8 min read
22 May

When Ndreams, a virtual reality company based in the United Kingdom, searched Google for "VR is," the top three predictive responses were "VR is dead," "VR is a gimmick," and "VR is blurry."

Nadine Oehmcke, a business development manager, doesn't believe this is an accurate reflection of the market right now, and she's not alone. The next two most popular terms, according to Google, are a little less negative: "VR is" "amazing" and "the future."

At GI Live Online, Oehmcke told viewers, "This is a more accurate reflection of the market."
nDreams of NadineN Dreams' Nadine Oehmcke
"Forget about any recent Google searches or doom-mongering articles," she adds. "Simply put, the virtual reality market is now growing at a faster rate than it has ever been. It might have taken a few years to get here, but new technology always does. And, in the last year alone, we've seen a 120 percent increase in consumer demand for high-end headsets. And it's becoming increasingly appealing to developers and publishers."

Strong sales in key headsets like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index, and PlayStation VR units sold don't translate to an instant user base for Ndreams, the UK-based VR specialist perhaps best known for award-winning Phantom: Covert Ops and Shooty Fruity. According to Oehmcke, the latter system sold around six million units, but are all those headsets still being used?

"Clearly not," says Oehmcke. "However, it is still doing well. Sony is also continuing to provide excellent content for the headset. However, it's clear that standalone headsets are capturing the largest active install base, accounting for nearly half of the VR market. And the Quest and Quest 2's success fueled this."

The Quest's success, according to Oehmcke, stems from its "brilliant job in addressing accessibility issues around VR." According to Facebook's Andrew Bosworth, the Quest 2 surpassed the original Quest's monthly active users in just seven weeks, and Oculus recently confirmed that "over 60 titles have made more than $1 million in revenue, with half making more than $3 million in revenue." All of this, Oehmcke insists, is good news and signals a positive shift.
"The virtual reality market is expanding at a breakneck pace. It may have taken a few years to get here, but new technology always takes time."

"We see this as being affordable — so the price point is no longer a barrier — and there are no other accessories required, which leads to immediacy; it's a straight out-of-the-box solution that's completely wireless," she says.

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"There are no cables. You don't need a computer to do this. There's no need for a phone. There's no need for a console. It's also the ease of use. Not only that, but it's also simple to stream and cast virtual reality on television, making it easier for evangelists to spread the word."

However, this isn't the only way that virtual reality is becoming more mainstream. According to Oehmcke, the careful curation of games based on well-known IPs such as Star Wars and The Walking Dead is crucial.

"One thing is headsets. We do, however, require wonderful games for them "she explains. "Fortunately, there are a lot of them, and the games are improving all the time."

But what makes a good virtual reality game? Most of the tech's most popular titles, according to Oehmcke, have been "for core gamers foremost," not only to experience on their own but also to "advocate and show to friends and family."

The standalone Oculus Quest and its successor have lowered the barrier to VR adoption and broadened the target market. The standalone Oculus Quest and its successor have lowered the barrier to VR adoption and broadened the target market.

""With those games, there is a common thread," she says, "and that is that they must be VR-only titles." But what is it about VR that makes it so appealing to players? This is something that we've researched over the years by looking at the changing trends in the market, talking to first-party, looking at the data, [and] conducting player research. And it's all led to five key conclusions."

These are fictional teleportation, emotional amplification, aspirational roleplay, empowered wielding, and "high-agency 1:1 control," with the latter being "arguably the most important part of creating an immersive VR experience," according to Oehmcke. NDreams believes that by using these concepts as "internal pillars," it will create games that are "as fantastic as possible."
"So-called thought leaders have always predicted that VR's moment is 'just around the corner,' but the signs are emerging now."

How do you make your virtual reality game a hit? It can be difficult, according to Oehmcke, because virtual reality is "very different" from traditional gaming platforms.

"We've spent the last seven years trying to wrap our heads around it and learning from our successes and failures," she says. And that's primarily because of a lack of discoverability, limited market data, and a variety of first-party partners, as well as constant new marketing challenges. However, we see [two] key drivers that can really help developers launch a game into the market successfully.

So foremost, make sure your game has fantastic VR at its core and is appealing to core gamers. What exactly does that imply? So, either deliver on our VR pillars or create your own. Make sure the product proposition is understandable, appealing, and persuasive. Not only that, but make sure you effectively communicate this to others. To ensure that your message and game are clear and exciting, test it on others, including gamers, publishing partners like us, and even your friends and family.

"Second, the importance of relationships cannot be overstated. That includes first-party platforms, fellow developers, virtual reality media, and creators. The more people you speak with, the clearer the picture becomes. They can assist you in developing your understanding, as well as open doors to opportunities such as funding and provide you with a platform to speak with potential fans. And if there are people you know you won't be able to reach or contact, find someone who can make the introduction for you."

However, Oehmcke advises you to have realistic expectations: The rate of development and future potential of virtual reality are astounding. There have been quest games that have made one, three, five, or even ten million dollars, but don't put your company's future in jeopardy by expecting such high returns.

According to Oehmcke, the most popular VR games are made 'for core gamers foremost.'According to Oehmcke, the most popular VR games are made 'for core gamers foremost.'

"We've had a lot of success by focusing on areas of the games that are unique to VR and important to core VR gamers. To put it another way, executing the game flawlessly is usually preferable to adding more content."

So, where does virtual reality go from here? Thanks to next-gen console power, innovations and improvements in mobile technology, and lag-free streaming, Oehmcke believes we'll continue to see "rapid progression." Hand and finger tracking will most likely improve as well.
But, perhaps NDreams expects lower prices, making VR more accessible to a wider range of gamers.

"At a more affordable price point, you'll get higher quality, more accessible VR," Oehmcke concludes. "And I believe we are much closer to achieving this than most people realize.
"So-called thought leaders have always predicted that VR's moment is 'just around the corner,' but as a studio, we've always taken a more cautious approach. However, the signs of this happening are becoming more visible now.

OPMDiscover more jobs in the game "F" OPMDiscover more jobs in the game "F" Fantastic VR-first experiences that truly make the most of what both platforms are now and can be are critical. All of this is currently possible in virtual reality, as long as they built games from the ground up with VR in mind.
"VR is already incredible, attracting millions of players and bringing success to VR developers, and the best part is that it is already the future. And starting your virtual reality journey now will only pay off in the future."

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