With expensive equipment, low install bases and other issues, it’s anyone’s guess as to how VR will perform in the coming months and years. The CEO of the USA’s biggest games retailer thinks he has some idea, though.
GameStop’s Paul Raines believes that Sony Interactive Entertainment will be the “dominant player” in VR with its PlayStation VR HMD for PlayStation 4. Speaking with marketing publication [a]list, Raines explained that Sony’s “IP advantage” could give it the edge. By that he refers to the stable of franchises the company could utilise to sell VR to audiences, using Naughty Dog’s iconic Uncharted series as an example. With Uncharted 4 out next week, Raines noted that he would buy a VR HMD for a VR Uncharted 5 without the desire to test it first.
That said, Raines was also bullish about PSVR’s competitors, including the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, both of which he referred to as “fantastic technology”. In the end, the CEO thinks that all of these products will “work”, though some may do so “faster than others”.
Interestingly, Raines teased that GameStop is “working hard on a lot of exciting ways” to showcase to VR to customers. He cited concerns that the company’s 1,500 square foot stores wouldn’t be big enough for VR kiosks, pointing out that it also has “hundreds” of 2,000 square feet stores where they could be able to do this. He even suggested that the company might work with Sony to put on events both in and outside of the US to bring PlayStation VR to the masses.
So far we haven’t seen Sony actually leverage much of its IP in VR. Last year’s horror hit, Until Dawn, will be getting a PSVR shooter spin-off, and the next Gran Turismo will also feature support for the device, but other tent pole series like Infamous, Killzone and, yes, Uncharted are yet to be seen in VR.
Sony’s kit is set to launch in October and will worth with any of the 36 million PlayStation 4’s already out in the wild should they also have the PlayStation Camera. The big question surrounding the $399 kit right now is what impact the rumoured PlayStation 4.5 console, which is said to upgrade performance of all PS4 titles, could have on it.