WHAT IF: Valve announces Half-Life 3 and it's VR-exclusive (Discussing a Hypothetical Scenario)

Would Half-Life 3 as a VR-exclusive be successful?

  • Yes (beginning of a new VR-boom)

  • Yes (the game would be fine, VR-market remains a niche affair as is currently)

  • No (but Valve would be able to stomach lacking sales)

  • No (mega bomba, Valve tries to re-work game into non-VR version)


Results are only viewable after voting.

Tokuiten

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Hey guys,

I don't even want to write too much to leave room for discussion, but here's how I arrived at making this thread:

I hadn't thought about VR for a couple months, partly because I'm having severe issues with my right eye for half a year now and it's still not over (appointment at eye clinic is set for end of July, they first wanted to give me an appointment in December, holy hell). So when you don't have 2 functioning eyes, you kinda spend less time thinking about a device that kind requires those ^^ Still, I'm hopeful regarding my right eye's health and I took a look at google if there were any news regarding the eternally rumored "Valve Deckard" standalone VR-headset. And, ofc, there's still nothing. Meta Quest 3 remains the go-to-VR headset if you want a standalone headsets right now.

But here's the thing: What if the reason vor Valve Deckard's no-show is tied to a specific game's development? It's mentioned in the thread title, so no further tease: Half-Life 3. I believe to remember some ancient interview or games magazine article where Gaben said that part of the reason there hasn't been a HL3 yet is that Valve is waiting for the kind of technology that allows the game to be truly "nextgen", not just in the usual "better graphics"-way we've come to know, but in the "2D to 3D"-kinda way. I even feel like there were VR-rumors regarding HL3, too, but never anything concrete. Fwiw, though, the most recent HL-game IS a VR-game. Not a full-blown sequel, but still VR-only and also highly regarded by everyone who played it. Where there's smoke, there's ...

Anyway.

Whether you think it will happen or not, let's discuss this one the following premise: Valve launches their standalone VR-headset code-named "Deckard" and "Half-Life 3" is a VR-exclusive launch-title. It will be playable on other PCVR-headsets, too, although Eye-Tracking is required. But no non-VR-version is available, simply because the same gameplay depth wouldn't be possible with traditional controls and TVs.

The Question: What would happen? Would it be the start of a new VR-boom, where everyone rushes towards buying a compatible VR-headset to enjoy HL3 (which we'll assume is a truly revolutionary, high quality experience)? Or would the game be a total bomba, because lack of interest in VR trumps the desire for HL3? Would Valve maybe be fine with tepid sales in the beginning, because this game would keep selling to any VR-newcomers for years to come? And with Valve leading the case of making high profile-VR-exclusives, would other publishers finally start making VR-exclusive AAA story-centric games, too? Would Bandai Namco finally make a Sword Art Online-game exclusive to VR that live up to the expectation? And so on.

Starting shot of a new VR-hype or biggest self-sabotage in gaming history? What do you think? To a nice discussion ^^
 
I don't see VR taking off with one great software only. That said, anecdotally, Half-Life: Alyx was the only time I saw people around me in a craze to buy VR.
 
It would do fine but it is really worth it? A 15 hours shooter can't change the market and consumer habits. Valve should do a sequel with less scavenging, monitor first and VR mode at launch.
 
Hmm not sure. It would no doubt cause a huge VR hardware boom.

It would spark so many people groaning and asking why VR though, as well. Saying they dont want VR. A big backlash. The perception would be, we got the most asked for sequel in history, but it was ruined by VR.

At the end of the day I have strong doubts VR is a compelling product. There are too many intrinsic issues. I dont think any one game can change that.

That's not even to mention the biggest problem with HL3. Is that it could literally never live up to the expectations. I believe this is the exact reason Valve will never make it. Games are always flawless, until they exist. Then they become real and their all too many flaws are exposed.

So the closest vote to my opinion is

  • Yes (the game would be fine, VR-market remains a niche affair as is currently)
BTW, in a sense we already did this experiment IRL and we know the results. It was called Half-Life Alyx. Of course we understand it was not HL3, but it was already as close to your scenario as we could reasonably ask for.
 
VR is too expensive and has physical health issues constraining it that prevents any single pieces of software from getting it to "blow up".

Additionally, I dunno how relevant Half Life even is anymore.
 
Was Half Life Alyx a success? Do we know anything about how much it sold or wether they were satisfied with it's performance?
 
It would have na incredible attach ratio on a very niche market, but I don't see it pushing VR adoption that much. It's just one game after all.
 
I'm not voting in that poll as it is a non sensical hypothetical scenario. It is more likely that we'd get a VR follow up to Alyx, and/or a new traditional HL3 that would be easily moddable to be played in VR as well. PC is too expensive to start a VR boom, we've already seen that with HL:A and the several high budget games from Oculus (Lone Echo series, Asgard's Wrath, Stormland by Insomniac), most of which precede Alyx.

The biggest boom VR saw was the Oculus Quest 2 which outsold the PSVR's lifetime sales within less than a year. It is estimated to be at 20+ million units. Quest 3 still is doing well enough at a higher price but the soon to be released Quest 3S should follow up the sales pattern we're used from the ~$300 range Quest 2.

The Quest platform now has all the early million selling VR hits like Superhot VR, Job Simulator, Beat Saber or Moss, as well as game adaptations of blockbuster media IPs like Iron Man VR, Star Wars Vader Immortal/Tales of the Galaxy's Edge and excellent entries into core gaming IPs like Resident Evil 4, Assassin's Creed Nexus, Batman Arkham Shadow and an Alyx class AAA original game with Asgard's Wrath II.

A single game cannot convince people to buy into a gaming platform, especially if it is seen as struggling and people are already doubting it. Quest on the other hand is doing very well, releases several high profile titles every year as well as getting 90% of all other new releases. It is to be expected that we'll see continued growth here.

The next VR game by Valve would probably coincide with their next VR hardware. But it isn't guaranteed that we'll get either any time soon. I think Valve too understands that a successful Quest is the best path forward for VR gaming and they have their own SteamVR streaming app on the Quest store.
 
VR won't take off unless it is SAO. Even Quest has a minimal consumer interest despite being cheap, wireless and see through.

I see more potential in AR glasses. And even then - only barely.
 
Even Quest has a minimal consumer interest despite being cheap, wireless and see through.
Can you quantify "minimal consumer interest"? What is that supposed to mean? It's outselling Air Pods on Amazon during Black Friday* and tops the Android/iOS download charts every christmas. If that is minimal interest, what interest level can everything else claim?

*Note: Air Pods were reduced during BF, Quest 3 sold at its regular price.
 
Can you quantify "minimal consumer interest"? What is that supposed to mean? It's outselling Air Pods on Amazon during Black Friday* and tops the Android/iOS download charts every christmas. If that is minimal interest, what interest level can everything else claim?

*Note: Air Pods were reduced during BF, Quest 3 sold at its regular price.
For VR to take off it has to become a commodity akin phone or PC - something that everybody wants and needs. That's the ultimate goal of VR - it being just another gaming platform is not the purpose of VR in the first place. Airpods had like more than 150m in 2021. So Quest outselling Air Pods during BF means nothing.
 
For VR to take off it has to become a commodity akin phone or PC - something that everybody wants and needs. That's the ultimate goal of VR - it being just another gaming platform is not the purpose of VR in the first place. Airpods had like more than 150m in 2021. So Quest outselling Air Pods during BF means nothing.
This is a gaming thread, neither Steam nor any console reach user numbers like PC or smart devices. So if that's what it takes for VR to "take off", core gaming never "took off". And HL3 wouldn't ever be able to make it, even hypothetically. So by the premise of this thread your post seems to be very off topic.

And I think Quest placing highly on sales lists on Amazon does demonstrate great consumer interest, at least more than minimal. Minimal would be placing low or not at all. Because you know, minimal means smallest possible.
 
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This is a gaming thread, neither Steam nor any console reach user numbers like PC or smart devices. So if that's what it takes for VR to "take off", core gaming never "took off". And HL3 wouldn't ever be able to make it, even hypothetically. So even by the premise of this thread your post seems to be very off topic.

And I think Quest placing highly on sales lists on Amazon does demonstrate great consumer interest, at least more than minimal. Minimal would be placing low or not at all. Because you know, minimal means smallest possible.
And core gaming never "took off" either. Mobile gaming really took off and PC gaming took off. But console gaming essentially stuck in early 2000s era and has never grown properly really.

You fundamentally misunderstand why Oculus is pushing VR - it is not for it to become another gaming platform. Gaming is just an easier gateway to consumers as "VR is about games" is easier to sell.

And I think Quest placing highly on sales lists on Amazon does demonstrate great consumer interest, at least more than minimal. Minimal would be placing low or not at all. Because you know, minimal means smallest possible.
There is a bunch of things that are higher on sales lists on Amazon but it does not mean they are comparable really.
 
And core gaming never "took off" either. Mobile gaming really took off and PC gaming took off. But console gaming essentially stuck in early 2000s era and has never grown properly really.

You fundamentally misunderstand why Oculus is pushing VR - it is not for it to become another gaming platform. Gaming is just an easier gateway to consumers as "VR is about games" is easier to sell.
So off topic for this thread. I agree that for XR Meta has that higher goal, but not for VR. And both can still arrive at their respective goal eventually, XR matching smart devices, VR matching core gaming.
 
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So off topic for this thread. I agree that for XR Meta has that higher goal, but not for VR. And both can still arrive at their respective goal eventually, XR matching smart devices, VR matching core gaming.
Meta is not dumping billions into VR for gaming though.

The ultimate goal of both VR and AR is to achieve something like this
but in a real life where you can have real stores, virtual stores merging together - so you can have avatars in real life that people can see them via AR glasses and so on.

We have fragments of that already - with Fortnite concerns, hologram concerts in the real life. Avatars in corporate meetings, attempts to use VR and so on. It will require years but we will eventually reach there.
 
Meta is not dumping billions into VR for gaming though.

The ultimate goal of both VR and AR is to achieve something like this
but in a real life where you can have real stores, virtual stores merging together - so you can have avatars in real life that people can see them via AR glasses and so on.

We have fragments of that already - with Fortnite concerns, hologram concerts in the real life. Avatars in corporate meetings, attempts to use VR and so on. It will require years but we will eventually reach there.

I play VR games regularly and will probably buy any new interesting VR device, as long as it's lower priced than the Apple thing and not totally backwards like the Sony thing. The Quest series is truly a breakthrough.

Use cases like VR stores or meetings have less possible user than VR gaming. No one will use a VR helmet to attend meetings when much more comfortable and easier alternatives like simple "zoom" meetings are available. There will be only a few special use cases where VR meetings makes sense. Would be fun if the VR avatars turn pale when some meeting attendees get motion sick.
There have been already VR or 3D stores and events available since decades and for several "games", something like "second life" in the early 2000s had virtual stores and big events from many big companies, some with real employees, its just a bit of marketing.
Metas Horizons is a big flop, no one use that thing. I have tried this "Meta verse" and it's clumsy, ugly and totally unnecessary. Meta wants me to wander through an ugly boring VR building to start games I could start with a simple click in the normal "2D" menu of the quest.

There are some use cases for VR, but at the moment the only ones with the mass market appeal are games.

VR stores and VR meetings have a chance to become a bit more relevant when the VR devices get smaller and are not distinguishable from simple glasses, but no one living today will live to see the batteries and the technical progress that is necessary for that. (On a side note: if the climate change progresses like some studies imply, than technical progress in many areas will slow down rapidly, because humanity has than other problems than VR stores).
 
Use cases like VR stores or meetings have less possible user than VR gaming. No one will use a VR helmet to attend meetings when much more comfortable and easier alternatives like simple "zoom" meetings are available. There will be only a few special use cases where VR meetings makes sense. Would be fun if the VR avatars turn pale when some meeting attendees get motion sick.
There have been already VR or 3D stores and events available since decades and for several "games", something like "second life" in the early 2000s had virtual stores and big events from many big companies, some with real employees, its just a bit of marketing.
Metas Horizons is a big flop, no one use that thing. I have tried this "Meta verse" and it's clumsy, ugly and totally unnecessary. Meta wants me to wander through an ugly boring VR building to start games I could start with a simple click in the normal "2D" menu of the quest.
The problem is that you are trying to judge the future by the past. There are some technical issues and used to exist but don't exist anymore and so on. With Apple they are aiming at something like PC. The see through thing in Q3 and Apple VR is a proper way forward but for now there are limitations on the battery and size.

But I think we will get there. I don't say that tomorrow suddenly everybody will have a VR headset but the ultimate goal is to achieve something like that - imagine people who have trouble walking but still can attend some in person meeting using their avatars and stuff. There is potential.

We also need some mentality change too. People treat VR as a game, but for some folks it might become more eventually.
 
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Meta is not dumping billions into VR for gaming though.

The ultimate goal of both VR and AR is to achieve something like this
but in a real life where you can have real stores, virtual stores merging together - so you can have avatars in real life that people can see them via AR glasses and so on.

We have fragments of that already - with Fortnite concerns, hologram concerts in the real life. Avatars in corporate meetings, attempts to use VR and so on. It will require years but we will eventually reach there.
This is what Meta means when they say Metaverse. But this subject is derailing the thread.

And VR gaming is where Meta can find successes, stepping stones towards that greater Metaverse goal. Zuckerberg thinks of games as a first encounter with the Metaverse for many which makes it worthwhile for him I guess. The biggest Metaverse successes are Minecraft, Roblox, Fortnite anyway so of course the Metaverse is already built on the foundation of gaming.

But can you either say something on the subject of the thread or take this discussion elsewhere?
 
I mean, you may say no but that’s how it was viewed and treated as by the community.

It was supposed to spearhead Valve’s VR and was just a marginal success in the end.

It was definitely priced as a new entry in the franchise
 
I mean, you may say no but that’s how it was viewed and treated as by the community.

It was supposed to spearhead Valve’s VR and was just a marginal success in the end.

It was definitely priced as a new entry in the franchise
I can guarantee, "the community" did not treat it as Half-Life 3. The reaction to a proper Half-Life 3 being announced would break the internet. Forget Shenmue 3, FF7 Remake or any of these.
 
If Vlce decided to do this then they would know the sales hit and stomach it. Won’t change the VR picture. People who played and liked Alyx will be back but that’s it.
 
The thread is about what would happen if HL3 is VR exclusive and whether it would change anything for VR. The answer is - no, I don't expect it to change anything and I don't see people dropping hundreds of dollars to play a single game.
Not in the numbers that make a difference, no. That's why I think Meta's approach, getting many such type of games, is better.

The new Arkham game is the only new one, in a long time and with gameplay to make it a proper sequel, even having some series staff. AC Nexus is only one of many recent AC games but it is a proper full AC only playable in VR. RE4 is of course a port but it is the full game, transformed into native VR.

Meta will release more such games. And $300 for the hardware is an acceptable price for many people to hop on, without the need of an expensive PC. It won't rival consoles anytime soon but they can achieve steady growth with the core gamer audience. And even more with the casual audience, which is more in line with where they want to go of course.

But it's good to cover all bases and not rely on one foundation only.
Isn’t it what Alyx basically was ?
Technically it was the next mainline HL, the fifth one after episode 2. But that it not has a number in the title allows people to tell themselves it's a spin off, or a side game. So I do think a VR exclusive HL3 would be different. But also not a good move as it would alienate too much of the fan base.
 
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