Superhot VR: Why a sequel is unlikely
Superhot VR is a VR superhit. Why is there still no sequel? A look at the Quest Store gives us a likely answer.
Superhot VR is one of the most successful VR games of all time. In May 2020, the studio reported two million units sold. That's a huge number by VR standards. Meta Quest 1 & 2 alone sold more than one million units (as of February 2021). It's also one of the best-selling titles on Sony and Valve's VR platforms every year.
In spring 2019, before the launch of the Quest version, studio founder Tomasz Kaczmarczyk revealed to me that the team makes more sales from the VR version than from the 2D version. That's amazing. So, why is there still no successor?
Until mid-2020, the studio was working on Mind Control Delete. The free mega-expansion of the 2D version had no planned VR port. The reasoning: Superhot VR was developed as a completely independent game, which was a "huge project."
The risk of a flop is greater
Since then, things have gone quiet for the studio, possibly working on new 2D and perhaps even VR games. An inquiry on my part about the status of any VR projects went unanswered.
The fact that three years after Quest there is still no successor in sight could have a simple reason: The potential buyer base is still tiny compared to that of the PC and consoles. A repeat of the huge success of Superhot VR is anything but inevitable.
Superhot VR had an original game concept that used the strengths of virtual reality. And, it came out at a time when there were few good VR games and innovative titles of its kind. Whether a successor in 2022 would have a comparable success is questionable. At least, if you look at other VR sequels for comparison.
VR sequels: Rarely as successful as the original
Job Simulator is another indestructible VR classic. Its successor Vacation Simulator sells well, but cannot come close to the fabulous success of the original, if you take the number of ratings in the Quest Store as a yardstick.
Job Simulator has around 12,000 reviews, while Vacation Simulator has around 3,000 (as of August 2022), four times less. The two titles were released seven months apart for Meta Quest. The latest game from the studio Cosmonious High, which has the same game concept and received good reviews, was released in March 2022 and currently has just 400 ratings.
The popular VR action-adventure Moss accumulated just under 6,000 reviews since May 2019, and its sequel comes in at just over 100 reviews after two weeks. Since a new game sells the fastest at launch, you have to wonder why the many Moss fans didn't grab it. It would be premature to draw a conclusion now, since Moss will also appear on other platforms. The only thing that is clear is that Moss 2 (review) got off to a weak start on Quest.
An older and equally successful VR game is I Expect You To Die, also a launch title for Meta Quest. It has just under 5,000 reviews, while the sequel, which was released a year ago, has an impressive 2,200 reviews.
On a better path is Ultrawings 2, which also came out in February and received close to half the ratings as the original (with 400 vs. 1100 ratings). Crytek's climbing games The Climb and The Climb 2 come in at almost the same number of reviews, though a lot of time passed between launches. This could also be because they are more often sold at a lower price in a bundle.
Superhot VR will continue to make sales for a long time
The numbers show that new games generally have a harder time than established titles - even sequels to well-known games. They are advertised for a few days at launch and then no longer noticed. That's why many VR studios shift to live-service games with regular content updates.
Those like Superhot VR that have permanently established themselves in the upper echelons of the charts automatically receive more attention, especially from newcomers who don't know what to buy and look first to the list of store bestsellers. This is why sales of VR headsets and games like Superhot VR correlate.
Many who get a VR headset subsequently buy VR classics like Superhot VR, which in turn solidifies their high chart ranking. So the studio earns good money with the title for a long time and might not even need a sequel, which would also have a hard time following in the footsteps of the original.