Virtual Reality Is a Disappointment? Not in the World of Video Gamers

But in gaming, virtual reality is flourishing. Worldwide revenue for the augmented-reality and virtual-reality market is projected to grow to more than $162 billion in 2020, from $5.2 billion in 2016, driven largely by gaming consoles and mobile virtual-reality headsets and experiences, according to IDC, a research firm.


The Sony PlayStation preview area at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, the video game industry’s annual trade show, held last week in Los Angeles.

Mike Blake/Reuters

The appetite of gamers for virtual reality was on display last week at the Electronic Entertainment Expo , or E3, the video game industry’s annual trade show in Los Angeles. Game publishers such as Bethesda and Sony announced that several popular video games would be available as virtual-reality experiences this year, including the Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Fallout and Doom.

At E3, independent game developers also showcased half a dozen virtual-reality titles, such as Virtual Virtual Reality, an absurdist black comedy from the studio Tender Claws that plays with ideas of tourism, travel and authority; and SnowVR, a dreamlike game made by two Tehran-born artists who were unable to attend E3 because of travel restrictions.

The appeal of virtual reality in gaming has long been clear. Pete Hines, vice president of public relations and marketing at Bethesda Softworks, which makes the Elder Scrolls and Fallout franchises, said first-person shooter games and open-world role-playing games were best suited to the virtual-reality experience because they provided players with a great sense of immersion.

“You’re not looking at a screen on which something is displayed; all you see is the screen — you’re in it,” Mr. Hines said.

What has changed now is that many of the early games with virtual reality are shifting to a more experimental phase. Some of the first titles…

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