Jesse Schell: VR Needs Its Space Invaders Moment

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Jesse Schell: VR Needs Its Space Invaders Moment
August 3, 2017

People often ask when VR will get its own Halo or Super Mario 64. That’s not what Jesse Schell thinks the technology needs, though. Instead, he’s waiting for VR to get its own Space Invaders.

 

Not literally, of course; Space Invaders is a little dated and there are actually several VR clones for it already. What Schell, known for his time at Walt Disney Imagineering and now heading up Schell Games, means is that VR needs the product that gets others to believe in the platform, much like Space Invaders did for videogames decades ago.

 

“I think, if there’s going to be a breakthrough title — I think VR is looking for its Space Invaders,” Schell told VentureBeat in a recent interview. “It wasn’t until I really started looking at video game history that I understood how important Space Invaders was.”

 

He talked about how Space Invaders not only got arcade owners to believe in the power of gaming but helped fuel the growth of home consoles with just how much attention it drew and a licensing deal with Atari that brought the game into the living room too.

 

“But I feel like that’s where VR is now,” Schell added. “We’re waiting for that Space Invaders moment, that thing that makes people really fall in love with it.”

 

“For that to come, it’s going to need to be cheap. It’s going to need to be on a very accessible platform. It’s going to need to be social. I feel like, probably, something social that crosses over with the PC — and possible mobile and console — is going to be the key.”

 

Schell Games already has a few VR titles to its name, including last year’s I Expect You To Die. It might not be VR’s own Space Invaders, but it’s a lot of fun. Schell didn’t say whether or not his team was building what it thought could be that killer app, but assured that the company is still planning what it’s going to build for VR in 2018. We’re very much looking forward to seeing what that is.

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