It’s been another memorable year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. E3 is always an event to mark on the calendar for fans of all things technological. Thousands of spectators descended upon the Los Angeles Convention Centre for the three-day event. They glimpsed many of the most exciting video games expected to hit shelves in the coming months.
Aside from Keanu Reeves, one of the big headline-grabbers of this year’s event was virtual reality. It was a big year for VR with many big budget games unveiled at the expo. UploadVR was even given its own its own showcase this year for the first time. The company took the opportunity to show fans what they can expect in the coming months. As anticipated, several major video game titles were revealed during the slot.
Arizona Sunshine is one of the most popular and best-received VR first-person shooters. Developer Vertigo Games unveiled new DLC for the title before showing a potential successor. After The Fall will be a multiplayer VR shooter allowing up to four players to play together. Players can already sign up to beta test the title which is set in a post-apocalyptic Los Angeles.
Another popular VR game getting some extra features is Beat Saber. Few virtual reality titles have cracked the mainstream quite like Beat Games’ offering. The game was even used on a segment of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. The company showed off a new feature for the game, the result of a collaboration with Imagine Dragons. The 10-track song pack will be available for download soon.
One game which is inspired by the gameplay of Beat Saber is Pistol Whip. Developer Cloudhead Games will be hoping that their new title can emulate the success. Its designers have described Pistol Whip as a “music rhythm FPS game.” The trailer footage showed just that with fans anticipating this 2019 release.
The independent title announcements were exciting, but there was also a host of VR games based on existing properties. The Walking Dead: Onslaught is set for release. Based on the best-selling comic book series and popular AMC show, players will have to survive against a horde of undead. Another television sensation getting a VR game is Doctor Who. Jodie Whittaker will lend her voice to The Edge of Time which is set for a September release on PlayStation.
But it was also a big few days for the consoles as much as the games. PlayStation didn’t make any official announcements but Xbox did. Microsoft unveiled Project Scarlett, its newest Xbox console which can run at 120 FPS. Scheduled for a late 2020 release, the console will be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X. A little surprisingly, there was no mention of Project Scarlett featuring VR.
This came as a shock. The announcement came at a time when Virtual Reality is becoming increasingly popular. Statista estimates that the VR gaming industry will generate $22.9 billion in sales in 2020. Earlier this year, PlayStation announced that it had sold 4.2 million VR headsets worldwide.
These are staggering figures. Xbox’s decision looks even stranger when looking at wider society. VR has entered so many other industries and sectors aside from gaming. Many small and large businesses are utilizing the potential of virtual reality in any number of different ways. Walmart trains its staff using headsets, Betway has launched a VR online casino, and Hilton has created virtual tours of its hotels.
But the uses for the technology go far beyond that. VR headsets have been used in medical training for many years. Companies like XRHealth use the tech for treatment purposes using techniques like CBT. Headsets are also utilized in training and diagnosis. More people and companies are taking advantage as VR becomes the mainstream.
This only makes Xbox’s decision all the more surprising. Companies in a wide variety of different sectors and industries are taking advantage of Virtual Reality for their own purposes. Gaming is the chief among them with billions of dollars of revenue generated each year. The sheer volume of game titles – both original and based on existing properties – is staggering. 2019 was the year of VR at E3, even if Xbox and Microsoft didn’t want to join the party.