Prior to yesterday’s Sony media briefing there was suggestion we’d see a greater focus on the forthcoming Project Morpheus Virtual Reality (VR) head mounted device which aims to release on PS4 next year and considering E3 has the eyes and ears of the industry and mainstream media upon it. However, the reality came as quite a surprise when only 2 minutes of the almost two hour media event was spent talking about VR and its implementation or showing games. We had a brief glimpse of one e-sports multiplayer style game Rigs and a number of video imagery in the background. Andrew House also talked about the local multiplayer aspect of VR where friends could sit around a single user in VR and play together but that was about it before moving on to Playstation Music with Spotify.
GAMES SHOWN INDIRECTLY DURING PRESENTATION:
It’s clear from House’s words that the ethos behind Morpheus is one of choice for gamers rather than a must have extra – which in itself has raised fears over the cost of the headset when it releases and what kind of support it will receive. If we look at the history of extra peripherals with consoles when not initially bundled, the adoption rates and support can wane quite rapidly. If we also remember how Sony touted its 3D gaming monitor with the PS3 and how that hasn’t migrated to the PS4 with 3D enabled games and it’s a possible cause for concern that Sony in offering choice isn’t always as committed in pushing the hardware as it appears to be. With no further details being mentioned regarding updated specs, pricing, the exact number of games in development or a VR interface for PS4 it seems to us that Sony isn’t quite ready to present Morpheus fully despite there being VR experiences for attendees of E3 to try out as we speak. What is worrying in the face of reassurances from Sony that VR is something that will be well supported is how little was shown although we do appreciate that it’s extremely difficult to present VR to audiences without them trying on the actual headsets. In comparison though, Microsoft managed four and half minutes of time showing off its Hololens with some fancy camera trickery. That said, we believe a lack of games line-up or even a montage video showing the games in development means it’s too early for Morpheus unless Sony are planning a more specialized showcase between now and before it launches.
In a nutshell, it’s going to be hard sell to get those who aren’t fans of VR or who don’t have the disposable income to buy a possible $200+ additional peripheral (and then the cost of VR games on top of this). Not everyone is at E3 and will be able to try before making up their minds as to whether VR is for them. More importantly, without a killer AAA name associated with Morpheus (interestingly Microsoft are using Minecraft to showcase its Hololens), the future – whilst exciting for those who “get it” – isn’t as rosy looking as it could be or we’d have hoped at this stage. We’re betting now that Morpheus much like its 3D monitor counterpart last gen, will be relegated to “enthusiast” level appeal rather than the mainstream marketing it perhaps deserves.