Warren Spector calls VR "a fad"

Warren Spector

Warren Spector made Deus Ex and in my book, that earns him a pass for pretty much anything he does for the rest of his life. But he also worked on Ultima Underworld, Wing Commander, System Shock, and Thief: The Dark Project, to name a few, and was a key figure at the legendary Looking Glass Studios. He is, in other words, a guy whose word carries a certain weight, and in the wake of E3 he said some rather interesting things to GamesIndustry.

Spector didn't go to any media briefings this year, for one thing, (he described them as "a lot of sound and fury, signifying nothing"), and he's happy overall with how Eidos Montreal is handling Deus Ex. He also thinks VR, like the Oculus Rift and SteamVR and that sort of thing, is "a fad." Here's why:

"I think it'll generate some interest among the hardcore gamers. And I see amazing possibilities in VR for social media and virtual meetings and training and crazy stuff like dealing with phobias," he said. "But for entertainment? I'm just not seeing it. I don't think most humans want to look stupid (everyone looks stupid in a VR headset) and they don't want to isolate themselves from the world. I mean, if someone's sneaking up behind me with a baseball bat, I want to know about it, you know what I mean? And let's not talk about nausea."

Augmented reality, on the other hand, such as we saw in this demonstration of Minecraft on HoloLens, is "pretty exciting," he continued. "There's some potential there. Even the low-hanging fruit of AR gaming seems compelling. Bring on the AR."

It's kind of an unexpected response, coming as it does from a guy responsible for some truly pioneering first-person experiences, but then so was Epic Mickey. Even so, he makes some valid points—but then I watch a video like this EVE Valkyrie dogfight and suddenly nothing seems more important than strapping one of these contraptions to my face.

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