The Struggles of VR Gaming: A Quest User’s Journal
It seems like every time I attempt to get my friends to join me in VR gaming, the experience ends up being more frustrating than enjoyable. The introduction of the Quest was meant to simplify the VR experience, but instead, it has brought about a series of usability issues that deter people from returning to it. While I love playing VR games with my friends, there is always a part of me that dreads it. I constantly find myself promising my friends a fun experience, only to have to guide them through a multitude of frustrating problems before we can actually begin playing. This has become such a significant issue that I only invite my friends to play the most visually appealing VR games, as the struggle must be offset by an exceptional experience.
Just recently, I decided to try out the newly released game, “Dungeons of Eternity,” and I believed it was enticing enough to convince my friends to give it a shot. However, that familiar feeling of dread returned. I knew I needed to document the entire experience, as it would likely be filled with challenges, showcasing the struggles faced by real Quest users on a daily basis.
Experienced Gamers, New Challenges
Let me set the stage for you. I asked two of my close friends to join me in playing the game. Both of them are lifelong gamers with a strong passion for gaming. They own multiple consoles, have built their own PCs, and regularly play the latest non-VR games. Friend 1 had previously owned various PC VR headsets before getting the Quest 2, while Friend 2 received the Quest 2 as their first VR headset. Although they had both owned their Quest 2 for over a year, they hadn’t used them in the past six months. Little did they know what they were about to encounter.
A Journey Led by an Expert
I must highlight the fact that I am an experienced VR user who possesses extensive knowledge of Quest headsets and their software. Therefore, I anticipated the struggles my friends would face and offered to guide them through the setup process. With my assistance, they were able to bypass the need to search for solutions online. However, it’s crucial to note that the experience you are about to read is the absolute best-case scenario, accompanied by expert guidance, and it was still an arduous journey.
I was aware that their headsets would require charging, updates, and new controller batteries, as they hadn’t used them in a while. I specifically instructed them to complete these tasks before our planned gaming session. I knew that if they realized their headsets needed updates, it would delay our gaming session by at least 15 minutes. In an effort to make the process as seamless as possible, I had Friend 1 join me in a voice chat. Here is a breakdown of our journey:
- Issue 1: Controllers and hand tracking not working
- Fix 1: Guided Friend 1 through using the ‘cursor’ and ‘up volume’ button as a mouse click. Informed him to enable hand tracking in the Settings (which was not immediately clear).
- Issue 2: Difficulty locating the Settings menu
- Fix 2: Directed Friend 1 to “click on the clock” and access the Settings at the top right. Noted that the Settings button lacked a visual indication that it was clickable.
- Issue 3: Unable to find the hand tracking option
- Fix 3: Friend 1 explored multiple settings sections until locating the hand tracking option.
- Fix 4: With hand tracking enabled, guided Friend 1 to the Software Update section in Settings and instructed him to select the ‘check for update’ button.
- Issue 4: Controllers still not working
- Fix 5: Walked Friend 1 through the process of holding two buttons on the controller to make the power LED flash. Directed him to the location of the LED on the upper ring of the controller.
- Conclusion: Discovered that the batteries were not charged, prompting Friend 1 to replace them.
Now that his headset was updated and the controllers were functioning properly, Friend 1 needed to install the game. Although he had already purchased it online, he couldn’t locate it in his headset.
- Issue 5: Difficulty finding the game in the headset
- Fix 6: Advised Friend 1 to use the Store search, find the game, and click the install button.
While we were troubleshooting these issues, Friend 1 asked me about the multiplayer experience in “Dungeons of Eternity.” Admittedly, I hadn’t tried playing multiplayer yet, so I couldn’t provide a definitive answer. Drawing from his past VR experiences, he assumed that the multiplayer functionality likely had its own set of challenges.
Finally, the game was installed and ready to play. Or so we thought.
Although we had managed to overcome the initial hurdles and install the game, our struggles were far from over. These difficulties affected both Friend 1 and myself. Luckily, I had initiated a party call within the headset, ensuring constant communication between all of us in case any further issues arose. Without this party call, we would have been relegated to communicating through text or phone, which would have made resolving the following complications significantly more challenging.
When I initially sent the party call invitation to both friends, Friend 2 joined, and I could hear him for a brief moment before I was unexpectedly disconnected from the call. Friend 1 claimed he never received a notification to join the call in the first place. I terminated the call and attempted to start a new one. This time, Friend 2 successfully joined, and we managed to stay connected. However, Friend 2 still did not receive a notification about the call. I guided Friend 2 through locating the headset’s notification section, allowing them to eventually join the party call.
Now that we were all connected and communicating, the next obstacle was getting my friends into the game with me. I accessed the Quest menu and navigated to the party call, where I had the option to bring the party to the game lobby. Clicking the button initiated a pop-up for both friends, asking if they wanted to travel to the game.
Excitedly, I thought, “Finally, something is working!”
Of course, that was not the case. Although all three of us loaded into the game, we were not connected in a lobby. At the very least, we were all in the game, so…
After enduring the series of challenges faced by VR users, it becomes evident that there are significant improvements needed to enhance the overall user experience. While VR gaming offers incredible potential for fun and immersion, the roadblocks encountered along the way can be discouraging.
It is crucial for developers and manufacturers to address these issues and streamline the VR experience. By prioritizing usability, seamless multiplayer functionality, and clear instructions, VR gaming can become more accessible and enjoyable for both new and experienced users.
For more news and information about the latest VR games, visit VR Game News.