Original Deus Ex Director Calls VR “a Fad”

oculus rift 06-25-15-1

While virtual reality is easily the hot new trend in gaming, many people, including developers, are still unconvinced. Warren Spector, the director on the original Deus Ex, is one of those developers.

When speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, he pulled no punches in his thoughts behind the current VR offerings from various companies:

“I’ve been pretty consistent in my belief that VR is a fad,” said Warren Spector. “I think it’ll generate some interest among the hardcore gamers. And I see amazing possibilities in VR for social media and virtual meetings and training and crazy stuff like dealing with phobias. But for entertainment? I’m just not seeing it. I don’t think most humans want to look stupid (everyone looks stupid in a VR headset) and they don’t want to isolate themselves from the world. I mean, if someone’s sneaking up behind me with a baseball bat, I want to know about it, you know what I mean? And let’s not talk about nausea.”

He reminisced of games he worked on that supported VR (at the time) more than a decade ago, and said that he seems to have moved on:

“It’s weird, I worked on a couple of games that supported available VR headsets back in the ’90s and I was really jazzed about it. Now, I’m kind of over it.”

Finally, he did express some excitement for augmented reality, a newer tech field that is being adopted, albeit much more slowly. “AR, on the other hand – that seems pretty exciting,” said Spector. “There’s some potential there. Even the low-hanging fruit of AR gaming seems compelling. Bring on the AR.”

How do you guys feel about the current state of VR and AR? Sound off in the comments below!

Image source: RocketNews24

, , , ,
Brandon Orselli


Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive.

Comment Policy: Read our comment policy and guidelines before commenting.
  1. Ellen J Miller
    Ellen J Miller
    June 25, 2015 at 7:54 am

    For me, it’s the isolation aspect I’m not keen on. Some say you don’t have to play with headphones but if you’re playing a VR game wouldn’t you want to go the whole hog with immersive sound and vision?

    Another factor is the rise in costs for HD development, VR is sure to add another lump onto that. Lastly, most of the game genres I enjoy I don’t imagine translating that well to VR. I’ll stick with screens and the 3D on my N3DS.

    I am interested in AR, for gameplay sure but mostly for other applications of it.

  2. BlastHardcheese
    June 25, 2015 at 7:58 am

    “and they don’t want to isolate themselves from the world.”

    Oh honey..

  3. Domhnall
    June 25, 2015 at 8:00 am

    “…[they don’t] want to look stupid…”
    The joys of living alone…and also, I don’t really care how I look. It’s not like this will be in public, anyway; we’re not talking about 3DS or Vita VR here.

    “…don’t want to isolate themselves from the world…”

    Also, friend, who have you pissed off enough that they’d come after you with a baseball bat? Nausea’s totally a valid point, though.

  4. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    June 25, 2015 at 8:08 am

    I lean towards it being a fad too, since Kinect, Move, and Wii Waggle controls were all touted as “the next big thing” too….and they are all now sitting in the great video game trash dump.

    But who knows, all it needs is just one huge killer app and that might change. What if the new DOOM uses it perfectly and it catches on? Or what if Elder Scrolls incorporates it into their next installment? That could sell it and up the bar, so to speak.

    But if you’re asking me to place a bet, I say it’ll fade out after a few years and sit next to the Kinect and a beat up Buick in your local scrapyard.

  5. Mr0303
    June 25, 2015 at 8:09 am

    I’m here because of the header image.

  6. Sarracenia
    June 25, 2015 at 8:11 am

    I’ve been more excited for AR than VR since Microsoft announced their headset, but I’m one of those crazies that will use VR a lot when it comes out, just for the immersion.
    Also, an MMO I play uses it, so that’s gonna be fun.

  7. Sangaz
    June 25, 2015 at 8:21 am

    Isolation is bliss.

  8. Biollante
    June 25, 2015 at 8:22 am

    I feel he may well be right, we’re at something of a low point when it comes to innovation in games and I feel that once the novelty wears off it’s just going to be a new way of experiencing the same old crap.

    I’m still looking forward to the porn though.

  9. Tyrannikos
    June 25, 2015 at 8:29 am

    While I don’t follow the same line of reasoning, I also think its popularity will quickly dwindle.

  10. Wand
    June 25, 2015 at 8:57 am

    He’s right. It’s been treated like any other gimmick. Basically a new Kinect in the eyes of videogame producers.

  11. JackDandy
    June 25, 2015 at 9:07 am

    The waifu novelty is neat & all, but I think the same.

    It didn’t survive in the 90’s for a reason.

  12. Dom The Elegy
    Dom The Elegy
    June 25, 2015 at 9:44 am

    Been saying that since its inception. The whole thing is way too pricey with too little benefits for the general consumer. There will of course be a minority of people who’ll do pretty cool stuff with it (mostly hyped for horror games), but that’s hardly enough to turn a profit.
    Bottom line: This’ll die just like 3D movies and gaming did before it several times; wake me up when we have TNG holodecks.

  13. Nagato
    June 25, 2015 at 10:18 am

    I’m relatively certain that developing for VR specifically will turn out to be cheaper, first and foremost because the process of displaying those games is already more intensive – mandatory higher framerates and need to render from two perspectives – so textures and geometry will be simpler, and secondly because the mere addition of “presense” to the experience is already such a huge leap forward in immersion that those simplifications won’t get in the way of things at all; they are no longer necessary to get that edge over another game, but VR suddenly is.

  14. Phelan
    June 25, 2015 at 10:21 am

    1. in majority civilized countries nobody sneaks behind your back with a basball bat in your house. Things like this only happens in South Africa or USA (sorry, I couldn’t stop myself from making jab :P joking joking)

    2. It’s true everyone look stupid as hell in this.

    3. It’s not really VR when to play a game you need to use your hands… that breaks whole imertion for me. If it was a stuff for arcades… with guns replicas, proper aiming system, dimentional moving system….that would be cool.

    For me VR will be nothing but a flop. So aye I agree. But for different reason.

    It will be expensive. Expensive for everyone.

    How many people will buy Morpheus or Oculus? Probably even if 1kk of clients bought it, it would be huge success for both Oculus and SONY. But pretty much only to them… nobody else would see it as success.

    And than… PS4 has something like 20kk owners? You really believe that even 1/20 of owners would be willing to buy Morpheus? In case of Oculus it’s easier because there are more PC users… but than again… more than 1kk? Nope…

    I really don’t think that it would be possible that peripheral like that would sell more than 1kk. That’s just not possible.

    And you think that any sane developer will create fucking expensive games for just 1kk people? Not going to happen. Vita has something like 11-12kk of owners and what? Developers complain that it’s too litte. And the cost of making simple A-AA game for Vita is much much much much lower than creating AAA game with VR implemented. Maybe 10x times more expensive… or even more.

    Nobody is going to bother with it, apart from few geeks who will find this idea intersting.

    But know this… Kayaba Akihiko isn’t real!

  15. Phelan
    June 25, 2015 at 10:23 am

    PS EyeToy
    PS Eye
    PS Move
    PS Wonderbook
    PS Camera
    PS Vita
    PS Vita TV

    welp… if we are talking about SONY alone… I would have to be nuts to believe in success of Morpheus.

    But than I don’t believe even in Oculus… nope…

    It will be another Ouya. That little thing was supposed to be herald of new times, gaming press nearly shit their pants when they talked about it. And than release date came… and nobody bought it. The hype was always only from journalists… and nobody else.

  16. Dewey Defeats Truman
    Dewey Defeats Truman
    June 25, 2015 at 10:34 am

    The problem with the Ouya was a bunch of people were really, really dumb and did not realize that this amazing machine that they were all so excited about was just an android in a small box, even though (if memory serves) the creators never claimed otherwise.

  17. BeholdMyPower
    June 25, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Only one thing will guarantee VR’s success.


    And that day will be the beginning of the end of mankind.

  18. Cred
    June 25, 2015 at 11:43 am

    the difference between VR and other fads like 3D or motion controls is that VR actually has people hyped, it’s not being mass fed by the media payed by the companies to create fake hype
    so yeah, players themselves want to be fully immersed and isolated and all that implies
    and that’s a huge difference

  19. Cred
    June 25, 2015 at 11:45 am

    wait shouldn’t VR bring costs for development down or at least keep them frozen?
    it’s very intensive on the user’s hardware, so many users will have to use lower settings on better hardware for VR
    for the VR development things don’t change much but now the consumer mark is lower

  20. Audie Bakerson
    Audie Bakerson
    June 25, 2015 at 12:53 pm

    I don’t really have any predictions on the future of VR, but buying now is absolute nonsense regardless of how long it will last. You can wait a few years and get the better second generation stuff (which has non of the defects or quirks of the first gen) cheaper and content will be everywhere.

  21. Joel Leonheart
    Joel Leonheart
    June 25, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Only valid point that I got was nausea..Everything else?? Well his opinion I guess??

  22. Fenrir7
    June 25, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    No one’s going to sneak behind you with a baseball bat……

  23. King of Zeroes
    King of Zeroes
    June 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm

    I gotta agree with him. VR’s just a fad right now. Just like it was back when I was a kid.

    Eventually it’ll be high tech enough that it’ll be really worth something, but at the moment I think it’s still about on par with the Kinect. The technology is interesting, but the implementation won’t be up to snuff, or it won’t be accurate enough to give you the proper experience.

    At the moment, I imagine it’s lacking. But this is good. It’s good to get through these hurdles now. We have to do it eventually.

  24. Steven Sanchez
    Steven Sanchez
    June 25, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    LOL, that screenshot lol. Honestly, I can’t wait for VR. It’s the future whether you like it or not. As soon as Senran Kagura goes VR…

  25. zacksmovies
    June 25, 2015 at 4:28 pm

    It’s odd to me that anyone would question the future popularity of all VR technology. As to the short term prospects of certain approaches, I don’t know. I haven’t had a chance to even try out any of the products in development. But even if the hardware is great, the awkward period of time when VR is essentially getting low budget games and ports of high budget non-VR games is 100% sure to be lackluster. Just as, in the longer term, the future popularity of some kind of VR is 100% sure to happen.

  26. Thanatos2k
    June 25, 2015 at 4:34 pm

    How can it be a fad when it’s not even available yet. It’s a virtual fad.

  27. Cred
    June 25, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Nausea WAS a valid point.
    Plenty of reports say the newer VR iterations have fixed that issue for most people

  28. No_Good_Names_Ever
    June 25, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    That is a man who doesn’t know porn exists and that the only thing it needs is good power gloves/boots to break out

  29. InfectedAI
    June 25, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Such strange and inconsistent points of view. Some rather idiotic like people caring what they look like when wearing it. Why would anyone care? I expect better of someone like Spector.

  30. Casey
    June 25, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    Why do people talk to Warren Spector? He’s become nothing more than that… just a specter haunting the game industry and crapping on other people without doing anything worth applauding.

  31. orbo
    June 25, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    To be fair to the wii, two big reasons people stopped buying is because nintendo pretty much dropped all support for it when they rolled out the wiiu and because by that point everyone had a wii anyway.

    As for the motion controls itself, well, with everyone buying classic controllers and most games not using the motion controls in any meaningful way anyway, yeah the wagglemote controls pretty much died with the system.

    You never know what’s going to be the next big thing though.
    When the NES rolled out all the old people who weren’t into games predicted it dead on arrival.
    We know how that went, don’t we.

  32. LurkerJK
    June 25, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    i think VR will be niche, i very much doubt it has a chance to become mainstream, price point (both the gear and the required high end pc) and the extra development cost that will discourage widespread support are big things against it

    and dont try to tell me every game its going to support VR when they dont even support SLI on release after years of pushing using multiple cards to hell and back (heck, you cant even expect the game to work on release, much less run at reasonable fps for VR on ultra high end)

  33. Psichaos
    June 25, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    Warren’s right to an extent. As far as mainstream appeal for gaming is concerned, We’ll see a big number of games come out with VR support for the first couple years or so, but eventually interest is going to dwindle. I believe that VR will have quite a large niche following even after the fad dies out, and we’ll definitely see a significant number games or experiences targeted directly towards that niche.

    He mentions people don’t want to look stupid in front of others, nor want to isolate themselves from their surroundings, but that’s really only an issue if you’re out in public, which VR really isn’t meant for anyways. I doubt people are going to walk out to a subway station strapped in an Oculus Rift and noise cancelling headphones. In the privacy and security of one’s home, one would assume they are safe from prying eyes and that no one is sneaking up behind them with a baseball bat.

  34. R353ARCH
    June 26, 2015 at 12:56 am

    I can agree with the author! But I also love gimmicks! I don’t think looking stupid is a reason not to try something amazing, but the stupider you look the more amazing the product needs to be. See also: selfie sticks.

  35. Hoopermation
    June 27, 2015 at 12:41 am

    Actually, it didn’t survive in the 90s for many reasons, none of which exist now.

    1. High latency. You look in 1 direction, the screen moves a second later.
    2. Low framerate. A lot of good VR stuff was barely pushing 10 FPS, or even lower. It was god awful.
    3. Low resolution. It looked like crap, and was extremely eye straining.
    4. No software. Plain and simple. There wasn’t any good software to support it, let alone games.
    5. Bulky and heavy. Trust me, putting 2 small CRT screens on your head is going to be pretty dang heavy.

    Now, it’s like this:

    1. Low latency. You move, the view moves with you. Imperceptibly fast.
    2. Very high framerate. Consumer devices will be displaying images at 90 to even 120 frames per second. Smooth as butter.
    3. High resolution. At the resolution of the screens in VR headsets today, you can barely see any pixels whatsoever.
    4. Tons of software. Gaming on PC has never been better, and many gaming companies are jumping on the VR ball. Games like Half Life 2, Alien: Isolation, and even game engines like Unreal Engine 4 and Unity all have VR support ready and available for any dev that wants to make it.
    5. Extremely lightweight. With cellphones becoming lighter every day, their screens (which are used in the both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive) are light and awesome. The lightweight plastic and hardware in them make it feel like they aren’t even there.

  36. JackDandy
    June 27, 2015 at 3:05 am

    Huh. Well, didn’t take that into consideration.
    I guess we’ll see.

  37. Hoopermation
    June 27, 2015 at 3:13 am

    It’s fine, a lot of people are wary about VR, as they should be. But there are a lot of misconceptions out there that put people off, and I don’t feel like that’s fair.

    If you ever get the chance to try one, please do. I love to hear how it blows people’s minds :D