The Games Commissioner for UK broadcaster Channel 4, Colin MacDonald has spoken about how Channel 4 sees virtual reality (VR) and how the amount of investment in the VR sphere is disproportionately tilted towards ‘Hardcore Gamers’.
The remarks follow Channel 4’s launch of VR title Soar, a casual flying experience published by All 4 Games, Channel 4’s videogaming division that was designed to relieve stress. Speaking to GamesIndustry.Biz, MacDonalds indicated that he considered the focus on high-end VR devices such as the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift to be a misstep, saying: “There’s a massively disproportionate amount of money and effort going into development of ‘core’ games for VR at the moment,” MacDonald said, “The market is simply not big enough yet to sustain that many, and won’t be for years to come. Virtually all of our TV audience has a smartphone capable of VR now, whereas PSVR and Rift still have niche ownership, so our hope is that by bringing a relatively simple and accessible game to the VR platform with the most mainstream adoption we’ll be able to get traction where others have struggled.”
Speaking on the subject of Soar and other potential VR titles, MacDonalds said that Soar would currently remain ‘a one-off’, though Soar is planning to be made compatible with Samsung Gear VR later on this year. MacDonalds indicated that Channel 4 would look at other mobile titles that had VR potential, however, saying: “I’ve been a fan of the tech ever since getting to test one of the first Virtuality VR kits back in the early ’90s in the ECTS/Earls Court days,” he says. “So whilst I’m not actively looking for more VR titles, I’ll happily take a look at any on mobile and if it feels like they’re similarly different enough with appeal to a broad TV audience, then we’d always consider it at least.”
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