The holiday season is all about gatherings with friends and family. To have fun and make the best of the festive season, many residents in HCM City are increasingly taking part in Virtual Reality (VR) gaming.
In VR gaming, a person experiences being in a three-dimensional environment where they interact with their body movements during a game.
Unlike casual computers or mobile gaming which only needs a simple device, VR gaming requires a headset, a set of two controllers, and a screen with small sensors attached to them.
As the players start their games, their movements are recorded and analysed, and then transformed into appropriate responses on the screen.
VR gaming has been around in HCM City for two to three years. Its growth rate has been steady and it has gradually been taken up by locals, especially children and teenagers, who want to indulge in the latest kind of entertainment.
Some popular VR gaming destinations in HCM City include Euphoric VR Game Net in District 7, Top of Việt Nam VR Gaming in Bình Thạnh District, and Dreamer Land with two branches in District 7 and Tân Bình District.
According to an employee at Dreamer Land in District 7, the centre attracts many visitors on a daily basis and the number doubles or triples during weekends and holidays.
“We offer over 30 games from different genres so that every age group can enjoy a VR experience to their liking,” the employee said. “While the Job Simulator is appealing to young kids, teenagers and adults seem to love Beat Saber, Arizona Sunshine, Superhot and Front Defense."
“Each game requires hours and even days to be completed. We’re glad that our customers really have a great time,” she added.
Immersive experiences make VR games stand out from computer or mobile games, according to most players.
“The experience is so dynamic and unique. Though I'm now familiar with the concept, playing VR games still gives me goosebumps every time,” Vũ Anh, 23, said.
“I really felt like that I'm part of the game and it has something that computer games cannot offer,” he said, adding that he is keen on the game Beat Saber, which requires intuitive movement via music beats.
Tuấn Anh, 16, said that he enjoyed his sense of freedom of movement when playing his favourite shooter games.
“Even though I'm confined to a limited area surrounding the screen, I still have free range of motion within the area,” he said, adding that besides seeing things in 3D, he can feel the motion via the two controllers, which further contributes to his immersive experience.
“Since the game attracts my full attention, most of the time I don't mind the distraction from other players who are playing next to me,” he said.
First-time VR gaming player Quang Nam, 28, said that he did not expect to feel so dizzy when playing shooter games.
“As my eyes constantly move to complete the mission, the fact that my body does not move as much makes me feel a little uncomfortable,” he said, emphasising that the sense of conflict between his mind and body might keep him from playing shooter games again.
That said, age might become a factor that determines who will be the main audience for VR gaming.
|KIDS' PLAY: Parents often take their children out for VR gaming at the weekend. VNS Photo Việt Dũng
According to Dreamer Land’s brand manager, Phạm Hoàng Minh, the way VR gaming creates meaningful interaction and storytelling has given it a competitive advantage in the market.
“We cannot confirm whether or not VR gaming is better than its counterpart because computer and console gaming has its own charm. However, we believe that VR gaming has the potential to become the eighth art form after film,” he said.
“Though VR gaming shares the same audience as traditional gaming, we don't find it as a challenge as one can play both VR and traditional games at the same time. The question remains whether the player enjoys the distinctive world that VR games create,” he added.
Many game developers have jumped on the VR gaming bandwagon and introduced new games as well as equipment to enhance players’ experiences.
“There is no optimal solution, however, to combat sickness motion among adult players when playing VR games at the moment,” Minh said.
“But in about two years, as VR gaming equipment becomes more stable and 5G connection brings about smoother interactions, the market will expand and players will be able to experience the unexpected,” he added.
The development of VR gaming is expected to lead to a boom in other interactive entertainment and education forms.
Gaming is just one application of VR as there is more that can be done to use VR to its fullest potential.
“We realise that children tend to have better spatial thinking after attending VR workshops that encouraged them to draw in the 3D world via VR equipment,” Minh said. VNS