.  Mark Zuckerberg was quoted in a recent interview as seeing VR as not being fully adopted & functional for at least 10 years; other companies are betting on adoption much, much sooner.  As with any new technology in a crowded marketplace, it will take some time to shake out the weaker devices.  More importantly the medium completely changes how games are to be played, so we have yet to see what the first major VR blockbuster game is.  Sure, you can take a 3D shooter like Call of Duty and wrap it in a VR world, but gamers are hungry for something new.  There is a good chance we see the first VR blockbuster game come from a completely new IP.

For this reason developers may make or break which of the new VR systems become mainstream and which ones become relics.  Each system possesses its own unique blend of features and limitations that will make the gaming possibilities slightly different between each system.  The Occulus has name recognition and the most natural friends list at its fingertips in Facebook integration.  Sony's PS4 VR will have a solid backing of games due to their current console market hold.  The HTC Vive is powered by Steam which has access to top PC developers as well as its own internal studio at Valve.

Which One is Best?

As a LAN Gaming Center it's hard to pick sides, and each system offers its own unique abilities.  We've always been a proponent of PC gaming so there is a special place in our hearts for Steam.  The HTC Vive looks to be the most LAN-ready right now and we're planning to have one featured in store this spring.  The PS4 VR may be a game changer as a mass-marketed affordable option, but a lot can happen in six months.  For now we're looking towards the Vive and Steam to lead us into the next level of gaming.

We're still working out pricing but it will likely be a one hour block of time for a flat price where we fit the headset, give you a tutorial, and let you try out some of the games.  We're expecting a lot of people are going to want to try out the technology and we're happy to be one of the first to bring it to you!
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