Sony’s Project Morpheus VR Headset ‘A Bad Idea’ According to Pachter

Published 6 months ago by

Sony Project Morpheus VR Headset Close Up

Despite showing recent emergence in the form of the PC-compatible VR (virtual reality) headset Oculus Rift - a device that continues to impress the industry and media at conventions and trade shows -  the technology has been around for a while. Announced at GDC last week, Sony is also making a sizeable virtual reality splash in the market with their recently announced competitor, Project Morpheus. While early press previews and online feedback from fans suggest that there is support for the tech, virtual reality is still relatively untested in the gaming market, leading Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities, to voice his doubts.

Pachter is a known figure in the video game industry and it seems as though his latest predictions are based off of analysis of the difference in the markets that Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus operate in rather than in the oft-lauded similarities between the hardware. According to the analyst, “it’s a bad idea for multiple participants to chase [the virtual reality market}, and I think it’s a really bad idea for Sony” and as for Oculus Rift, he has “no problem” with the PC alternative as “they’re a startup and that’s a very small market and if they dominate it that’s great, but if it’s a small market and there are multiple players, it’s gonna be hard for anybody to make money.”

His statement follows skepticism in recent years over the viability of accessory products, such as the PlayStation Move motion controllers and the Kinect Camera, the second iteration of which continually comes under fire due to Microsoft’s mandatory Xbox One and Kinect 2.0 bundling.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be a big market. It sounds interesting, but I don’t think there will be enough content to justify making the capital investment to create the headset. I think it’s chicken and egg. If there’s no content you’re not gonna buy a virtual reality headset, and if you don’t buy a virtual reality headset, there won’t be any content, because no one will make a dedicated game for a very small audience.”

The fact that Ubisoft has also recently made an announcement that they would not develop games for virtual reality devices seems to support Pachter’s statement. However, despite his feelings towards Project Morpheus, Pachter still thinks that PlayStation, the brand that Project Morpheus would inevitably be included under, will be a “wild success,” elaborating on his previous statements by explaining that “I think the PlayStation division is gonna be very profitable, buy they might lose all that money with TV shows,” referring to Sony Picture’s recent announcement to developer Powers, a TV show that would be exclusive to the PSN (PlayStation Network) upon its release.

For Pachter, the tech isn’t bad, just the idea of multiple players cannibalizing a small, premium market is. And this is certainly going to be a burden for developers if they have to make VR work across multiple devices. Sony’s Project Morpheus is still in its prototyping stages and there’s no official word yet on whether it’ll become a consumer product, but if it does it’ll be designed for the PS4 specifically. With reports indicating that Microsoft is also working away on an Xbox-branded VR headset, the market may become too crowded with three differetn VR headsets that all ostensibly do the same basic thing. Are multiplatform gamers going to have to buy THREE different headsets in the near future? Why aren’t the console makers working with Oculus Rift, tech that already has widespread developer support and financial backing? Is competition in this front healthy, regardless?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Source: DualShockers.

TAGS: Oculus Rift, PS4, Sony

12 Comments

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  1. anything we are excited about this guy craps on it…
    anything we dont really care about ths guy craps on it…

    does this guy like anything? and why does he get all these articles? who is he? no one makes articles on my options so he must be someone high up in the industry…

    • At this point I get the feeling that reporting Pachters predictions has become more for entertainment value than anything else.

      • This is the same guy that said Dragon Age 2 is going to sell more than 5 million he’s just here for comic relief he’s kind of like Screech from Saved by the Bell.

  2. This guy realizes that Oculus rift sold out of Dev kits a few weeks ago right? Oh and that they were backed up trying to find materials to fill orders. What a moron lol. VR is where gaming is headed. Face it. Consumer friendly and priced fairly. I cant see it failing this time.

    • …and then the oculus rift was bought by facebook. The ensuing corporate war will most likely sap both devices of all potential, and the cycle begins anew. They’ll probably sell well, but I guess it all depends on your definition of failure.

      • yeah,what a moronic move letting facebook buy them! Now any potential of minecraft being made for it is gone, cause notch dislikes this too

  3. these headsets arent just for games. people need to start looking at them as a monitor/tv replacement for games,movies,browsing,etc. my dk1 is like a personal movie theater. so im not surprised that 3 major companies are making a vr headset. expect more to come.

  4. While I wasn’t personally invested in OR because I have a TrackIR setup and I LOVE it just fine, I was intrigued by what OR could bring to the table in terms of advancing PC gaming. This is just one thing in a long list of things that will be taken from the PC community and then marginalized for the PC community. That and this is going to be a HUGE set-back for crowd-funding in general. I’m not sreaming doom and gloom as the OR will probably initially still be a great piece of gaming hardware, but those that can’t see this for what it is are incredibly naive. This IS NOT a good move in any shape or form EXCEPT for the people that just became millionnaires and MZ. And I can’t say with any certainty (No one here can) that I would have acted ANY different in the face of check pushed in front of me for that amount of money. We all like to think that our integrity will win out over money, but not one of us can really know how we’d react until we are in that situation.

    I’m curious to find out what Chris Roberts thouights on this will be. Will he continue support for OR for integration with Star Citizen or will he drop support immediately? From what I hear on the various Star Citizen updates, OR integration is pretty extensive into the game. So much so, they are pushing to have it ready for ver1 of the DFM.

    I think the developers that initially supported OR deciding whether to stay the course or drop it entirely is the bigger story here. Time will tell, but personally for me – I’m not happy with this move. Especially considering ALL the comments the OR guy made about integrity and staying independent. It feels like a big slap in the face. No, not doom and gloom. OR will be fine in the sense that it’s not going anywhere. It’s still releasing (I hope) But it’s that whole sense of something being PC exclusive having to step-n-fetch for the “greater good” YET AGAIN.

  5. “Sony’s Project Morpheus VR Headset ‘A Bad Idea’ According to Pachter”

    In other words… This thing is going to do great.

  6. That might be the dumbest thing I’ve ever read. What a jerkoff.

  7. The biggest thing Pachter got wrong is “the tech isn’t bad, just the idea of multiple players cannibalizing a small, premium market is.”

    Oculus co-founder Nate Mitchell said he welcomed the new rival:
    “We’re super excited to have more companies in this space,” he said. “More developers and more companies investing in virtual reality means more resources put towards games. I think the audience is going to get into VR faster, which means more people to sell to.”
    (https://www.develop-online.net/news/oculus-we-welcome-sony-s-project-morpheus/0190757)

    in describing his initial reaction to the $2billion facebook acquisition of Oculus, Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida said:
    “I woke up that morning and saw the announcement,” he told Engadget, as part of a wider interview about the platform holder’s recently announced Project Morpheus peripheral. “And I was like, ‘Yeah!’”
    (http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2014/04/how_did_sonys_shuhei_yoshida_react_to_facebooks_acquisition_of_oculus_vr)

    Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey believes that the VR headset market will be large enough to support both Oculus and Sony. “This market is not even close to saturation, and the Sony thing is just for their console,” he said. “Our thing is not on their console, so we don’t even cross paths.”
    (http://www.joystiq.com/2014/03/26/oculus-founder-rift-is-open-sonys-project-morpheus-is-not/)

    The more they see each other creating a stir, the happier BOTH become. Simple reason. By announcing that more large companies are taking VR seriously and investing sums as much as $2-billion and more, their work is only being validated and drawing more attention to the VR market. Plus, as you see by Luckey’s assertion, they don’t even compete with each other. They both use VR, but in a very different manner to make unique experiences, so they really don’t have any overlap at all, contrary to popular belief, which pits them against each other, when in reality, they’re partners in VR advancement.

    Pachter made another false assertion when he claimed “this is certainly going to be a burden for developers if they have to make VR work across multiple devices.”

    This suggests to me that Pachter doesn’t know much about how hard/easy it is to actually develop these things. It’s much easier to develop two separate VR experiences across two separate platforms than it is to create a tablet experience AND a VR experience on the same platform. This is because VR comes with the same design challenges regardless of platform, and VR and tablet games have very different design challenges, even on the same platform. In order to actually advance VR, you need lots of people working on it. If it’s only being developed by one studio, then you wont get as many people advancing it, so the more diversity you can get in terms of # of people working on VR, the more successful each one will become, to a degree. 2 Companies is definitely well under the # of companies where competition will outweigh the benefit from having others working on it. Microsoft is rumored to be working on a VR system as well, and I’m sure they’ll be equally welcomed. Lots of developers WANT to develop for VR and have for many, many years, but it has not been viable until companies started dropping billions of dollars into it, and only then are the top developers, the ones you need to be successul, going to challenge their efforts into making a solid VR experience. Otherwise you’d be left with only a handful of experts who can only do so much.

    In response to Morpheus’ announcement, Raphael van Lierop, Hinterland Games Creative Director said:
    “Excited to hear about Sony’s Project Morpheus. More people with VR makes creating VR experiences more viable for us developers.”
    (http://www.dualshockers.com/2014/03/19/spnys-morpheus-heres-how-developers-and-industry-veterans-reacted-to-sonys-ps4-vr-headset/)

    In response to Pachter’s claim that “it’s a bad idea for multiple participants to chase [the virtual reality market}, and I think it’s a really bad idea for Sony,”

    First, VR didn't start with the Oculus rift, I think that's extremely important to recognize. VR has been around since the early 1900s and arguably earlier, with the first head-mounted display released in 1968. Just wikipedia Virtual Reality. However, many, many, many experts are recognizing that based on the technology available, the dream of VR that many have had for over a century, is finally becoming possible. It's sort-of the "holy grail" of gaming. So if behemoths like Google (project glass), Sony (morpheus), Facebook (Oculus), and Microsoft (project unknown), and undoubtedly others following the coverage think that it's VR's time to shine, it's hard to argue with that. Regardless, even if this does end up flopping, where else do you expect gaming technology to go? Do you think we've reached the pinnacle with touch screen tablets and motion control? Is that as far as you think we'll ever go? I think it's obvious that if this generation doesn't knock it out of the park (which it will), next generation will, with even more money and more companies leading the drive.

    the "very small audience/very small # of apps" argument is easily thwarted by the countless dev kits that they send out to studios. There will be plenty of content for even a very small [but growing] audience to explore by the time it is released. Not to mention the near-century long history of VR experiences to draw from, even including sci-fi depictions of VR, it’s not something that is lacking in creativity. Add to that the hype of the media and announcements like FB’s acquisition, Glass, and Morpheus, and you’ve got a storm of interested consumers and motivated developers to create the perfect storm for when these behemoths are finally released.

    That being said, I am definitely on the more conservative ($-wise) side of gaming, so I’ll likely wait out the first generation to avoid the high hardware costs until they go down or redesign it into a more affordable technology.

    I’ve scoured the internet and found nothing but information pointing to exactly the opposite of Pachter’s claims. Where does this guy’s credibility come from? Does he just know an editor who posts his opinions regardless?

  8. Just one thing I am wondering of and yes it might sound very stupid but… if somehow Sony finds a way to make the Morpheus work with the PC won’t that make it easier for them to beat Oculus?

    I mean I dont know anything advanced in technology but as far as I know X360, X1, PS4 controllers (not sure about PS3) all works with the PC with that proper driver and whatever it is I downloaded to make my Dualshock 4 work on my PC.

    Sure, developers might create the control layout only for Oculus but, Sony or a smart someone out there might be able to find a way to replace the controls with the Morpheus…

    My Need for Speed on PC for example, it still tells me to press X Y A B since it was made only for Xbox controller but I am playing the game fine with my Dualshock 4… just because I downloaded that DS4 driver, basically Microsoft’s xbox controller driver only serves as an extension now between the game and my real controller’s drivers.

    So do you think this is possible for Sony or SOMEONE to make?
    Because if it is I think it will help them even more be the better VR than OR… probably not completely but I am sure it’ll help

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