This cyberpunk VR game shows just how much VR has changed

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The development of Low-Fi has been ongoing for several years. However, the VR industry has undergone significant transformations during this time, compelling the developers to reconsider their approach.

Low-Fi is the spiritual successor to the early VR game Technolust, which was released in 2016 for the PC VR headset Oculus Rift. After an update that added new content and support for the Oculus Touch controllers, solo developer Blair Renaud turned his attention to creating a major new VR game, later announced as Low-Fi.

In September 2019, Renaud initiated a prosperous Kickstarter campaign and obtained around $80,000. During that period, I had the opportunity to try out an early version and was amazed by the immersive and intricately designed environments, which transported me into a world reminiscent of Blade Runner. However, during that stage, the gameplay was limited to basic activities such as walking, exploring, and driving a car. Low-Fi had yet to fully evolve into a complete game.

Low-Fi goes hybrid with a flat version

The VR game, which was initially scheduled for release in late 2020, is still pending. The Kickstarter page has not been refreshed since late 2022, and the anticipated launch for PC VR and PSVR 2 in 2023 has not been fulfilled.

The developer has recently given an update on the project’s progress through a Twitter post. Renaud mentions that initially, the main focus was on “Next-Gen VR”, referring to PC VR and Sony’s VR system with the introduction of PSVR 2. However, since PC VR has been declining after Half-Life: Alyx and the PSVR 2 didn’t gain much traction this year, the team has decided to also release a non-VR version of the game to compensate for the limited number of users on these platforms.

Renaud further explains that the studio is facing financial difficulties and there is a need to complete the VR game, but no specific timeline is mentioned. Renaud also states that a Quest port is not possible due to budget constraints, team size, and the current generation of devices.

The transition from PC VR to standalone VR happened swiftly in the industry.

Low-Fi has been in development for at least five years, and the VR landscape has changed a lot in that time. Between 2016 and 2018, Playstation VR and PC VR set the tone. Starting in 2019, standalone VR began to take hold with Oculus Quest, and Valve Index (2019) and Half-Life: Alyx (2020) did little to change that.

Currently, Meta Quest stands out as the most prominent virtual reality platform that developers cannot overlook if they intend to sustain their VR applications. The case of Low-Fi exemplifies the significant transformations within the VR industry. Merely focusing on PC VR and Playstation VR 2 development often fails to generate profit. Consequently, if one is unable or unwilling to compromise the visual quality of their VR game, alternative revenue streams must be explored. The creators of Low-Fi recognize this potential and explore a hybrid version of the game.

If you have an interest in Low-Fi, you can include it in your Steam and Playstation Store wish lists.

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