The 2016 Game Developer’s Conference kicked off this week and virtually every press release and panel discussion has the letters V and R stamped all over it.
Virtual Reality isn’t just A thing, it’s THE thing among game developers right now. And I’m not sure that’s good.
Let’s talk hardware. As we’ve already covered on prior Into Gaming segments, the hardware you strap over your head for the VR gaming experience is expensive. Hundreds of dollars expensive. But that’s pocket change compared with what you need to shell out for the best VR capable video card.
Two workstation-class graphics chips on a single card connected to gaming drivers just so you can do VR at its full potential. And the price tag for this? Around $1500 when it becomes available later this year. That’s not for the gaming computer, or even the VR headset, that’s just the graphics card.
Now admittedly, you don’t NEED a graphics card this powerful just to play VR-enabled video games. But the fact that AMD thinks you’re going to WANT one badly enough to actually make it tells me a lot. This card will find its way into the hands of video game developers, where it will become the “new normal” for hardware benchmarks, and they will want to take advantage of it and push it to its limits. The resulting games, while no doubt stunning, will require similar hardware on your end to reproduce.
Speaking of games that will get better, Bethesda has dropped the trailer for Fallout 4’s first DLC, “Automatron.” The plot is simple. Someone called the Mechanist is making bad robots. Lots and lots of bad robots. And a good robot comes to ask you for help. To fight the bad robots, you have to build your own robots, and thus the fun begins.
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Robot Wars or been part of building a battlebot, this DLC is going to be right up your alley. You’ll get to design robots using whatever parts you can scavenge and the challenges will get progressively harder as you get closer to the final showdown with the Mechanist. Automatron will be available across all platforms on March 22nd. It can be purchased as a stand alone for $10 or it is included in the Fallout 4 Season Pass, if you chose to buy one of those.
That’s Into Gaming, I’m Mark Lautenschlager.