Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot recently revealed that the company won't be investing further into virtual reality (VR) game development until the demand for it "grows enough." This decision comes after the underwhelming sales of their VR title, Assassin's Creed Nexus. While the game received positive reviews for its immersive experience, it seems that the VR market has yet to reach its full potential.
Assassin's Creed Nexus was hailed by news writer Joshua Wolens as "genuinely cool," though he did add the caveat of "if you can keep yourself from throwing up." Well, in the realm of VR, that's practically a compliment! The game garnered a high user rating on the Meta Store and achieved an overall score of 78/100 on Metacritic. However, despite these achievements, it failed to translate into significant sales.
During an investors call, Guillemot expressed disappointment in the game's performance: "Assassin's Creed did okay and continues to sell, but we expected more. Until VR takes off, we won't be increasing our investment in it." He also mentioned being impressed by Apple's foray into VR with the Apple Vision Pro, but recognized that its hefty price tag of $3,499 makes it inaccessible to most consumers.
On the more affordable end, the Meta Quest 2 headset comes in at $300. However, even at that price, consumers hesitate to invest in VR due to the lack of quality games available. It's a classic chicken-and-egg situation: people are reluctant to purchase VR headsets until there's a sufficient library of enticing games, while game developers like Ubisoft are hesitant to allocate resources to VR until there's a larger user base.
This shift in priorities is understandable when considering the current state of the VR market. According to the latest Steam Hardware and Software Survey, just over 2% of Steam users own VR headsets. Although this figure isn't exact, it reflects the limited potential market for VR games on PC.
Guillemot did not elaborate on how Ubisoft's VR plans will change following the disappointment of Assassin's Creed Nexus. It remains uncertain whether they will cancel any ongoing VR projects or simply refrain from starting new ones. The company had already scrapped a previously announced Splinter Cell VR game and canceled the Assassin's Creed VR project in 2022.
Virtual reality continues to face challenges as it strives to become a mainstream gaming platform. The need for more affordable hardware and a robust library of high-quality games remains paramount. Until then, game developers like Ubisoft will tread cautiously, waiting for the VR market to reach the tipping point where demand and investment align.
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