EVE Online creator CCP firmly believes that this impending wave of virtual reality from the likes of Oculus Rift and Sony will change everything, and they "kind of bet the company" this is where it would end up.
They want to take EVE Valkyrie's use of VR integration ultimately into EVE Online, and DUST 514. Currently EVE is "kind of an operating system level" of a virtual world - now it can go further.
It was crucial to CCP Online that EVE occupied a single-world server where actions had consequences, and that day-to-day decisions could have a profound effect on the sandbox.
"So that is kind of an operating system level, if you will, of how to build one of these things. And now that we're seeing partners like Oculus and now Sony with Morpheus coming in, where now you're going to have input/output devices that are going to have a higher level of visual and aural fidelity, and make that immersion that much more real in the operating system of a virtual universe—we absolutely believe this is where things are going," said CCP's David Reid.
"We kind of bet the company on it since we started."
EVE Valkyrie is their dogfighting spin-off to EVE Online, whereas DUST 514 introduced ground-side combat. It made sense for their focus of VR to initially begin with Valkyrie as it easily fits with providing a fully immersive cockpit, letting players 'look around' to spot enemies and obstacles. Frontier's Elite: Dangerous and CIG's Star Citizen is doing the same.
"There's no question now that we're seeing—not just with Oculus, but with an industry titan like Sony entering this thing - it is going to be a real part of the business," continued Reid. "This feels like it is moving quickly beyond the novelty mode into, 'Yeah, this is fundamentally going to change interactivity.'"
He gets into hypothetical futures where VR could reach as-of-yet impractical new heights.
"You can only imagine that, at some level, if you could live in EVE ... You're not getting your nutrition and oxygen there, for sure, so the model only goes so far," says Reid. "But there is an economy there, and it's not crazy to think that some day one could earn a living. That could be your profession."
"And it's interesting, our CEO talked about this a little bit in his DICE speech. There is something about a virtual world that lends itself to filling a lot of human needs that people aren't able to get in the world. There's an aspiration we all have, a standard of living we all want, you know. Can this one world actually provide enough for everybody on it?"
"He said in his speech that we probably need 10 earths to actually give all the resources that everybody would need to live at the standard of living they would like to live at, but maybe nine of those can be virtual worlds. It is a bit of a fascinating and scary concept to look too deeply into. I think we're just going to take it one big step at a time, and see where this takes us."
Oculus Rift has just unveiled their new Development Kit 2, and Sony is showcasing Project Morpheus on PS4. More corporate ventures into VR are on the way, remarks David Reid.
"Certainly there are a lot of companies in the space, and certainly there are a number of companies that have maintained their interest in the space at a confidential level still," he said. "I don't think Oculus is the only company that is thinking about making a VR platform for the PC. I expect there will be more of these ... again, we want to see this happen, we want to see virtual worlds more meaningful than real life, and we want to see that change in our industry, and to some extent, without being too hyperbolic, the human condition overall."
For now we'll have to make do with blowing up starships in our virtual reality cockpits - shame that.