It's unbelievable to think that whenever we've experience virtual reality gaming in the past that it's never really occurred to us that driving games would be superbly suited to the medium. But our brief one lap race on a tech demo version of DriveClub for the PlayStation VR was a real eureka moment.
Whether you like DriveClub in its existing 2D form or not, it becomes a very different beast through a PlayStation VR headset.
We played it while sat in racing seat and behind a decent steering wheel and pedals accessory, but a lot of the experience would have been as fun even with a DualShock 4. Certainly, the instinctive things we found ourselves doing would have been the same.
Anyone who’s befriended us on PS4 or Xbox One and have raced against us at any driving game will know that we are want to barge our way through other cars in a dash for superiority. However, when playing with the headset on, we started to be much more respectful to the vehicles around us.
The opponents seemed much more tangible and therefore realistic, so when they slowed down to take a corner, rather than using them as a steering barrier we actually slowed down with them, attempting to avoid contact.
Another strange, more real-world driving effect the VR experience had on us helped us corner much more effectively. When any driver is about to take a corner in a real car, they will look towards the direction they are about to travel – something not feasible in a conventional racing game.
We did so all the time, which also allowed other instincts to kick in. We hit the brakes much sooner when approaching a corner, and accelerated much more quickly when exiting. Basically, we became better racing drivers.
The DriveClub demo was almost over as soon as it started to be honest, but it was enough of a taste to realise that this is one of the primary reasons we’ll likely be flag-bearers for the VR revolution. And it won’t be the only driving game on the block neither – Gran Turismo Sport has already been announced as coming with PlayStation VR support next year.
In fact, we think the technology works so well with the genre that racing teams could choose to adopt it for their professional simulators too. And if that’s the case, where can we sign up?