What Games Will Actually Improve In 3D?

September 15, 2019
 / 4 minutes

Keeping tabs on the AR and VR revolution would lead you to believe that just about all video games will ultimately be presented in 3D form. Maybe this is the case, maybe it isn’t; plenty of gaming enthusiasts still roll their eyes at AR and VR much like they did where 3D TV was concerned. But debating how many games will ultimately wind up being adapted to suit AR and VR formats is at least somewhat pointless. We just can’t say for sure, and right now mixed reality is catching on so gradually we can’t determine if it’s just not exciting people, or if it’s just getting wound up. What we can say though, at least with some degree of logic and accuracy, is which types of games will actually improve in 3D, and which ones might be better left alone.

Creative Construction Games

This is a theoretically broad category that could refer to anything from Roller Coaster Tycoon to Minecraft and its numerous imitators. Whatever the case, these are games that can be fairly extraordinary in the 3D format that AR and VR provide. In particular, Minecraft in VR has been called exactly what you hope it would be, beautifully reinventing the game as a sort of interactive construction fantasy. These games have some of the most potential to take us out of the real world and allow us to experience something that feels wholly unique. Verdict: it works


Shooters ought to be quite a thrill in AR or VR. They are the most popular video games by and large, and already the goal of developers is to make them feel as realistic as possible, at least in most cases. There is a certain thrill that comes from the realistic nature of virtual reality. However, locomotion is also limited in virtual formats, and while there have been some creative approaches to fixing or offsetting this problem, it still keeps shooters from being any better in mixed reality than they are on a normal console. Verdict: not quite there

Other Combat Games

We have not gotten too far with these just yet, but the potential seems like a lot of fun. There is a Star Wars game rumored to be coming out in 2019 for instance that could provide the most realistic first-person lightsaber fighting gaming has ever produced. And even back in the past era of VR, in the ’80s and early 90s, there were efforts to produce martial arts-related games. If we’re being honest, we all like the idea of being movie action heroes without actually having to take a hit or, you know, fight for our lives. Mixed reality can essentially make that happen. Verdict: it works

Casino Games

Casino games are more popular than a lot of people realize. They cover all kinds of specific styles and carry a huge range of themes online. And while they’ve long been big around the world, they’ve also spread into New Jersey and will undoubtedly be available in other states that legalize real-money gaming in due time. For these reasons – widespread popularity – there could actually be a pretty big push into VR and AR in this category. To date though there isn’t a great example, and really the extra dimension seems… well, extra. Aside from a more immersive card game or the potential for an entire casino being simulated, it’s not a very necessary adaptation. Verdict: not quite there

Escape Games

A number of escape and puzzle games have already come out on VR, which should be an indication that they were seen from the beginning as interesting options. Indeed, these games tend to require fairly limited locomotion, and they’re all about atmosphere, immersion, and exploration. All of this lines up rather flawlessly with the capabilities of modern mixed reality, and it makes these games, even in the early going, some of the most enjoyable and most impressive. Verdict: it works

Racing Games

The best category is saved for last. There isn’t a genre better suited for VR than racing games. Sitting still in a chair or on your couch, or even upright in bed, mimics sitting in the cockpit of a racing car at least reasonably well. And from there, looking from side to side and scoping out the track ahead feels physically just like it would if you were in a real car. Now, to this point there still isn’t a single game taking the lead in VR racing, but there have been some successful titles, and it feels like a major series is just around the corner. Verdict: it works

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