This year will herald a new era in gaming, as virtual reality headsets go from developers play things to genuine pieces of consumer tech available on shop shelves.
Yes, both the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR might launch with an outrageous starting price, but there will be no shortage of people wanting to get their hands on the kit.
But having had the chance to play around with both headsets in the past few months, there’s still big questions about how worthwhile these products truly are.
During last years E3 we sat down with Battlezone, The Playroom, Kitchen, The London Heist and Eve Valkrie.
All were enjoyable, but none blew us away to the point that we’d want to line up and grab a headset the second it goes on sale.
Equally in much the same breath, gaming on the Oculus Rift has proved no different.
Both are great fun and quirky for a period time – but is ‘quirky’ enough to warrant dropping over £300 on either product?
In our view, the future of gaming won’t be decided by virtual reality, it’ll be eye-tracking technology.
Last week Daily Star Online had the chance to sit down to play Tom Clancy’s The Division, aided with a bit of fancy eye-tracking tech made by Tobii, a world leader in this field.
The PC version of the game will include integrated eye tracking functionality when it launches on March 8 and allows players who own compatible sensors like Tobii’s EyeX or the SteelSeries Sentry Eye Tracker to toggle these on and off should they please.
Essentially, it’s a small camera bar costing around £130 (see below).
If we’re honest, we were sceptical about just how influential the tiny piece of kit could be in enhancing our experience with the game.
But having toyed around with the product and everything it has to offer, we’ve been convinced it will have a very big say in the future of gaming.
So how does it work? Boiling it down the clever tech is doing two key things.
Firstly, it’s allowing the computer to understand where you are spending your attention based on where you are looking on the screen.
Secondly, it’s giving you another pointer on the screen. With the key difference being that this pointer isn’t controller with analogue sticks or a mouse, but your infinitely quicker eyes.
Playing The Division there were five key areas where gameplay was significantly improved: selecting cover, hiding on screen UI, tagging enemies, improving our aim and widening our field of view.
This eye-tracking tech might not be as flashy or as ground-breaking as VR, but without question it improved our gaming experience significantly – something VR has yet to truly achieve.
It was intuitive, easy to master and best of all, didn’t require us to strap on a massive headset to enjoy what it had to offer.
However more important than what it can do now, might be what it can do in the future.
Tobii President Oscar Werner told us that feasibly the equipment could be used to allow studios to create games which achieve super crisp 8K Ultra HD, simply by focussing on the area you’re looking at on a screen.
If we’re looking strictly at how gaming might be improved, eye-tracking tech has the edge over VR.
But because of how small this tech can be, it could easily be adapted to fit into a VR headset further down the line.
Although according to Oscar Werner, it’s unlikely we’d see this sort of advancement until the second generation of VR headsets, whenever that might be.
However when that day comes, you’ll find us at the front of the queue, wallet in hand and ready to drop all sorts of cash on the piece of kit.