You can’t build a skyscraper without first laying down the foundations.
In news that I am sure will shock a lot of people, a Sony executive has taken to talking up a Sony product. Though to be fair, what he has said is also correct.
The product in question is the PlayStation VR, and the Sony executive is Shawn Layden, the head of Sony Worldwide Studios. Speaking to Game Informer, Layden talked about VR as a burgeoning medium for now, noting that it is currently in a very early stage, and what it evolves into may be nothing like what it is right now. However, he said that PlayStation VR, as the biggest VR platform in the world, is well positioned to ride this wave, and via it, so is Sony.
“The problem is nowadays, people’s expectations and spans are so short,” Layden said. “Now it’s, ‘Oh! PSVR, that’s great! When is it going to be this size?’ I try to put into context for people and I say, ‘Remember that funny Nokia phone that had that ringtone that we all had back in the day? You can’t look at that Nokia phone and look at your smartphone and see how you got to there.’ By the same token, you look at PSVR right now, none of us are going to be able to imagine what it will look like 10 years from now, but the change will be that dramatic. You can’t get to 5.0 until you do 1.0. It’s just the nature of the thing.
“We’re working with PSVR and trying to get people to understand that, we wanted to make the easiest-to-adopt VR kit. If you have a PS4, you’re in. You just need the headset. Super comfortable. Easy to put on, easy to take off. Maybe we could have reduced some of the wires a bit. I will say that.
“Working through the software cycle that supports that, as with any new technology you have your first generation of games that look like just the last generation of games, but a little bit better. We talked about PS1 being 3D gaming, but there were a lot of 2D, or 2.5D games in the first generation of PlayStation because the whole idea of creating a 3D game back then was, how do I get my head around that? So for the first generation of PSVR content looks like it could have been up on that screen and we put it in a wrap-around headset. That’s the nature of it. The developers are getting their head around it. What does this mean? How does this work? Let’s get a game, as we understand it, running in this technology, and then let’s see where we go from there. I think the evolutionary cycle that I like to point to is Astro Bot. Astro Bot cannot really be played on a TV. It has to be played in VR, and that was one of our first steps. When we start getting content that can only be realized in VR, then we know we are on to something. I think we’re the biggest VR platform in the world. We’ve learned a lot from that experience.”
Layden is right, to be fair. VR is in very early days right now, and we have only just started to see sales pick up for the medium, as well as see some meaningful games made for the format. Sony does have a head start with PlayStation VR over most other big players in the industry, too. For instance, if rumors are true, and Nintendo plans to put out a Switch VR by the end of this year, then Sony will have had a three year head start, as well as all the accrued experience that comes with it, over them.