Playstation VR 2: Why Sony must go all out
Playstation VR 2 will be a defining moment for virtual reality gaming. That's why Sony has to really buckle down now.
Playstation VR was a Frankenstein system, a prototype, a first field test for Sony. In the run-up to the market launch, a race was underway: In addition to Sony, Facebook, HTC and Valve were also vying for the favor of gamers. To have a device on the market in time, the company accepted technical compromises: The tracking system and the Move controllers were already outdated in 2016.
VR technology has changed since then. It has become more invisible and accessible. External cameras or tracking cubes? Both are things of the past. The Playstation VR 2 has tracking built-in and offers high-quality controllers designed specifically for virtual reality.
This shouldn't surprise anyone: Sony had a lot of time this cycle and was able to approach hardware development from the ground up. The fact that PSVR 2 is still wired and not quite up to date in this respect is probably due to the costs. In addition, wireless VR is not quite where it needs to be for an uncompromised and glitch-free VR experience.
New technologies: It's the second try that counts
It's been six years since the first generation of VR hardware. In that time, the industry has achieved a lot: The technology has overcome many teething problems, the market has matured, and the ABC of VR game development is in place.
In 2016, there were legitimate reasons for skepticism. Every new technology and device class encounters difficulties in the first attempt. Only in the second attempt does their potential become noticeable.
Consumers know this. Those who still had reservations about virtual reality in 2016 may be more curious in 2022 and more likely to say, "I could really try that now.
This moment is crucial for the market development and a great opportunity that Sony cannot afford to miss. If the newcomers turn away disappointed, Sony will have a hard time winning them back. That would be fatal for Playstation VR 2 and the young gaming medium.
Playstation VR 2: Games, games, games
If PSVR 2 fails, it won't be because of the hardware. On the sheet, the Playstation VR 2's features are impressive. What Sony has in store on the software side is much more important. Software sells hardware: That has always been the case and is especially true for virtual reality, where really great VR titles are rare.
The success of the Playstation VR 2 will depend on the games. When it comes to game development and game brands, Sony is better positioned than any other VR company. The crucial question is whether Sony is willing to invest in big titles. The PSVR 2 stands and falls with that.
I'm excited about Sony's VR game showcase, which hasn't even been announced yet, but it really needs to happen soon. So far, the company has only mentioned the VR game Horizon: Call of The Mountain without saying anything about the scope of the title. Is it a full-fledged game in the Horizon universe? That would be a statement. Or is Call of the Mountain just another "VR experience," a sidekick to the actual main event, the monitor game?
One thing is for sure: Short VR experiences and tech demos will no longer create buzz, nor will ports of older VR games or titles from smaller studios. If 2016 repeats itself, VR has a problem.