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Focal Point: The Standout VR Games Of 2016

Focal Point: The Standout VR Games Of 2016
We ask our industry panel - the brightest and sharpest VR professionals from around the world - one question about the VR industry, business, technology or trending stories every week. This week, they handpick their standout VR games of the year.

 

Off the back of The Game Awards’ disappointing treatment of VR games last week – and seeing as the season of goodwill is almost upon us – what VR, AR or MR games or experiences stood out for you this year – and why?

 

Ed Daly, MD at seeper 

"Despite my professional interest in VR, as a consumer then I'm still waiting for the content that would compel me to spend my time wearing a headset. The irony for me on The Game Awards story is that Rez Infinite is the exception for me - but I then I've enjoyed Rez on four previous platforms and I look forward to playing Rez again in a zero gravity, haptic suit come 2025. But to name check one more, the guys in the studio were taken with Notes on Blindness, which conceptually makes perfect sense for VR."

At least The Game Awards picked the right VR winner for Daly!
 


I have to admit that a large portion of 2016 releases are $5 concept pieces.
Jonathan Wagstaff

Jonathan Wagstaff, Country Manager - UK & IE at CONTEXT 

“I can't say I'm shocked by the curt lip service given to VR games in what was supposed to be the first year of high-end consumer VR. The industry itself is as much to blame as anything or anyone else. When I go out to speak at major industry events, I will usually highlight the best VR games for each platform (in my humble opinion), such as Chronos and Damaged Core for the Rift, but am always shocked by how I'm the only person in the room who has played them. Even the etailers/retailers I meet across the EU are not sure about which VR games warrant attention.

“I have to admit that a large portion of 2016 releases are $5 concept pieces and the only decent charts I can find for VR game sales are the Steam category lists. It doesn't help either that some of the best VR games of 2016 aren't on Steam. There is definitely a need for easily available and ranked reviews of VR titles.”

Chronos captured Wagstaff's attention in 2016.
 


2017 will be even better!
Simon Barratt

Simon Barratt, Director at Barog Game Labs 

“I was so busy playing through all the great Touch launch titles that I almost forgot to comment on this! It has been an amazing year of content and with the launch of the main tethered, hand-tracked systems now complete, 2017 will be even better! “I’ve limited myself to five:

  1. Rec Room: Lots of fun, which is even deeper as a social experience with more friends now using it.
  2. I Expect You To Die: Highly polished and amusing’
  3. The Unspoken: Having lots of fun with my spellcasting battles and I like the use of the minigames)
  4. Batman Arkham VR: Very highly polished once again.
  5. Thumper: Not strictly a VR experience, but a great example of how VR intensifies games.”

Rec Room: how can you not like top hats and beards?

Dean Johnson, Head of Innovation at Brandwidth

“It would be easy to highlight several pioneering experiences, but I’m busy shaping the future of VR, AR, Hearables, and various connected things that probably shouldn’t be connected but are, so I’m going to pick one – The Martian by The Third Floor/Fox Innovation Lab.

“Visually stunning, arresting gameplay (even if it only has a short shelf life) but best of all is the feeling of immersion delivered by the claustrophobic helmet and cockpit visuals. By playing on the restrictions of the lump of plastic on our faces, value has been added rather than breaking the experience. It’s a great way to demonstrate a future for VR film tie-ins.”

The Martian drew criticism for its length, but it's Johnson's pick of the year.
Editor

Steve is an award-winning editor and copywriter with 20 years’ experience specialising in consumer technology and video games. He was part of a BAFTA nominated developer studio as project manager for the UK’s first fully interactive digital TV channel. In addition to editing TheVirtualReport.biz, Steve contributes to PocketGamer.biz, PCGamesInsider.biz and BlockchainGamer.biz, as well as creating marketing content for a range of SMEs and agencies.

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