If like me you've got teens who are buried in the desktop and phone games, check out this post for ways to channel that energy into a hot career:
Kevin Rose predicts that virtual reality (VR) will fail in the consumer marketplace in 2016, but Adam Rezich lays out the argument that it will be one of the hottest areas of job growth.
In 2016, the barrier to entry for video game development has never been lower. Once you own a VR headset, you can download Unity for free and try whatever weird VR idea you have. (Personally, I cant wait for one of them to actually get released so I can buy it and start playing with several such weird ideasI missed the boat on the first few rounds of dev hardware and its been incredibly frustrating.) Video game platforms have been democratized to the point where anyone can make a game and sell it in all the places where end-users will see it. VR is arriving at the perfect time; more people than ever are making and selling video games, and stretching the definition of video game to include all manner of creative interactive experience in the process. Video games as weve known them will continue to exist, but I predict that more and more people will make compelling non-game interactive experiences in the coming years, and VR is the perfect avenue for that.
Thats not to say VR has an easy road ahead of it; there are plenty of obstacles it has to overcome in order to achieve mainstream success. If there isnt such a thing already, someone needs to create a dope cross-platform library to facilitate developing for all of the different VR headsets. VR experiences will have to gracefully degrade across the different headsets, depending on each headsets feature set. Some serious design work is going to have to go into standardizing user interactions for common tasks, such as interacting with menus. While exploring the possibility space VR offers is part of what makes it so exciting, I think that establishing user expectations for common tasks is extremely important. Lets say, for example, that one developer discovers that looking down to open your inventory in an RPG is a good, natural action for users. If this became the standard, people would become accustomed to it, and playing a VR RPG without that feature would cause friction for the users experience. Thats only the tip of the icebergmenus, handling 360 rotation while sitting, and so much more is going to have to be figured out, organically, over time. Plus, theres the additional hurdle of doing all of this without causing nausea or motion sickness.
I wouldnt write off VR just yet. There are certainly some tough hurdles that must be cleared in order for it to enjoy mainstream success (the biggest of which is likely the price point), but I think its going to prove to be more than worth it in the long run.
The immersive quality of VR is awesome, to be sure, but it also helps solve design problems with interactive experiences. As an example, imagine designing a first-person Quidditch video game. Quidditch is a three-dimensional game, and you would want the video games UI to help you locate other players on the field (i.e. so you can pass the Quaffle to a teammate). This would be hard to pull off in a traditional video game; you could have chevrons over players' heads and then move those chevrons to the edge of the screen if the player is off-camera but a chevron along the bottom of the screen could mean that a player is below you or that theyre behind you. With VR, you can simply and quickly rotate your head, giving you greater immediate situational awareness than a traditional video game could provide.
I think youre going to be surprised at how cool VR will be. Video games started off as simple electronic games like Pong and Donkey Kong, and now we have esports, MMOs, poetic experiences, open-world games and so much more. VR is going to be much bigger than just a more immersive way to play first-person shooters; its going to completely redefine what creative interactive experiences can be (and make the term video games even weirder and less accurate than it already is).
h/t Jerry Albright's Recruiters Who Actually Make Placements