Virtual Reality technology has been on the tip of peoples tongues for a while now. With the Oculus Rift causing as much as a stir as it has, there is obviously excitement around the gaming world for this type of entertainment. Having managed to have a go with the Rift myself, I have also shared in the enjoyment of VR, even if a lower quality version made my stomach turn a tad.
It is now, as some would say in the height of VR’s presence in the spotlight where Sony shows us a glimpse of what the sharp cookies over in their lab have been cooking up, with the announcement of Project Morpheus. Now anything that is called Morpheus is ok in my books, I mean, we in the games industry have heard some random code names for projects so a reminder of the Matrix is fine with me. Actually, thinking about it now, the whole VR thing is a way to see a fake reality, so maybe there is a bigger matrix link than I thought!
Now Sony have been big this generation to experiment with exciting tech, take the PS4 controller for example. With the also growing fan base of Oculus Rift, they may be smart to get into this space as well. Unlike the Rift however, Sony in my eyes may be able to get themselves out in front a little sooner than their competitors if they play things right, even though they were not first out the door.
First of all, the thing just looks really cool! Now don’t get me wrong, the Rift looks cool too, but come on. The rounded edges, the funky lights combine to make something that you want to have on your head, and above all, looks like it came from the future. The even cooler thing is, those lights are not just for show either. They will apparently work with the Playstation camera much like the controller to track head movement. Now beyond the fact that I really want something to use my camera with, this could provide a level of entertainment that the Rift cannot. Having experience the motion controls for the PS4, I am a big fan of more engaged hardware (The spray cans on inFAMOUS… OMG!).
But perhaps the biggest advantage in my mind is the huge back-catalog of Sony games that could be utilised. Unlike the Oculus, Morpheus will be able to access a wide range of IP’s that Sony directly own instead of relying on others to include support. This could mean that while the Rift has a cult following, Sony could bring real value to great first party experiences a lot quicker, something that impatient gamers desperately need. Just take a look at the demand for a library of games a week after the new consoles launched! If Sony’s headset could launch with tech already built into at least 4 big games (think, inFAMOUS, think Uncharted) then the things will fly off the shelves. What this means for gamers is a change to the way they can play their games. Having had a go with the Rift I can say that it changed my perception of a game. I have played Half Life 2 before on the PC but with the Rift on it game me an entirely new look at the game. NPCs now feel like they are actually that same height as you and let me tell you that fighting head craps on their level is a lot more scary than the norm, and that’s saying something! Getting this perspective is something that the VR field in general is going to help provide this perspective, something which we haven’t realised we have been missing.
So bring on Virtual Reality and all the benefits that it can bring. Even new technologies such as the eye motion tracker thing that Sony has also announced, Bring it all on! Just remember industry, that whatever you bring out better be at a good price and come with some good content that we can drive right into. The gamers have spoken in this generation and we won’t take any crap.