PlayStation VR May Be First Mainstream Virtual Reality System
The PlayStation VR isn’t the first to market, but the company is confident that they’re going to be the best option for consumers once released in October 2016.
It could potentially be the first VR headset to actually reach the mass consumers. Sony has a lot of expertise in launching consoles and there are currently tens of millions of people who own PS4. So clearly, Sony/PlayStation has some advantages over their competition (mainly the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive).
Richard Marks, head of PlayStation Magic Lab, said, “We’ve done hardware before, lots of hardware, and we have a very good track record of knowing how to bring products to market.”
Oculus Rift has experienced delays in shipping and the HTC Vive is an example of how hard it really is to release a new product for virtual reality. Starting in October until the end of 2016, Marks predicts that 50 PlayStation VR games will be available as well as several more that will be in development.
There are many developers helping to create games for PlayStation VR. Some of those companies include 2K Games, Ubisoft, Sega, Capcom and Square Enix among several other developers.
Marks arguably has the best position at Sony as he continues to lead the way in new hardware development. He was also the man behind the creation of PlayStation Move, which is a controller that was released in 2010 made for the PlayStation 3. The Move experienced some success when initially released as an accessory for PlayStation 3, but it could one day more so be known for helping to inspire the creation of the PlayStation VR.
PlayStation Move was utilized as an improvised tracking device by multiple Sony teams throughout the world. People were putting the Move on their head and then connecting it to a display to have a basic VR system. Not long after, the first prototypes were created. Project Morpheus was the name of the project and it became official when Kazuo Miura (the head of global research and development) and Shubei Yoshia (the president of Worldwide Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment) gave it the green light.
Project Morpheus was announced in 2015 and was later named PlayStation VR that tagged along a price of $399 with a launch date set for October 2016. The headset includes most of the features you would think a VR headset should have in 2016. The screen is 5.7 inches, 1080 p display and the field view is 100 degrees. It can reach a refresh rate of 120 frames per second. The resolution and the field of view are a bit lower than what the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are able to do, however the PlayStation VR has a quicker refresh rate than both the Vive and the Rift.
Marks said that pixels aren’t all created equally as he noted that PlayStation VR has sub pixel rending capabilities as well as a slew of additional features. However, it really comes down to the point that the entire team at Sony is excited and happy about the resolution and image quality that the PlayStation VR produces.
The PS4 is able to create a very impressive VR experience due to the way the PlayStation was developed, even though it’s technically not as powerful as the computer that’s needed for virtual reality. Each computer possesses different components that affect the game. Mark said, “We know everything about the console. We know every cycle of how it spends its time, so we can make things really targeted in real time.”
The VR headsets rests on your forehead rather than it being more like goggles which are represented in the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.
Sony understands that software isn’t the only key to success as they need a lot of great content. That’s why they’re working with lots of developers. Marks said, “Gaming has kind of become mature. There’s still a lot of indie energy, but not in the same way on the technical side of things. Now, with VR on the market, it gives those guys a chance to be creative on the technical side.”
PlayStation VR also has a second screen experience that enables individuals to interact with the VR user by utilizing the DualShock 4 controller and then following the instructions on the TV. “Playroom VR” is a set of fun short games that show how anyone can enjoy the VR experience. Marks said, “It’s something very unique to us because the console sits in the family room or living room.”
It’s also interesting that the Vive needs to be successful for HTC and the Rift needs to be successful for Oculus. However, for Sony, the PlayStation VR doesn’t need to be successful as the company is already doing extremely well with their PS4 and many other products. There’s clearly a chance though that the PlayStation VR will be a big success.