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30 Retro Rumors
Virtual Reality Will Be Big in 1999 (Retro Rumor #21)
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 16, 2015   |   Episode 21 (Show Archive)  

   
Welcome to 30 Ridiculous Retro Rumors, a brand new series that will run daily between November 26 and December 25, 2015. This is a series where we debunk some of the craziest rumors and predictions of all time. Today we're finally digging into virtual reality. With PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift making headlines, it's time to go back and look at the predictions made in 1994. Let GamePro lay out what it's all about in today's episode of 30 Ridiculous Retro Rumors.


This is a real rumor taken directly from the August 1994 issue of GamePro ...


Sick and tired of playing mascot-driven platformers, game journalists of the 1990s were eager for something new. With upcoming 32- and 64-bit hardware just around the corner, they knew big changes were coming. But instead of predicting the rise of 3D environments and large open worlds, most magazines predicted that we would see a big push for Virtual Reality by the end of the 20th century. That did not happen.

Found in an article where they attempt to predict the gaming trends of 1999, GamePro believed that Virtual Reality was going to be huge. And it's easy to see why. Both Sega and Atari were busy working on their own goggles, The Lawnmower Man had turned the technology into a national obsession, and rumors persisted that Nintendo had their own VR device waiting in the wings. For a brief moment in 1994, it felt like we were on the cusp of a Virtual Reality revolution.

But as companies woke up to the reality of mass-producing such expensive hardware, the dreams of Virtual Reality began to disappear. Both Sega and Atari scrapped their VR projects, and Nintendo's long-rumored device ended up being the Virtual Boy. Instead of releasing pricey headsets, the industry focused on immersive 3D experiences. This led to a market filled with first-person shooters, sandbox games and realistic racers.

More than two decades after GamePro made this prediction; it finally looks like we're going to be able to live our Virtual Reality dreams. Both Sony and Facebook have their own VR headsets, and there are already a number of entry-level models for those looking to dabble. If only GamePro could be here today and see Rez Infinite.
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