“PlayStation VR is going to be a great step in the evolution of our industry and the evolution of how people play games.”
VR is the future of gaming. That is a refrain we have heard so many times now that even if it weren’t, it’d probably become a self fulfilling prophecy by sheer force of will at this point. And this also seems to be a stance that most people stick to, even though we have had two major VR launches this year – the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift – that came and went and really didn’t do much.
That is because the best chance that VR has of breaking into the mainstream comes not from either of those, but from the PlayStation VR, which is due to launch in October this year. The PlayStation VR is a relatively high end VR headset that comes at a price of $400 (far less than the $600 that the Oculus demands, or the staggering $800 needed for a Vive), and also runs on a PS4, rather than requiring a high end PC. For these reasons, the general understanding is that if VR is to have a chance of catching on, the PlayStation VR is it.
EA, apparently, believe so too. Speaking at their financial briefing, EA CEO Andrew Wilson mentioned that the PSVR was very important to the future of VR- and therefore, to gaming as a whole.
“Yes, so on PlayStation VR, again, we’re very excited about this,” Wilson said. “I think to your point, given its price point and modality of play, it’s one of the more accessible forms of virtually reality play right now. We’ve got a great experience coming later in the year that I played, and it’s super fun and super exciting.
“I think that part of the reason people play games is to kind of immerse themselves in a fantasy and escape and fulfill these fantasies with their friends. Now, typically, when we design games, we design them on a big screen TV and we have to overcome, as designers, this spatial disconnect between us and the television.
“Of course, virtual reality, we don’t have to overcome that spatial disconnect. So the more that we can introduce people to low-barrier-to-entry virtual reality, I think the faster it’s going to take off as an industry. And so us as a company, we’re looking at how we can invest across all elements of the spectrum, from kind of the mobile element right up to the high-end elements. And PlayStation VR I think is going to be a great step in the evolution of our industry and the evolution of how people play games. And we’re going to continue to invest there.”
To EA’s credit, they seem to be putting their money where their mouth is on this one, and they have announced Star Wars Battlefront for the PlayStation VR, which also happens to be one of the few AAA VR games announced for any VR platform right now.
Will VR actually take off, and will PSVR have much to do with it? We don’t know that, yet. What we do know is that for now, VR seems to be what everyone is pinning their hopes on- and PSVR seems to be what VR itself is pinning its hopes on.