Todd Howard Believes VR Will Finally Blossom During Its 'Third Generation'

How does one delineate each VR generation? Curious. 

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Bethesda's Todd Howard recently took to the Gamelab event in Barcelona, Spain to chat with Game Awards founder Geoff Keighley, as well as an interview with GamesBeat about a variety of different topics. During the chats, he had some interesting things to share, namely about Fallout 76, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, and various other tidbits. But perhaps one of the most important kernels of information he shared were his thoughts on VR and how it's still going to come into its own.

It turns out that Howard is still very excited by the prospect of virtual reality, which makes sense given Bethesda's releases of its titles in VR in the past. “I’m a little more VR than AR,” he told GamesBeat. “We did Fallout and Skyrim in VR. We’re just about to enter the second generation of VR. Historically, the third generation is where it starts to become popular.”

Howard didn't specify what he meant by "third generation," of course, but it's clear the enthusiasm is there, and he's looking forward to seeing it come into its own. Hopefully he's right, as VR still has yet to properly "become popular" the way that it should, especially given how dudes can swing around double-sided lightsaber controllers in games like Beat Saber and look totally sick. Hope you're right, Howard. 

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a freelancer who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once, said, get psyched!

From The Chatty

  • reply
    July 2, 2018 3:40 PM

    Brittany Vincent posted a new article, Todd Howard Believes VR Will Finally Blossom During Its 'Third Generation'

    • Zek
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      July 2, 2018 4:07 PM

      I just don't see any indication so far that the "mainstream" is interested in VR as a product. I don't think it aligns with how most people want to experience games. If it were just a cost thing I feel like we'd see at least a little bit of interest in the mobile headsets, but nobody cares at all.

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        July 2, 2018 4:17 PM

        It's not just about gaming, and people do care. The sheer number of people I've demoed it to in the last few years is enough to convince me of that.

        But this is something in its infancy. As long as there are cords to deal with and the various other problems with current implementations there will be significant barriers to people really getting into it.

        We'll see some of that mitigated with technologies already in production, but mass appeal is still probably a ways off.

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        July 2, 2018 11:42 PM

        I have to wear glasses these days, so it's no use to me until there's some kind of direct to brain solution, instead of those stupid googles.

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          July 3, 2018 4:23 AM

          Can you wear contact lenses for VR?

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          July 3, 2018 5:45 AM

          I wear contacts and my wife wears her glasses and we both have no issues using our rift

      • reply
        July 3, 2018 3:31 AM

        It will get there. It just needs improvements:

        - higher resolution
        - cut the chords
        - make headsets less bulky
        - perfecting anti-motion sickness tech
        - bring price down or increase perceived value

        Those are the 5 things that need to happen for it to really boom. And we are 5-10 years out, imho from really making all of them happen in a meaningful way.

      • reply
        July 3, 2018 4:24 AM

        Let's be honest, though, VR was written off for dead the instant the Vive launched. It's already surpassed pessimistic expectations.

        Skyrim VR is a straight up revolutionary experience. It's just being handled on clunky, low res, high maintenance hardware. Maybe they are right about needing another gen or two to make it fit for mainstream ease-of-use.

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      July 2, 2018 4:17 PM

      I think it'll be whatever follows after VR Chat that will make this happen. It won't come from the game companies, but from enabling gamers to make their own stories and content.

      There's a slowly growing base that is coming directly out of VR Chat with people being fans of content, then following creators/RP groups, and finally joining in themselves.

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      July 2, 2018 5:26 PM

      The hardware needs to be way better than it is in first gen for mainstream adoption. Think wireless light weight ultra hd glasses.

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      July 2, 2018 6:00 PM

      I played PSVR at a friend's house. It's great, I could really see myself enjoying it, but it's so completely engrossing that it's also completely isolating. There was no way for us to interact or have a sociable moment over it. I'm an unredeemable gaming nerd, over 1400 hours in Civ4 and counting, and if I go over to someone's house for 4 hours on a weekend afternoon even I would rather spend the time doing something sociable than play a VR game. I'd much rather play board games with him, his wife, and his son.

      If VR is going to take off as a gaming thing it's going to have to be everyone involved having their own unit and their own space to do it and connecting online.

      • reply
        July 2, 2018 6:43 PM

        Civ Shackbattle... in VR!

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          July 3, 2018 5:58 AM

          But I'd get dizzy from constantly reloading my Worldbuilder scenarios...

      • reply
        July 3, 2018 5:57 AM

        I agree, VR is a very lonely activity as you can't share your experience with others. Apart from taking turns to demo it to friends, which isn't quite the same thing.

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      July 2, 2018 10:41 PM

      Still needs the killer app. The system seller. There still isn't anything close to that available or even on the horizen/receiving press.

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        July 3, 2018 2:29 AM

        It's a catch 22 too, so it will continue to see slow growth - it's not worth investing in a AAA VR-only game if there isn't the audience for it, and it'll continue to grow slowly without those kind of big hitters. Smallers-but-strikingly-awesome stuff like Beat Saber seems like the best shot at steady incremental growth.

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        July 3, 2018 5:42 AM

        People will still be using the no killer app argument in 2030 because it's completely subjective.

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          July 3, 2018 6:19 AM

          It is like asking for a killer app for whatever the best most expensive gaming monitor is.

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        July 3, 2018 5:58 AM

        I'd say Lone Echo is up there

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        July 3, 2018 6:02 AM

        Skyrim VR is pretty amazing.

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      July 3, 2018 6:15 AM

      Year of the VR desktop !

    • reply
      July 3, 2018 6:27 AM

      Todd Howard being excited for VR makes me excited.

      ES6 plz

    • reply
      July 5, 2018 11:08 AM

      It won't really blossom until it becomes less of an ordeal for most people. Needs to be wireless, obviously. Shouldn't require sensors placed all around the room, or any sensor outside of the headset, really. Resolution will need to be at least 4K per eye. Essentially it needs to feel like what you're looking at is as clear in the headset as it would be on your 4K TV. The headset has to be VERY lightweight and comfortable. The whole process needs to be as easy as slipping on a headset and you're in a game hub. So yeah, I don't really see the third generation being the real take-off point.