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Are VR Board Games The Future?

VR Board Games… 

VR Headset for Board Games

Can you picture a future where instead of pulling out a physical board game from your collection you’re donning a VR headset to play a game? Yeah, we all can tell ourselves that that won’t be us, playing a physical game is just the way it has to be done.  When it comes down to it though, how many of us will be able to resist the temptation of not having to spend precious time setting up a game when all you have to do is put on your headset and press a button.  

I know that we already have a lot of digital board games available to us but VR board games just seem like they’re on a totally different level.  We don’t think it’s very common for a digital game to be preferred over its physical counterpart, but for VR games we think that could change.

Think about all the benefits

I mean, the potential benefits of VR games sound amazing when you stand back and try to take an unbiased look at them.  Instant game setup times, smart rules clarifications when you need them, no physical storage required, and the ability to play a board game with somebody without being together or i.e. social distancing.

You have to admit all of that sounds awesome, but stacked against physical board games who knows if it will ever take hold in our world.

Since this is A Pair of Meeples let’s just take two-player game scenarios for example.  With physical board games, playing games is a very nice and meaningful way to spend time together with another person.  You get to look at and interact with that person in a real way.

Board Game Date Night
I know its Jenga, but Jenga is about the most physical game there is, a VR version just wouldn’t be the same.

Now if all we ever played was VR board games we think that would look quite sad from the outside.  Just picture it, my wife and I both put on our VR headsets to play a game just because it’s easier.  Both of us are just sitting in the same room playing a game together but not really together.  We’re both attached to our screens and our own little virtual reality instead of being in our actual reality together.

VR Board Gaming

Even though this sounds quite depressing we can see how all the benefits we listed earlier for VR board games could really suck people in.  I mean I know we would likely even use it sometimes, especially to play board games with friends that live far away (and to avoid that crazy setup for Robinson Crusoe, and maybe some rule reminders too).

It’ll be important for us and everyone to balance between playing those physical board games when we can and playing VR board games when it makes sense.  

Some of you may be reading this thinking these people are crazy, talking about something that is so far in the future.  There are already a few board games on Oculus Quest and other Steam VR headsets though.

Catan VR is probably the most popular VR board game, and the most polished game currently but there are a few others.  It will only be a matter of time before more games release to digital and VR.  It might not even be that uncommon for some board games to never release a physical edition and just go the digital route in the future.  

Are VR board games going to be the new normal?

Just look at board game Kickstarters for example.  The cost to produce a limited run of a new board game is quite high because custom making all the components required is fairly expensive.  This makes it quite a challenge for new games to make it to market, which is why Kickstarter is such a prominent aspect of the board game community.

Board Game Components
Just think about your average game and all those custom-made components that game has.

New game designers could potentially avoid all those high costs for physical copies and just hire a couple of coders and VR game designers to implement their new game digitally.  We already see a lot of games on Kickstarter that have digital versions available.  It’s only a matter of time before VR board game Kickstarters become much more common.

It’s easy to see that as the costs to produce a VR board game go down and as the technology improves, more publishers will likely choose VR as part of their release plans.  So in the not-so-distant future, it’s not that hard to imagine having thousands of VR board games all at the click of a button with our Meta Quest 2 or our HTC Vive or whatever the best VR headset is at the time.

Someday soon we will probably be reviewing a few VR board games here at A Pair of Meeples but until then what do you think of VR board games? Are they going to have a negative effect or a positive one?  Are we going to lose what makes board games awesome?  

Let us know down below.

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