Where will VR gaming be in 2040? Industry veteran Jesse Schell makes an interesting comparison

Where will VR gaming be in 2040? Industry veteran Jesse Schell makes an interesting comparison

What is the longer-term potential of VR as a gaming medium? Industry veteran Jesse Schell makes a prediction and a comparison.


In an interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Jesse Schell says:

I'm not going to make any predictions past 2040, but I'll say for like the next 15 years, VR has the potential to become something like 15% of the game industry. That's a healthy chunk. That's not nothing. I don't think it's going to be bigger than that. Will VR in that time period displace flat screens? I don't think so, but I do think it's going to be a healthy part of the industry.

Schell goes on to compare the relationship between traditional games and VR games to the relationship between movies and TV.

Movies are more spectacular – bigger screen, bigger situation – but it's not the dominant thing. It's not convenient. I think VR's the same thing. It's more spectacular, more immersive, more thrilling, more intense, more emotional, but there are elements of it that are not as fitting for everyday life. It won't be the biggest part of the industry; it'll just be the most immersive part.


Don't expect a paradigm shift anytime soon

Jesse Schell is the author of The Art of Game Design and the founder and CEO of Schell Games, a studio that has focused on VR games for nearly a decade.

Schell Games created the I Expect You To Die trilogy, the swordfighting game Until You Fall and a VR version of Among Us. The studio is currently working on the promising vampire hunter title Silent Slayer.


Schell is known for making bold predictions. In 2015, he made 40 predictions about the future of the VR and AR industry. In retrospect, it turns out that Schell was overly optimistic in many of his predictions.

His latest assessment is more sober and realistic. Schell does not believe that VR will conquer the world by 2040. Instead, VR will grow out of its niche and establish itself as a significant and healthy sub-category of gaming without disrupting the current paradigms.

His comparison takes into account that VR often involves additional friction compared to traditional media, whether it be wearing a VR headset or physically moving while playing. Even as VR headsets become smaller and lighter over the next 15 years, these factors will continue to play a role and remain barriers to everyday use and adoption of the technology.

Schell's prediction seems to be mainly focused on VR gaming. As far as I'm aware, Schell does not explicitly address other applications of VR, such as productivity and education, or other form factors, such as lightweight AR glasses.

Sources: Gamesindustry.biz