Field in View: Sony Isn’t Giving Up On PS VR, But Pacing Is A Problem

by Jamie Feltham • January 28th, 2017

Look, I get it, it’s been a rough start to the year of PlayStation VR. A few weeks of drought finally ended last Tuesday when Resident Evil 7 launched, and the lack of big releases in December have some feeling the headset is starting to get left behind a little. Add to that the closure of RIGS developer Guerrilla Cambridge and you can understand the trepidation.

It’s an understandable concern. Sony’s previous support for platforms doesn’t instill confidence; the wonderful PlayStation Vita seemed to be abandoned months after launch as the device was repositioned to support (brilliant) indie titles and not the AAA games the company had promised. PlayStation Move, too, had a meager life on PlayStation 3, with the company failing to ever produce a genuine system seller. Its attempt to get everyone playing in 3D too ended in failure.

playstation-vr-move-jpg-games

If you’re following these strands then, yes, it’s reasonable to assume that Sony might let its headset fade into obscurity in the near future, but it’s simply too soon to declare it dead, as many articles on the internet over the past few weeks have been tempted to do.

It’s true, content for PS VR is looking a little sparse of late. As great as Resident Evil 7 is, it’s not for everyone and its campaign will only last you so long. What we’re experiencing, though, feels more like an unfortunate gap in the solid support indie developers have brought to the system since launch, likely spurred more by the unproductive holiday season rather than a desire to avoid the platform. I know developers that say their software sells very well on PS VR; no one wants to see it gone.

What it tells me is not that Sony is giving up on its device long before its shown even a hint of its true promise, but that it needs to sort out its content pacing and developer evangelism. Time and time again I talk to developers that say they’ll bring their games to Rift and Vive first and then PS VR a few months down the line once they’ve got their certification systems sorted out and optimization sorted. True, these are small teams without the resources to do three versions of a game at once, but I feel like if studios knew the true value of being on PS VR, then they’d prioritize that version more.

Farpoint 2

And, yes, I’m sure the company is doing a lot in this field in reality, but it certainly doesn’t help that it’s been so quiet about it recently. December’s PlayStation Experience was a big miss for the headset; a golden opportunity to show some exciting new content. Instead, the company showed a nice, if uninspiring new shooter. PS VR had several big announcements at E3, but by PSX most of them had been spent and, now that Resident Evil 7 is out, we’re left wondering “What’s next?”

Farpoint is one answer that I’m still very excited about, but it’s the lone Sony-published VR game we know about right now. We need to see the company get out ahead of the current concerns and prove to us the $399 we spent on these headsets wasn’t misplaced.

I don’t believe it was for a second, but I’m starting to wonder just how they’ll ease fears.

  • Fab Z

    Is it just me that’s getting sick of this constant crying out for quantity in these kinds of articles?
    I’m feeling that there’s a general sentiment of “give me everything now” from the game-news industry which is out of touch with many gamers and is at the very least showing poor gaming leadership.

    Have there been many new platforms that have had a long list of must have releases in their first 6 months? I get that there haven’t been dozens of announcements, but TBH I don’t care much for those, I much prefer releases! I don’t understand how can anyone declare PSVR in trouble when it is still selling out of all stock regularly???
    Personally I’ve had enough of the shovelware and rushed-out-game trend and if that’s all the platform can hope to offer then it is doomed to fail and hurt VR in the process. An example of this was Robinson: The journey. A game that could have been great if given the right amount of time and resources and which instead was a rushed out “meh” game with major problems that have still not been fixed. Similarly many of the indy titles are buggy and extremely limited.
    I’d be happy with 6 QUALITY pieces of software for PSVR in 2017.

    So far I’ve played more than 300 hours of Battlezone. A game that I think most reviewers should take a second look at given the silly rating it has on Metacritic. Sure It was horribly difficult when first released, but the patches and support by the developer have really turned it into a must have game. I’m playing it daily, along with a dedicated (and decently sized) group of PSVR gamers. None of us are in the slightest disappointed in PSVR, the question is: why are the game journos? What sort of expectations did the game-news industry have?

    • Get Schwifty!

      Ahem. Click-bait. In fairness, it is an OP-ED piece…. essentially license to spin any way they want…

    • Agree, this articles seems to me like Windows time-remaining that jumps from hours to few seconds in instants. They’re all like “oh, PSVR will sell millions!” then “PSVR has sold too few, it is dying”, then “PSVR is not dead, it will be great!”

      • Robbie Cartwright

        Yeah, things do seem a bit rushed here. Although honestly I don’t own a playstation 4 rn, so I couldn’t care less about PSVR. I hope they do well though, my main console as a kid was the PS2.

    • verymetal

      I completely agree. The experience of VR is so unique, just enjoy it instead of criticizing every detail. I am very happy with PSVR. Also, there is not enough time in the world for me to enjoy all the things I want. I’m still catching up on other games. The pacing is perfect for me.

  • Sami Tito

    In my country, in France, we no longer find any psvr, it is out of stock
    everywhere and we must reserve his almost two weeks in advance.

    You are simply an anti sony and a chronic anti psvr and your articles are likely to demoralize all potential buyers interested about the vr. What you say is inconsistent, Sony has sold the most headsets and has the most potential customers for the VR around the world. Sony has just released the first triple aaa worldwide recognized for its
    qualities and you persist in giving a negative image which by contagion
    affects the vr in general.

    Because what you say, one could say about htc that does not come out of real
    games for the moment except small experiments and occulus mired in its
    trial against zenimax which does not sell enough helmets. If
    you continue on this path, I advise you to close your site because
    according to you the vr is a fiaco..your site will close, then talk
    about something else. The greatest enemies of the VR are those who wear helmets.

    • scott

      Its out of Stock in the USA as well, Haven’t had any in store for months. I guess the writers of this article are some of the lucky ones who got theirs early and now are crying for more content while the majority of people are still in line waiting to get one,

      • Stranger On The Road

        Just to point out that the writers of this article aren’t the ones ‘crying for more content’. Recently they have been quite a few articles on the internet that could be summed as: Sony is abandoning the PSVR just like they did for the PSVita and 3D TV*. This article is responding to those articles.

        P.S. sorry to hear that you guys can’t find the PSVR, I’ve had mine since launch 🙂

        * I really don’t get why people limit the blame of the failure of 3D TVs on Sony, they weren’t the only ones that supported it! They just added support for it to the PS3 and some of their TVs, other have done that too.

  • iUserProfile

    WTF – Totally off putting to see yet another article on that topic here. I can’t remember Oculus and Vive having fully fledged games from the start. Actually I feel that there are even now just a hand full of titles that I whould count as complete all around experiences let alone triple A releases. Most of them were just anounced last year. Seems to me that PSVR handles itself pretty good beeing released just four month ago. With the release of RE7 it now has a major story driven game with an estimated length of eight to ten hours that works perfectly in VR. I don’t know all the titles but by what I have been following Oculus and Vive don’t seem to have a comparable experince of that caliber in their ranks. Yet PSVR is the dieing and struggling system here? Only thing going down hill is this site and it’s content as it seems to me.

  • Kevyn Bradley Grams

    Sony would not have changed the name of the PlayStation division from Sony Computer Entertainment to Sony Interactive Entertainment if they did not have big plans for Virtual Reality and Motion Tracking.

    PlayStation VR is just coming back in stock at many retailers across the US. It is sold out in many european countries, and just had a new batch of stock release in Japan to massive lines. Sony’s only issue right now is keeping up with demand.

    Going forward we already have some solid AAA games coming out this year. Ace Combat 7, Dreams, Fairpoint, and Gran Turismo Sport are all on their way. We should here a lot more about games over the next few months with the Game Developers Conference in March and E3 in June.

    VR is only going to continue to get bigger going forward. We will eventually see Grand Theft Auto in VR, Call of Duty in VR, and many more AAA farnchises. Sony will not be going anywhere. They are in the gaming business, and gaming is going VR. Unlike with portable music, lcd tvs, and smartphones, Sony is actually getting into the next big thing in gaming from day zero. That is great news for gamers, and PlayStation fans alike.

  • Jonny C

    There are over 60 titles on the PlayStation Store. I have bought a fair few but still have loads to purchase including bigger titles such as Eagle Flight, REZ, Robinson and EVE: Valkyrie. Resident Evil 7 is in the post and Dirt Rally has been bought ready for the VR DLC. There is a Herocade, VR Ping Pong, Mervils Vr Adventure, Dying Reborn and Dexed coming in the near future. There are a few US and Japanese games that haven’t released in Europe like Proton Pulse and Unearthing Mars. I have plenty to play and look forward to. My wallet will burst into flames soon.

    It would be nice if we could have as many weekly indie releases as the two big established PC headsets but I think Sony are very strict with there 60fps PSVR rule. We are only just over 3 months into PSVR’s life lets not forget. I believe It wont be long until the indie VR games will start to flow and PSVR owners will get a couple of new indie games per week. I don’t expect there to be loads of triple A titles at this early stage. A handful of big titles this year will do me from Sony. Far Point, Starblood Arena, Gran Turismo, Golem. Surely We can’t expect many more than that as Sony don’t release more than a handful of exclusives on the PS4 platform each year.

  • Stranger On The Road

    seeing people complaining about the lack of ‘apps’ on the PSVR makes me wonder if they realize that it could be used to watch 360 films as well! Being able to play games using the PSVR is just one use of it, another is being able to watch films.

    besides, the anywhereVR from the PSN HK is a really nice ‘app’ for relaxing while being in the city, really love it and keeps my PSVR busy 🙂

    P.S. will still get a VR HMD for my PC, but yet to decide on which…. after all, I don’t want to miss out on VR Kanojo :-p

  • Shawn Blais Skinner

    Kinda missing the Elephant in the room… Sony hasn’t been pushing PSVR because they clearly had issues with manufacturing. It sounds like that might be coming to an end soon, so will be interesting to see how sales go once they are unconstrained.

  • Ian

    I’s hard to tell if it’s bad pacing and lack of upcoming content or just a lack of providing gamers/press with a road map of that content.

    With Sony we are used to being spoiled from a first party stand point. They typically support their platforms with a lot of 1st and 2nd party games. But more importantly they have always been very forthcoming and smart about announcing upcoming games for their platforms. The problem with PSVR is without knowing what’s coming it’s harder to be excited or to have confidence in the future of the device.

    For example, if we knew a hand full of Sony IP were on their way it would make a big difference in the perception of gamers, even if the release dates were the end of the year and beyond. This is in my opinion a marketing problem.

  • scolms

    Here’s an alternative upbeat view. Sony’s push to upsell the PS4 Pro in November gives us a clue that Sony don’t currently believe the last gen PS4 and PSVR is going to be capable of pushing the VR platform forward and have softened on the PSVR as a result – I’m guessing they’ve held back to let the PS 4 Pro gather some volume and will push ahead in the spring. In the UK stock is returning after 3 months of being sold out everywhere. All is good 🙂

    • Get Schwifty!

      I have thought this might be the case as well…. hope you (and I) are correct…

  • Maybe if we can all stop getting crazy day after day about sales numbers, it would be great. PSVR will need time, like Daydream. Journalists were too optmistic about this headset and now are deluded by its sales… be quiet…

  • Fake news. VR is the most amazing thing to come from gaming ever

  • Braaainz

    VR Is going to fail unless people can start to cheaply rent 3d movies for their headsets.

    • Buddydudeguy

      lolwut. I have a Rift w/ Touch ( no issues with tracking I should add), and this is never on my mind. If and when I want to watch a 3d movie in my own personal movie theater ( pretty amazing I tell ya), I can. But “cheaply rent” 3d movies isn’t on my list of giving a crud.

      • Braaainz

        You’ve already bought a Rift, therefore, they don’t have to reach out to you.

        What applications would entice more people into VR? Especially people who are not mainstream gamers. I think easily accessible 3d movies would be a much needed draw.

  • Wolf_Rock

    I have had the PSVR since launch and must admit I feel a bit cheated. I mainly bought the system for racing sims and I feel we have been outright lied to by Sony. We were promised project cars at launch – this was quietly withdrawn soon after launch. Gran Turismo Sport has been delayed yet again and now we have been informed that it will have a vr “experience” rather than being a full game. Drive Club is and always was a terrible game so that certainly does not count in my opinion. OK dirt VR DLC is coming soon but the fact is four months after paying £350 for the system I still do not have access to a playable racing sim. This is what we were told we would have and it is the reason why myself and many others decided to purchase.