Now, I wasn’t preaching about puking, nor did meetings rev me up. I closed my eyes and envisioned playing golf in VR. With the latest developments in hand-tracking on the Oculus Quest, it feels like now’s the right time to come up with a great VR take on golf.
Yes, I realize golf courses are opening up again around the country. In many ways, the sport is ideal for social distancing. It’s easy to stand 6 feet away from everyone, and if you’re walking instead of riding a cart, wearing a mask shouldn’t make it hard to breathe.
But I bet a bunch of golfers feel as I do – I’m staying home until we hit Stage 4 of pandemic containment. And even if I were out on the links, it’d be nice to have a VR golf app that could help me maintain my swing or use analytics to give me more info on how I play.
I talked Tuesday with Top Golf media president YuChiang Cheng about how his company, which runs physical entertainment facilities and the World Golf Tour video game, is handling the pandemic. WGT has done esports events with pro golfers from both men’s and women’s tours to help replace the loss of live sports, and it’s beginning to open up facilities where it’s safe to do so.
I wondered what he thought about golf in VR, considering the Oculus Quest’s improved hand-tracking.
“I think it’s just getting to a place. I think it’s going to happen. But right now, the mass audience really is more about the Top Golf experience and minigolf right now, just because it’s more of a casual orientation,” he said. “The technology obviously, and we could make it. But I think we’re just ready for kind of biding our time for consumer adoption to increase a bit more.”
In the meantime, I’ll just keep swinging my sticks in the garage until this pandemic passes. Or we get a good VR re-creation of golf.
–Jason Wilson, GamesBeat managing editor