Is 3D The Real Reason Virtual Reality Is So Great?

Immersive. Emotional. It feels like you’re really there. Like being somewhere else without leaving your living room. Yes, virtual reality evokes a feeling of disconnect from reality. But what is the real catalyst of this emotion? Maybe it all boils down to 3D?

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For something to be called “virtual reality”, there has typically only been two real parameters considered. First, you are fully immersed in the environment — that is, you can only see the content provided to you — and second, you need to somehow be able to interact with that environment.

What is rarely considered as required for “virtual reality” is presentation in three dimensions.

After all, even if you’re looking at a “virtual desktop” your computer screen is still “floating” in front of you.

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I mean, you can have 180 or 360 degree videos to watch on a VR headset — but if they aren’t in 3D, they sure are lacking a lot (if you have a VR headset and have never watched a “flat 360” video, try it out).

Almost like … not virtual reality at all.

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that for true virtual reality, 3D is a required component.

So what?

It sort of came to me while playing Orisa in Overwatch; a popular team-based objective shooter.

Take a look at this video. Here, Orisa slings an orb way across the map — in fact, just outside the playfield. The orb grabs enemies around it and sucks them in and in this case, pulls every single enemy player off the map for a Team Kill.

Now, I’m okay playing this character, but I’m often challenged in my attempts to pull off this kind of maneuver.

Because it is almost impossible to get a sense of depth and location of your orb in a simulated-3D-in-2D-space.

Let’s flip over to the Oculus Quest and some of the best titles on there. SuperHot, Space Pirate Trainer, Moss (would this be a phenom if it was in 2D?). Pick almost any top-tier, highly talked about game in virtual reality.

Each and every one of them are fun to play — but I challenge you to look deeper (heh, so to speak).

What makes the best selling VR games so … best-selling? Take a look at the Top Sellers on Quest.

Sure, some of these games would work outside of VR … or would they? Or are they experiences that depth and shadow are required to make them the awesome experiences that they are?

I’ve played SuperHot on a computer in 2D. Yes, the game is sort of fun. But if you’ve ever played it both ways? Playing in VR might as well be a different game.

The more I think about my favorite Nintendo Switch games, PC games, Xbox games … the more I realize that 3D would make these so damn much more fun and coupled with the immersion of 360 degree viewing?

Dammit, I need Overwatch on Quest, in 3D … right meow.

What do you think? Which of your favorite games would benefit the most from being in 3D? Let us know below!

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I write, blog, record and review anything that interests me — including humanity, parenting, gizmos & gadgets, video games and media.

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