Virtual reality technology like the PlayStation 4 headset Project Morpheus is such a radical step forward beyond the way traditional games work that it's "almost unfair," according to PlayStation worldwide studios president Shuhei Yoshida.
"We have something here that we've never experienced before," Yoshida said when asked by The Verge what he thinks the future of VR looks like. "Working on game development, we always try to create a new kind of experience, and having VR technology is almost unfair."
"There are many areas we can improve on to bring it to an even higher level" -- Yoshida said about the current iteration of the Morpheus headset
Developers can rapidly prototype new ideas--and we have seen many compelling examples of unique VR experiences so far--thanks in part to game engines like Unity, Yoshida said.
Also in the interview, Yoshida stressed that Sony does not have only a fleeting interesting in the VR space. "For Sony Computer Entertainment, VR and Morpheus is one of the areas we are very excited about, like cloud gaming with PS Now, or other networked services," he said. "We're really focused on bringing that experience to consumers."
Project Morpheus, and competing headset Oculus Rift, remain in-development products with no word yet on when the final, consumer models will be available. Yoshida said Sony is happy with the current iteration of the headset it has working now, but still has more revisions to make before it's ready for release. "There are many areas we can improve on to bring it to an even higher level," he said.
In addition, before Project Morpheus can come to market, Sony needs to have a full pipeline of software lined up. And this could be particularly challenging, Yoshida said, because making a game for VR and making a game for traditional consoles is quite different.
"Every developer who has started working on VR learns that they have to relearn what they have learned over the years making games," he said. "A lot of tech and new assets can be used again, but the approach has to be pretty different. If the games or apps are designed poorly, it makes people sick, which is a really, really bad thing to have as an introduction."
Further, Yoshida said he envisions VR as more of a medium than peripheral. VR can have as dramatic an effect on the video game industry as 3D graphics cards did when they arrived two decades ago, he said. "The 3D graphics card had a huge impact, but developers are still learning how to use it in games like Grand Theft Auto or The Last Of Us, twenty years after the launch of PS1," he said.
Lastly, Yoshida stressed that Project Morpheus needs to be "affordable" when it's released or it won't ever catch on with a wide audience. Sony has not announced a price point for Project Morpheus, but we do know you won't have to spend $1,000 to buy one.
The Verge's interview with Yoshida was part of a much wider feature on VR in general. Be sure to check out The Verge's full story for more.
Are you excited by the possibilities for VR in games? Let us know in the comments below!
|Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch|