Former Blizzard executive Rob Pardo thinks we’re a long way off from VR MMOs

    
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So... I mean, you were playing that new expansion, right? Isn't that out today?

Rob Pardo is no longer with Blizzard, but he can still count World of Warcraft‘s success as a big feather in his cap. So it seems natural that after a recent speech at View Conference in Italy someone would ask him when we could expect VR to start hosting MMOs in the future. Pardo isn’t enthusiastic, at least in the short term; he stated that we’re a long way off from seeing VR tech supporting a full-fledged MMO experience.

I just think it’s going to be a really long time until we see something as complex as an MMORPG in VR. But one day, I’m sure one day we’ll see the Holodeck – I just don’t think it’s any time soon.

He elaborated by explaining that for such a title to really work, you need the technology to be fair lighter and more accessible, advanced to the point where it’s not going to make people sick, and also develop input devices that really work well for navigating an MMO within that space. And all of those hurdles come before you start designing a fun game. It’s an interesting point of view to consider, especially when we’ve already got a VR MMO on the way.

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Jeffery Witman

Until VR is more established and accessible to the masses, you won’t have an MMO of any kind. The people aren’t there.

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Dividion

You might want to look into OrbusVR. Plenty of posts about it here on MassivelyOP.

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Malcolm Swoboda

Yeah I never expected it for the late 2010s. But I hope VR advances enough to make it start to happen in early 2020s.

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Jesse Schulkers

Personally I am okay with this. Though I seriously think more studios should look into seeing if they can get the platform running on their systems even if its not the primary audience. My best VR experiences were decidedly not designed for VR headsets. Elite; Dangerous was made to support them but its not the main platform. Minecraft is *fantastic* on my vive but it, too, is not designed with VR in mind. Not initially anyway. I hope toi see more other games ported over to support the method of viewing.

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Oleg Chebeneev

He should specify how long is long?
First huge VR MMO is already in development. It’s called Star Citizen. Everything in it is made with immersion and VR in mind, even if doesnt officially support VR devices yet. Particularly interface is very VR friendly which is huge.
If it will take 3 more years for PU to be launched and VR helmets get 8k resolution in this time period, there is your holodesk VR MMO. And how it looks in VR will blow everyone’s mind.
I dont think we can call 3-4 years “long”

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NeoWolf

VR MMO and affordable VR for the average person is what im waiting for.. little interest in it until then tbph despite its appeal

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Utakata
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Arktouros

Fundamentally I agree with him.

VR has a lot of things to work out still on a technological level as well as a development level. We haven’t even answered the question of “What is the fundamental VR experience?” as in what’s required to make a good VR experience. What field of vision? What kind of motion controls? What kind of tracking system? What kind of play space is required? And then, once those questions have been answered, you gotta ask the questions how do you bring the price down to a level that’s affordable for people? People say things like, “VR is garbage I tried it was nothing special.” and they’ve tried the Samsung Gear which isn’t anywhere near to the same experience as something like the Vive.

I think long as people have realistic expectations (the big ask), understand the different levels of VR, and understand that it’s a new platform VR has a decent chance of working out to be pretty great from what I’ve experienced first hand.

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Jesse Schulkers

Until these questions you ask are answered I hope more studios work VR support into their non-VR games. Some of my best experiences werent built for that in mind. My favorite by far right now is Minecraft. What I wouldn’t give to get 7 Days to Die and other such games like it that same support.

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Arktouros

If I could get past the blocky Graphics ViveCraft sounded and looked pretty amazing.

I’ve just never been much of a fan of the “8 bit” look.

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Jeff

I play ESO in VR all the time….it’s pretty flipping awesome.

That statement from him is surprisingly ignorant.

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Jesse Schulkers

plz wat. Do tell.

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rafterman

Just based on the fact that a large population of people can’t even use current VR without getting sick and the fact that even for those who don’t spending long sessions in VR isn’t ideal I agree with Pardo. I absolutely love VR, have it for both my PC and PS4, and can’t imagine playing a VR MMO. The tech is going to have to get significantly better before it’s viable for MMOs.

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Dividion

I think the biggest hurdle basically comes down to movement. Head and hand tracking are pretty good, but you really need leg tracking without running the risk of colliding with walls or getting out of range of the PC’s cables. You could do something like the suspension harness in the Assassin’s Creed movie, but otherwise you’d probably need a submersion tank or zero-G, and those just aren’t feasible.

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Dividion

As long as VR continues to evolve and be incorporated I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. OrbusVR is built around it, SC will eventually include it (several years away though), and non-MMO games are still coming out with it, like Mechwarrior 5, because it totally shines in simulations. Even Fallout 4 is getting a VR makeover. Plus the hardware’s getting cheaper. Eventually it’ll make it into more MMOs, but only those designed for it from the ground up and have a good movement scheme are going to shine.

I think we’re still probably centuries away from Holodeck or NerveGear territory, since that essentially requires the ability to intercept nerve signals and feed sensory input directly to the brain.

But augmented reality along the lines of SAO: Ordinal Scale seems much more feasible. We totally have the ability to handle large groups of people running VR apps in close proximity using cellular connections, right? ;)

Veldan
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Veldan

I hate how people keep talking about the holodeck as the future of VR. It’s not real, people. It’s science FICTION. Fantasy. It will never happen.

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Darkthunder

The creator of the Cell Phone has said that he was inspired by the original “Star Trek Communicator” from the 1960s series, when developing the phone. Science Fiction, is merely fiction until it isn’t. Or put another way… Science that hasn’t been invented yet.

Dismissing technologies used in sci-fi just because “it’s sci-fi” is disingenuous, and contrary to what actually happened. Plenty of devices in use today (or near future) have been inspired by sci-fi.

Veldan
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Veldan

I do not dismiss it merely because it’s fiction. I dismiss it because it makes no (physical) sense.

It’s not comparable to a cell phone. It’s not very hard to imagine cell phones in a world where radio and normal phones are already a thing (both were invented long before 1960). A simulated reality that you see everywhere around you and can also touch and interact with, is orders of magnitude higher in both complexity and, well… fantasy.

There are many things that aren’t just impossible now, but fundamentally impossible in the universe we live in. Other common sci-fi examples of that are time travel and teleportation.

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Darkthunder

Time Travel is possible according to Einstein’s own theories of general relativity, but probably not as easy to accomplish as most sci-fi depicts it. No, a cool Delorean being hit by a lightning bolt, will probably not suffice.

Quantum Teleportation is already being experimented on, and they have done multiple successful tests of teleporting single atoms short distances.

Another staple of sci-fi is FTL (Faster Than Light) via warp drive, hyperdrive etc. A current theory supports the possibility, but is currently prohibitively difficult due to the required energy levels. But not impossible.

Veldan
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Veldan

Quantum Teleportation is not real teleportation (the name is unfortunate). I actually study quantum mechanics (grad student in physics here). When a quantum state is “teleported”, the process is only complete when you send 2 classical bits of information along, typically encoded in photons. So essentially, you just send information at light speed. This is actually a fundamental law: information cannot travel faster than light speed. Not even quantum mechanics has a way around that.

The advantage of this “quantum teleportation” process is that you can transfer the state of a qubit (quantum bit, state of a two level quantum system) while only having to send over classical bits.

I have never heard of FTL being possible in any way. The only way consistent with physics would be a wormhole, where you don’t actually travel faster than light, but merely appear to do so for people who don’t know about the wormhole. But even the existence of wormholes is still hypothetical.

Every theory about time travel is far-fetched. Yes, you could think of a hypothetical situation where a particle travels back in time without violating physics. That does not mean that we can create this, or even that it exists at all. There are other examples of mathematical solutions to physics equations that just don’t exist in our universe.

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Darkthunder

Perhaps you should read up on this theory by Miguel Alcubierre (which functions very much like Warp Drive in Star Trek):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcubierre_drive

Veldan
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Veldan

… it requires some magical “negative mass”. I’d estimate it more likely that a wormhole is found today than that humanity ever finds or creates something with negative mass.

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zeko_rena

Yeah, the holodeck people make me laugh, only because they think they will actually be around when it happens, if it happens lol

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Malcolm Swoboda

I’m not sure about the total physical sensations of the holodeck, but visuals? I absolutely expect that in my known lifetime (next several decades). Hell, next couple.