Carmack Thinks Porting Old Games to VR ‘would be worth the effort’

If there’s one major golden rule of virtual reality (VR) it’s this: experiences have to be developed for the technology from the ground up. Almost every element of the creation process needs to be considered in VR, making it almost impossible to simply flick a switch and add support for head-mounted displays (HMDs) to many older titles. That’s not to say videogames of the past couldn’t support the tech. In fact, legendary developer and Oculus VR CTO John Carmack thinks that ‘a lot’ of ports would be ‘worth the effort’.

John Carmack, CTO at Oculus - #1

The Doom developer said as much when recently replying to a fan on Twitter. When asked if older titles such as Bethesda Softworks’ The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, he explained: “there is no easy path to a VR port, but I think a lot of old games would be worth the effort.”

Following up on a later question about if he thought high fidelity titles such as The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt would ever see VR ports, Carmack replied: “To hold 90 fps stereo, you typically need to have a benchmark frame rate of 250 fps or so.” Given that today’s top tier titles usually run at either 30fps or 60fps on high-end machines, it’s clear what Carmack really thinks here.

Oculus VR is working to bring some classic videogames to VR in one form or another, however. Over on the Gear VR smartphone-based HMD the company has launched Oculus Arcade. This allows gems such as Pac-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog to be played on virtual arcade cabinets, while the Oculus Rift will also be able to stream Xbox One and select Xbox 360 titles using the Windows 10 Game Streaming service. These may not be full VR ports of older experiences but they do at least give fans options to play their favourite titles using the medium.

VRFocus will continue to follow any and all VR updates, reporting back with the latest.

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