Quote of the Day – Competing Against the Outside World

Meanwhile, VR devs are going, “But what about sticking blinders on people’s faces and making them stay at home?”

-Syp, on Twitter

In sudden surge, the augmented reality game Pokemon GO does seem to have gotten more press over the last few days than virtual reality has gotten over the last few months.  It has gone from the gaming press (I think half the stories at Polygon this week have been about the game) to the general press to showing up on the local news.  When your local news anchor is saying “Pokemon GO” a couple times an evening, it is a sign.  And then there was word of a movie based on the game as well.


This has been very much a perfect storm event, with a launch that managed to combine summer, when kids are off from school, have free time, and an inclination to go outside and do something, a free app for the smart phone so many people already own, and the immense popularity of Pokemon.

Meanwhile, the biggest VR news I have seen this week is that the Occulus Rift pre-orders from the beginning of the year have all finally shipped, but that the Touch motion controllers still do not have a firm date as yet.  Go team.

Of course, a phone app and VR aren’t really comparable, but it is a reminder that there hasn’t really been a killer app for VR yet that would get the average person interested in buying an expensive headset and a high end PC or console to go with it.  Right now it is still a niche product for enthusiasts.

9 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – Competing Against the Outside World

  1. Alex

    Pokemon Go. My girlfriend had me download it yesterday. I thought it was ridiculous a first, but by 5pm I was pulling over at poke stops.

    And it’s coming for your data. And your battery. I had to completely charge my phone twice yesterday.

    We went to the movies last night, and there were about 268,346,783 people hunting at the mall.. Someone had set off lures at two of the poke stops, and there was a very active gym. Guys came right up to my girlfriend to peer over her shoulder and engage her in conversation – I guess this is the new fitness/dating app.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Jenks – I nearly tagged the post “trolling Jenks” because I figured it would annoy you. But I didn’t post it merely for that reason, so no tag. Tobold remains the only person who has a tag specifically dedicated to trolling.


  3. SynCaine

    Think is, by next month there won’t be stories about Pokemon Go (other than perhaps a ‘remember when that was a big deal?’ recaps), while VR stories will continue.

    This whole thing is very much a rehash of Farmville, where non-gamers dig in, but because the actual product isn’t much of a game, it fades. However unlike Farmville, this won’t go as long as its a more active thing people have to do, and, well, people are lazy fucks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bhagpuss

    The product doesn’t need to be a game. In fact, calling it a “game” is just a bit of a drag anchor because it sets certain expectations that may neither be met nor welcome. All anyone needs to know is whether it’s fun.

    We are still struggling as a culture to find the language to describe many of the new experiences that technology throws at us. Calling everything “games” is just lazy journalism and lazier marketing. Pokemon Go gets something of a pass on this because it is at least base don a pre-existing series of actual games but we see this refrain – “it’s not a real game” – constantly, often directed at things that are successful, have gamelike elements, but which we don’t quite know how to label.

    Need better words!


  5. Erosian Aideron

    If the VR developers are really worried about this they should lobby the makers of mobile VR headsets like Samsung Gear VR and it’s competition to design covers for their devices that don’t block the camera. Then quit complaining and get to work designing awesome 3D AR games that make Pokémon Go look like Asteroids in comparison. Seems pretty simple to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @SynCaine – Arguing that the press coverage for a single app will, some day, suck even worse than the press coverage for the whole VR segment isn’t exactly looking towards a winning scenario for VR. My statement was that VR has yet to find something that will give it anything like the press coverage that Pokemon GO is currently getting, which it needs to have any hope of being more than a niche for enthusiasts.

    @Bhagpuss – I remember when the original SimCity came out and people were arguing about whether it was really a game or not. As with EverQuest a decade later, one of the main arguments was that there was no “win” condition, no “done” state. How can it be a game if you can never really finish it?

    But the word “game,” if you stretch it out to cover everything that people would generally agree was a game, ends up meaning something like “structured play time,” within which Pokemon GO fits quite easily. So anything becomes a game if you look at it from the right angle and are enjoying yourself along the way.

    Our desire to categorize everything is running straight up against a fight between a wide-open definition and people’s preconceptions here.

    C. T. Murphy doesn’t like it, so it isn’t a game to him. He can sit in the corner with me and play REAL Pokemon on a Nintendo handheld like God intended!

    @Erosian Aideron – Nothing is difficult for the person who doesn’t have to do it!

    I don’t think VR devs in general are worried about not being AR apps. That was Syp being silly in a way that I thought was amusing.

    VR and the VR hardware are based on the idea of immersing you in another world, not overlaying things on the real world. VR wants to take you someplace new, not put something down where you are. Uncovering the camera on the Samsung Gear VR wouldn’t do much because of that, and because devs need to support different VR implementations, most of which don’t have a camera at all.

    Besides which, if you want headset AR, the Microsoft HoloLens project is probably the sort of device you should be looking at.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jenks


    But yes there is room in gaming for both a cellphone camera game and VR, just like there is room for both Angry Birds and Total Warhammer.

    Liked by 1 person

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