The path to consumer virtual reality was long but now that it’s here, 2015 is likely to be marked as the year when VR finally got good enough and cheap enough for the masses to buy. The $100 Gear VR powered by Oculus represents the first complete consumer platform for virtual reality content and developers who built software in 2014 and 2015 for advanced phone-powered VR are trailblazers, experimenting with price sensitivity, consumer comfort and different control schemes. I’ve been working to analyze these apps and this is the first in a series dissecting mobile VR experiences.
This post looks into the most expensive apps available on the Oculus platform in 2015. Of 63 games available on Gear VR as of this writing, 13 of them are priced $10 or more. They are:
- Anshar Wars 2 (Arcade, Shooter) by Ozwe
- DRIFT (Action, Simulation, Shooter) by SharpSense
- Bazaar (Exploration, Adventure) by Temple Gates Games
- Daydream Blue (Exploration, Simulation, Puzzle, Adventure, RPG) by RalphVR
- Darknet (Puzzle, Strategy) by E McNeill
- Dead Secret (Adventure, Horror) by Robot Invader
- Esper 2 (Puzzle, Narrative) by Coatsink
- Mortal Blitz VR Episode 1 (Action, Adventure, Shooter, Horror) by Skonec Entertainment
- Omega Agent (Exploration, Adventure, Puzzle) by Fireproof Games
- Gunjack (Shooter, Arcade) by CCP Games Shanghai
- Herobound: Spirit Champion (Action, Adventure, RPG) by Gunfire Games
- Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes (Puzzle) by Steel Crate Games
- Evil Robot Traffic Jam (Action, Arcade, Strategy) by Element Games
Of these 13 games, 9 are comfortable for most people — the highest comfort rating among games. The remaining 4 games are only comfortable for some people — puzzler Darknet and jet pack game Omega Agent as well as Anshar Wars 2 and DRIFT.
Given the limited movement tracking available with mobile VR in 2015, some games are best played while seated in a forward-facing stationary position, like with the turret shooter Gunjack and third-person Zelda-like game Herobound: Spirit Champion. You could play these games sitting up in bed if you wanted. Others should probably be played swiveling in place, either standing or, for more convenience, with a swivel chair. For example, the “comfortable for some” games listed above are probably best played with full 360-degree swivel. Anshar Wars 2 requires swiveling.
Daydream Blue and Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes are the only games in this price range with multiplayer features. Keep Talking is a popular co-op game requiring only one person to have a headset. The person inside VR tries defusing a bomb while the person outside communicates instructions from a manual. Daydream Blue, which won a $100,000 prize in a Mobile VR Jam hosted by Oculus early in 2015, added voice chat so a couple people can explore a calming lakeside retreat together and play a mini-game of golf on the mountaintops nearby.
Nine of the most expensive Gear VR games can be played with either the touchpad on the headset or a bluetooth gamepad controller. Herobound: Spirit Champion and Omega Agent require the gamepad, which can cost more than $50 depending which one you buy. DRIFT and Evil Robot Traffic Jam only use the touchpad.
I’ll update this post as necessary through the end of 2015 if more $10+ apps are released.