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.
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.
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.