Just reading through some comments on Sony’s PS VR across the Internet and it appears there are folks who aren’t convinced and even more worryingly have changed their opinion on the device after the Sony The Playstation Experience 2015 Keynote. One comment we picked out read:
“I was going to buy the Playstation VR but after this not going to any more, its going to be like Playstation Move”.
And another dismissing the games shown as:
Whilst these are just two opinions which don’t take into considering the full picture, the sentiment has perhaps changed for some, going from exciting new tech to a potentially worrying peripheral which might join the relegated ranks of Move, Eye Toy and Microsoft’s Kinect – something we’ll assume Sony will be wanting to avoid like the plague considering the huge investment it has made in VR.
We’re still just as excited as ever for Sony’s PS VR device which launches next year as we’ve been closely following its development since its reveal as Project Morpheus, and like many, just want to dive into the incoming VR storm which begins proper next year when more options hit the market. Whilst there’s going to be some stiff competition for Sony’s PS VR from the likes of the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, we’ve maintained that it’s Sony who are actually doing best at showing working products to the masses; well that was until yesterday. We’ve respected that it’s a hard sell to convey VR to those not able to actually try the headset on themselves and in our own experiences and what has been reiterated by everyone involved in VR development, showing 2D imagery just doesn’t cut it. Yesterday’s Sony Keynote during the Playstation Experience 2015 was filled with plenty of new titles to marvel at, but unfortunately, a tech demo aimed at presenting the device failed to work properly and simply looked dull and uninviting – especially in comparison to how games such as Robinson: The Journey were presented during the Paris Games Week earlier this year. This is a crucial time for getting VR into the hearts and minds of gamers and yet when a stage demonstration fails to work properly or ignite an air of enthusiasm it’s not a good sign. Sony have had plenty of time to present VR to the masses, and so to quickly pull together an uninspired tech demo was perhaps a poor decision.
Further into the Keynote and a number of VR games were showcased including some fresh gameplay, but…many of these highlighted the fact that VR has very high requirements for games that look and play like AAA experiences gamers will be expecting. The recommended minimum specs for playing Frontier Development’s Elite Dangerous in VR on PC were recently released and suggested a minimum GTX 980 GPU (a £350 – £400+ graphics card) and an i7 3770K processor were required to run the game. The PS4 hardware falls behind this spec considering its relatively low price. Ubisoft showcased a new Eagle Flight VR game which if you look at the detail you can clearly see lower texture detail in its art direction. This is deliberate because it’s likely the PS4/PS VR combo would struggle rendering a game with the same level of detail as say Assassin’s Creed Unity or Syndicate in VR. The comparison images show the PS4 version of Assassin’s Creed Unity.
What we are seeing here is a bit of smoke and mirrors though when it comes to presenting VR and perhaps yesterday’s showing was a more realistic look at what some VR games will look like with The Modern Zombie Taxi Co. and 100 FT Robot Golf. We’ve always maintained imagery in 2D isn’t always indicative of what games will look like in VR. This is an inherent issue for all VR platforms where sharp 2D images aren’t necessarily replicated in VR due to the early tech that’s being used (until we get 4K or higher displays). Sony did a good job of presenting new products but the most interesting and detailed looking, Golem and Ace Combat 7 were presented using CGI trailers much like Robinson: The Journey during the Paris Games Week presentation.
So, a flood of indie looking titles, no show stopping moments aside from a negative tech demo and those that might be interested in a new REZ game, people’s perceptions may have changed because to date, there’s been few games that have been presented as “must have VR experiences” with only promises (Tekken 7, Gran Tourismo Sport, Psychonauts, Robinson etc) and target renders being used to entice the uniformed.
That said, we think having as wide a number of games available is a good thing, because consumers need choice despite the adage “quality over quantity”, and without actually trying all of these games it’s hard to even comment on how well they might play once experienced in the correct VR environment. Ubisoft’s Eagle Vision game for example might have looked a little lacking for a traditional 2D game, but experience tells us that inside VR, flying across a virtual city could be incredibly impressive.
It’s still early days for VR though, and we can imagine there’s tentative steps in terms of investment being taken by developers and publishers alike on untested waters at present. It would perhaps be unwise to invest a AAA budget on a VR game considering there’s no clear indication of how well it will sell once it hits the market. Even so, there’s already an impressive amount of games in development for PS VR. If anyone is concerned, they would do well to remember that time is very much a big factor in new tech and that teething troubles are expected and not necessarily the death knell. So in light of the Playstation experience 2015 Keynote performance, testimonials and impressions from the show floor will speak far greater volumes and will no doubt convert more to the VR platform than those who are getting cold feet based on a quick look at some of the games in a stage presentation. Sony could have presented PS VR better during its keynote, but technical hitches and indie looking games aside there’s plenty of opportunity for consumers to be enticed by the tech next year, and we’ll reiterate, at least Sony are showing actual products for its PS VR which has to be commended.