Virtual reality is readying itself for a major launch onto the gaming scene in 2016, and it isn’t just doing so with one platform, but with several. Devices like Oculus, Vive and PS VR make this latest VR push seem like the one that could carry the industry forward.
Having so many different platforms for developers to bring gaming experiences to will provide a healthy type of environment, compared to if just one piece of hardware was launching. With other platforms on the market, VR now seems more similar to a console-type space than it does a PS Move-type space.
When you look at the PS VR, Sony certainly is taking a mindset that they took with the PS4 in the sense that it is a platform. Richard Marks, who is the director of PlayStation Magic Lab, spoke about PS VR and the benefit developers will gain from the fact that there are multiple VR platforms on the market today.
“First of all, this one is less like a peripheral and more like a platform of its own. You pretty much have to make the content to match it, so it is a really different experience because the content is made for it. So, it’s like a new platform. The other thing is that, in a lot of the cases of peripherals, either they’re tied to one game or they’re tied to one company and they aren’t really compatible with anything else, so you have one company trying to get a bunch of content made for this one device and that’s asking quite a bit of a game developer for that to happen.
“We’ve tried, and in some cases have been successful, in some cases not. Kinect or the Wii Fit board, you could argue whether those were successful or not. They have some level of success. But in this case, there are multiple platforms for VR that are occurring simultaneously, so a content developer can make things and potentially see it go across multiple platforms, and that helps them out a lot. It helps them be able to make it economically viable to make a game for it,” Marks told GameInformer.
Again, the fact that PS VR is launching alongside several other VR devices makes the efforts Sony is pouring into it more justified. It’s like a peripheral because unlike PS Move, PS VR has competitors that will receive some of the same games. Exclusives will be a important part of PS VR’s success, just like they are for the PS4’s.
It’ll be interesting to see how the VR space evolves and whether or not it can truly create a new arm of the gaming industry. PS VR will release sometime during 2016, though we have yet to receive exact pricing and release date details. Expect those to surface either at GDC 2016 and/or E3 2016.