VRChat is Just the Beginning of the Interactive Gaming Revolution
For years, gamers have been enjoying connected multiplayer experiences that bring the community together. We’re talking about the online multiplayer in games such as Call of Duty and FIFA – these are games where the fun comes from pitting teams of players against one another.
But more recently, we have seen this idea of multiplayer and connections in video games expand to offer more interactive experiences. There are games like (free to play virtual reality MMO) VRChat which has three million installs and a strong concurrent player figure, with the game averaging around 8,000 players playing at one time (concurrently) on a particularly busy day.
VRChat, Twitch and Beyond
VRChat has been available since February 2017 and offers players a variety of opportunities to play alongside or against one another. Mini-games such as Capture The Flag, bank robbing game Steel ‘n’ Gold, and Battle Discs, where players throw discs at one another, have all given players a way to have fun. The title’s social features, which allow players to customize their worlds and even host parties for their pals have also helped VRChat to become a huge success on Twitch and YouTube, where viewers love seeing the entertaining and sometimes ridiculous ways that players are interacting with one another.
VRChat succeeds because it offers players a new and different way to interact with other people, away from traditional message boards or chat lobbies found in multiplayer games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, and the aforementioned Call of Duty. We are seeing this increased interactivity embraced in live casino games with live dealers where players enjoy the chance to play games where they can see a real person. It increases the social connectedness of the experience and gives them a new way to enjoy live roulette, baccarat, and blackjack, rather than the traditional, static versions of those games.
In fact, this interactivity is also why we are seeing live-streaming platforms such as Twitch and YouTube Gaming increase in popularity. When players are streaming games, they are able to communicate and talk to their viewers and viewers can also pay for shout-outs (that pop-up on screen) which gives streams a real community feel, rather than just someone watching a pre-recorded video. Games with Twitch functionality, such as card game Superfight and strategic board game Wastelanders also allow Twitch viewers to have a direct impact on the way that the game is being played.
The Future of Social Media?
Traditional social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are still hugely popular, but could games like VRChat and sites like Twitch be the future of social media? The fact that these platforms offer entertainment and the chance to catch up and talk to friends (or make new ones) could well make them a significant rival to Twitter and co. Beyond likes and comments, Twitter and Facebook offer very limited interactivity with other people, but perhaps embracing multiplayer games would help them up against VRChat.
It’s clear that online users are craving more ways to communicate but their options can feel limited. It will be up to developers to continue catering to players, keeping them engaged, enthused and interacting with one another and the platforms.