Microsoft Gave GTA 5 Boss A Demo Of Its Mysterious VR Tech
Strauss Zelnick says he got a demo of Microsoft's enhanced reality project during a trip to the company's headquarters.
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Microsoft is now letting people outside the company try out its long-in-development "enhanced reality" technology. Grand Theft Auto parent publisher Take-Two Interactive CEO Strauss Zelnick said today on Bloomberg TV that he was invited to Microsoft's headquarters to try it out. It is unclear, however, if Zelnick got to see the RoomAlive demo or Microsoft's other secret VR project.
Whatever the case, Zelnick said he was excited with what he saw.
"The demo that I had was at Microsoft's headquarters in a room given over to this [technology], and you had an immersive headset on, and there are characters that appear to be real, and you'e interacting with the characters and they're not real, and it's pretty extraordinary," he said.
Though he was floored by the demo, Zelnick said he's not sure yet about its commercial appeal.
Microsoft has been planning Xbox One virtual reality/augmented reality technology (pictured above) since 2010, according to documents that emerged two years ago. According to the documents, users would wear glasses that would run on wireless connections to interact with the Xbox One.
For its part, Microsoft has been open in saying that virtual reality is something the company has been experimenting with for a long time now. Competitor Sony announced its own virtual reality device, Project Morpheus, during GDC in March 2014.
A Take-Two representative told GameSpot that "this was something [Zelnick] saw several years ago." We have also reached out to Microsoft for further clarification.
"If that's what consumers want, we'll be first in line to give it to them" -- Strauss Zelnick on VR
On the subject of VR in general, Zelnick reiterated that, while he's excited about the potential of such technology, it must overcome technical and logistical hurdles before it becomes ubiquitous.
"There are plenty of issues for using an immersive headset for the kind of video games that we make," he said. "Because, among other things, how are you going to see your controller? How does this controller interact with this immersive space?"
He also said he recently got a demo of Project Morpheus and enjoyed it a lot.
Asked straight-up if gaming was ready for VR, Zelnick said "not yet." However, he stressed that if VR does become dominant, Take-Two will line up to support it with games.
"Part of it is we have to see how the headsets roll out and how we can best deliver an experience. We are concerned that you play our games for a long period of time and we don't want people getting nauseated. Having had the experience, I'm not sure how long you want an immersive headset on your head. We'll find out. I will say this, if that's what consumers want, we'll be first in line to give it to them."
Zelnick also responded to a host's suggestion that VR could make people anti-social, something Zelnick himself cited previously as one of the potential problems for VR. Now, Zelnick says as culture expands, companies like Take-Two need to embrace change or they run the risk of getting left behind.
He said his great grandparents had similar qualms about jazz music, his grandparents about rock and roll, and his parents about hip hop. "Culture morphs and we all have to embrace the exciting new opportunities in culture," he said.