If you’re waiting for Fortnite in VR, don’t hold your breath: Epic Games “has no plans” to build it, CEO Tim Sweeney tells The Verge in our new interview. The reason? Sweeney just doesn’t think it’d work well. “The thing that we do in Fortnite every day as gamers is run through an environment rapidly, and it’s the kind of experience that involves intense motion and doesn’t work as well in VR,” he says.
Sweeney also says Epic would be happy to collaborate with a company like Meta on other metaverse projects, though it seems likely that Mark Zuckerberg would disagree about a Fortnite-like game not being suitable for virtual reality. Last year, Meta acquired the developers of Population: One, a game for Oculus that involves a lot of running, shooting, building structures, and general parkour. And while there are definitely reviews of the game that note the need for a strong stomach (along with its similarity to Fortnite), people seem to enjoy it overall. The game’s even getting a creative mode, making it even more like Fortnite, and which could also wind up adding to the disorientation.
It’s not getting easier to get into VR.
Still, it’s understandable why Epic itself wouldn’t want to step out on that limb itself for, let’s be honest, relatively little benefit. VR isn’t exactly widely adopted yet, and it doesn’t seem like the cost will be coming down anytime soon — Meta just bumped the price of its Quest 2, the most popular headset out there, by $100 (shortly before releasing the $1,500 Quest Pro). Sony’s PlayStation VR2 for the PS5 will cost more than the console itself.
Be sure to check out my colleague Alex Heath’s full interview with Sweeney, which covers Epic’s fights with Apple and Google, legislation around app stores, and more.