PS4 Boss Says Virtual Reality Can Be "Next Frontier" For Games

Sony Computer Entertainment CEO says company's new Project Morpheus headset is "definitely more than a experiment."

Sony has high hopes for the future of virtual reality in games. In a new interview, Sony Computer Entertainment CEO Andrew House said the company has made a "significant" investment in PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset Project Morpheus, and suggested that virtual reality overall could the be the "next frontier" for games.

"It's definitely more than an experiment," House told The Guardian about Project Morpheus. "We've made some commitments; we're putting significant investment into the product."

One of the reasons House is so enthusiastic about the future of virtual reality for games is because he says the technology will mature to such a point where when you're wearing a virtual reality headset, you truly feel transported to another world.

"We do now think that we can get to this point of delivering a magical sense of presence--where your brain tricks you into thinking you're actually in this place" -- Andrew House on virtual reality

"We do now think that we can get to this point of delivering a magical sense of presence--where your brain tricks you into thinking you're actually in this place," House said. "We think there's something there that could be really, really interesting for a next frontier of game development."

Virtual reality has proven popular with the hardcore gaming crowd, but some--including the CEO of Grand Theft Auto parent company Take-Two Interactive--have questioned the technology's mainstream appeal. Asked if Project Morpheus had mass market potential, House said he wasn't sure.

"I don't know, but I think that at the very least it's going to be another really interesting advance for the PS4 ecosystem and another way to deliver brand new experiences," he said. "That's what we're all about."

For virtual reality to thrive in the way that some have suggested that it will, there also needs to be strong support from developers. House said after he saw game creators latch on to the Oculus Rift headset, he was convinced that Sony could do the same with Project Morpheus.

"With Oculus we saw this groundswell of game development that didn't necessarily have a monetizable or a business option, but [developers were] so passionate about this space that they were doing this essentially in their spare time," House said. "It struck that me that if there's a variety of game developers showing interest in this space then it's probably time to jump in and see if we can play a part and give them the tools they're looking for."

Oculus VR's own games boss, industry veteran Jason Rubin, says it will probably be a few years until we see virtual reality's killer app.

Though both Sony and Oculus are optimistic about the future for virtual reality, its impact on gaming remains to be seen. Both Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift are still in-development products, and there is no word yet on when either headset will be available publicly or what they will cost when released.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

Discussion

246 comments
beesweetsting
beesweetsting

It is possible to create virtual reality ,the only problem its the interaction between the machine and the brain ,I'm just hoping that it will be well executed. I have been waiting for such ,we are getting closer and I'm happy about it.

Conjuration
Conjuration

Careful Sony. Remember 3D? Ya...this has the same smell to it.

Leefx
Leefx

They just need to make sure that this time the headset will fit our western faces, I purchased the HMZ and it was an awesome bit of kit (especially the kylie in concert in 3d demo hehe) but there was a massive problem, I couldn't wear it for more than half an hour before I felt like some guy with boots on was standing on my face, the eye adjuster only just about went wide enough for my eyes so the focus wasn't 100% and there was a little ghosting because of it, and the recess for the bridge of your nose was no where near deep enough, so basically I think that only Japanese people could wear it comfortably, or maybe not I don't know?  All I do know is that if it doesn't wear comfortably and you can only bear to have it on for half an hour if that then it is going be a no no for me, sort this out however, then you can sign me up!

markranger
markranger

This is smart, even if it fails. The Virtual Boy was a failure, but not really. It ended up being r and d for the 3DS, which currently rules the world. Nintendo did not give up on the idea and it paid off. A failure today may set the stage for domination in the future as long as risk and negative outcomes are prepared for and contained. For a gaming company to survive, they need to ask: What if our new product fails? How can we survive the lean times?

Morpheus will only really fail if Sony forces people to buy it, or they otherwise marginalize PS4 owners. I think there could be some interesting experiences, but this tech. is just in its infancy. But, Sony is smart to do this--to prepare for the future. It is very possible that we will not be gaming off of monitors or screens 25-30 years from now. The time may come when a child sees an 4KTV in a history museum and wonders how people were able to survive with such primitive tech. PS5 and 6 may be 4K, PS7 may be screen less. We could move on to a post-pixel era. Kodak went from number one to nothing in just a few years. Sony is smart to prepare for and possibly shape the future instead of trying to adjust after it is too late. Also unlike the VB, this is not a stand-alone system. Anything other than really low sales numbers would be a surprise. Just the very image of VR, will make Sony seem cutting-edge and cool, even if not many people buy it.

hystavito
hystavito

"Asked if Project Morpheus had mass market potential, House said he wasn't sure.

"I don't know, but I think that at the very least it's going to be another really interesting advance for the PS4 ecosystem...

"


I like to hear that kind of response, not just saying it's the next big thing for everyone, it's going to be like smartphones, etc.  Maybe Sony is really only targetting PS4 for it's VR, but still it's a far more restrained and realistic answer.

world4games
world4games

Where's shi1tbot VR? Or wait no power...

underxgames
underxgames

It's either going to be awesome, or someone is going to DIE :-O

virtuasega
virtuasega

When will game companies learn we dont want crap like this, the wii and its gimmick controls were a fluke and nint endo has found that out with the wii u. Sony is dominating right now, they shouldnt be wasting time nor money on throw away gimmicks like this.

Darth_Starwind
Darth_Starwind

A big problem I see with VR headsets is motion sickness. Your eyes are going to be registering that your are moving but your inner ear will be telling your brain that your are stationary. I've read several articles by people who have tried Oculus' prototype and felt sick after awhile. Anyone who gets car sick or air sick easily will probably have a hard time using VR headsets.

abcdefgabcdefgz
abcdefgabcdefgz

How many articles can we talk about a product that as of now its just a prototype. Its not even out yet with no release date yet its been talked about for years. What else can be said until it comes out

Baconelite
Baconelite

I think VR will only be great with certain games. I believe games like racing games will be great because when you're in a car IRL you are also stationary in a chair. Personally I can't wait to try the Oculus Rift with Star Citizen in a couple of years. I think it will be a mind-blowing experience.

jordycruz
jordycruz

I wish some one would make headsets like the ones in SAO and SAO II that let u control everything in the game with your mind and be able to feel things etc. But without the brainmelting and heart stopping..... XD, O and games to go with it, I would totally buy it if someone actually made it and sold it.

guitargladiator
guitargladiator

the percentage of games that would actually benefit from vr is not enough to make me want one especially if it will cost several hundred dollars for something i might get bored of after the first few times. the only games i could see myself trying are elder scrolls and racing games and without more $$$ for an omni treadmill and motion controllers, the immersion is only partway there anyway

Darknight765
Darknight765

Until I control the game with out the controller the headset will just be a monitor strapped to my head.

Born_Lucky
Born_Lucky

I remember about 5 years ago when everyone was saying . . . 


"3D gaming is the next big thing. Everyone will be gaming in 3D , five years from now".


Heh  . . . .  yeah.


Fools . .  they make me laugh.

Gadeos
Gadeos

I imagine playing FPS and specially horror games... and shitting in my pants. The only thing is the motion sickness issue that several people are talking about. If 3D by itself gets you tired after a while (at least that's my case), then VR could do something like that. I remember playing Virtual Boy (I was stupid enough to buy that) and at first it was difficult to play for more than an hour, but after getting used to it I could be stucked to the device for several hours. OK, that console doesn't even compare to P-Morpheus or Oculus,but I do believe it's just a matter of getting used to the VR feeling: at first it'll be hard but eventually for most players it should easy to play for several hours. Also, developers will surely issue warnings on the matter as for how long should you play on VR and what health conditions should be taken into account

Barighm
Barighm

They were talking up 3D too. Well, if this can work without causing any kind of eye strain or dizziness than I don't see why not.

neowarrior793
neowarrior793

ok now in all honesty this is a good idea (VR in general) people play games primarily to get away from reality, making a device that literally does that to a good enough extent should mean money. it all comes down to cost, if it really takes you into another world (figuratively/mentally) and has no adhes effects (like motion sickness). if they tick these boxes im sure it will sell.

PlatinumPaladin
PlatinumPaladin

"Asked if Project Morpheus had mass market potential, House said he wasn't sure."

This is why I like Sony. They make decisions based on what they believe will yield the best experience, not what will necessarily make them money quickly.

Personally, I'm not sure where I stand with regards if I'm interested in it or not. Price will be the most significant factor.

Johny_47
Johny_47

It needs Smell 'O Vision and maybe Taste 'O Vision to back it up hahaha =)


Definitely needs Smell 'O Vision.

alphawolf-j
alphawolf-j

Of Course it will be , but if Sony dont change their close minded attitude they won't be a part of it.


Still there is no proper way for indie developers to develop games for the PS4 on PC  using Unity or unreal engine 4 without jumping over all the financial hurdles sony place in the way to prevent them from doing so  

Even to date their is still No PS MOVE support on the PC which i would have thought would have really helped push the format especially since oculus games could be developed with it in mind and then transferred to the PS4.


Sonys idea of move support was move.me wich has zero documentation ,required you to have an account, and pay £100 plus use it through your ps3 , And they wonder why NOBODY has done anythiong good with it on PC like kinect on PC!.


As a dev who would really like to use my PS Move sharpshooter with my oculus devkit 2 I hope sony Don't think I will be porting my content to there platform if they dont open it up, same goes for morpheus 


TheJamin
TheJamin

PS4 can just about cope with 60fps. How is this going to cope with 60fps per eye? Is this the same tech as 3d vision and oculus? Is the headset low res to compensate for frame rate? Need some answers! it sounds like its going to be used for Start the party 2 or something...

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

I'll be buying a VR set (whichever comes out first) just to play driving games.  I've got a three screen setup already, but that doesn't fly for the XboxOne/PS4 since I don't want to go and buy 2 more of each etc.


Seeing around corners is a HUGE improvement on the experience.  Not being able to see the wheel might be confusing at first, but should be a short learning curve.

EasyComeEasyGo
EasyComeEasyGo

Slow day it seems. Oh well time to go play Skullgirls again. I'll be back tomorrow. (Logs-off)

homelessgamer
homelessgamer

Imagine playing Minecraft in VR, that Would be awesome.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@virtuasega  You're going to eat those words AND you're going to enjoy doing it!

housemizzrym
housemizzrym

@Darth_Starwind  This is true and I have had that issue myself with military training using VR. Even if you don't get car sick you can still get motion sickness from VR headsets. Personally I'm not interested in using VR to play games but I'm sure there are plenty of people that will want it.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@Darth_Starwind  The first Rift prototype had bad problems with that but increasing the frame rate and making the head movement lag a lot smaller helped out quite a bit.  However, they can still cause motion sickness when movement is really extreme.  Some games today have movement speeds which are pretty ridiculous when compared to real life.  Those can cause trouble just as people would have trouble with motion sickness if they were to do those things in real life.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@Baconelite  That's definitely true.  Virtual Reality for Civilization would be silly, for instance.  Something that involves lots of typing could be hard, too, if you aren't a touch typer.

xantufrog
xantufrog

@guitargladiator flight sims, space sims, racing games, looking around the battlefield in strategy games, puzzle games... I think it has cool uses in almost all genres. You don't have to be dancing around the room like a goon for the headset to add something to the experience. You can still be sitting down and playing an FPS, with your controller aiming your gun/torso and you are able to look around. That's how our bodies actually work, anyway, we can't turn 360 degrees with our heads. Our bodies turn and our heads just look around in the direction we are facing.


Trust me, it's very immersive without even walking around

neowarrior793
neowarrior793

@guitargladiator dude playing horror games man thats more then worth it, imagine playing slender man or amnesia games. no human on this planet would be able to stop themselves from soiling themselves. 

neowarrior793
neowarrior793

@Born_Lucky now don't get me wrong people don't buy the 3ds for its 3ds feature but that doesn't mean its not a feature that should be written off and considering theres more 3ds's then most other consoles while still raising, that statement about 5 years has some truth to it. 

Zloth2
Zloth2

@tableofjapan  That's a REALLY extreme reaction!  You might want to mention it to the eye doctor next time you have a checkup.

streamline
streamline

I wonder if Dramamine will help people until they get their VR legs.

streamline
streamline

Also great for the sale of VR bluray movies. Sony has a very big stake when you add that in and I bet they are looking at that to justify the amount of investment into Morpheus. What I worry about is the PS4's processing power as the limiter. This might have to make Morpheus more expensive in order to handle the additional processing requirements.

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

@jake198624 Uh... what?


1) Lighter headsets have made this a much MUCH smaller issue

2) Power cables FTW... no batteries needed.

3) You get used to it and can take the headset off quickly anyways

4) Comparing the virtual boy to today's tech is kind of hilarious and silly

5) Such things already exist and those prone to seizures (not sure why you mention strokes) are already aware of the warnings

6) Surround sound is easy these days. It's practically just a plug-in. Existing surround sound setups will work, all they need to do is let the user choose if it's head mounted or not and they're good to go.

7) Again.. power cables.. why bother with batteries?

Pewbert
Pewbert

@homelessgamer Notch threw a hissy fit about the Facebook takeover and put an end to that. Would have been awesome though!

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

@jake198624 Wow.. great debate skills you got there.