When Sony first announced their own VR headset, Project Morpheus, many saw it as an early foray into a blossoming technology, but one that might not stick. Clearly, Sony is interested in VR, but whether or not they will transform Project Morpheus from an intriguing piece of tech into a retail product is still not entirely clear.
However, in a recent interview with The Guardian, Sony CEO Andrew House (the man who replaced Jack Tretton) confirmed that his company is pot-committed when it comes to Project Morpheus. It might seem like Sony is only dipping their feet into the waters, but they have already made a “significant investment.” Moreover, House believes that VR is the “new frontier of game development.”
As to why Sony decided to develop a VR headset, House explains that Sony saw the growth of Oculus Rift, arguably the industry leader when it comes to VR, despite having a “monetisable or business option.” Developers were creating VR experiences for Oculus in their free time, and Sony wanted to step in and give them a new platform to play around with.
“With Oculus we saw this groundswell of game development that didn’t necessarily have a monetisable or a business option, but [developers were] so passionate about this space that they were doing this essentially in their spare time,” said House. “It struck that me that if there’s a variety of game developersshowing 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.”
However, when asked about whether Project Morpheus will make a dent on the consumer market, House wouldn’t commit to anything substantial. That being said, he does believe that Morpheus will be an important part of the PS4 ecosystem moving forward. In fact, Sony may have been thinking about VR while developing the current-gen console.
Speaking of VR development, Sony’s major competitor in the VR space, Oculus VR, has announced Oculus Connect, a developer-focused conference for VR enthusiasts. The first annual event will take place in Los Angeles this fall (Sept. 19-20).
At Oculus Connect, developers will learn about new features in the pipeline for the Oculus Rift and sit in on panels with key Oculus figureheads like CEO Brendan Iribe, Co-Founder Palmer Luckey, CTO John Carmack, and Chief Scientist Michael Abrash. Frankly, if you’re even the least bit curious about VR, especially as it pertains to Oculus, these are the folks to ask. Moreover, Oculus Connect will also include special sessions where developers can get feedback directly from Rift engineers and designers.
Ultimately, both Oculus and Sony are trying to prove they are committed to VR technology, and want to improve it for both developers and gamers. Sony wants developers to know that they are trying to use their standing in the industry as a helping hand for developers, while Oculus is going out there and organizing events structured around a similar concept. If the end result is better VR experiences, which in turn will increase the appeal of the Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, then that can only be a good thing.
How invested do you think Sony is in Project Morpheus? Would you like to attend an event like Oculus Connect, but for the public?
Oculus Connect runs from September 19-20 at the Loews Hotel in Los Angeles, CA.