PSVR has a lot of great games, many of which were made by Sony itself. But, to Sony, making its own games to go alongside its new platform isn’t just a good idea; it’s a necessary part of helping the platform grow.
Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Shawn Layden said as much during an on-stage session at Gameslab this week, as reported by VentureBeat. Speaking of the games PlayStation develops in-house, Layden explained that he looks for three things when greenlighting projects: First, Best and Must. First refers to inventing new genres, Best is about leading the way forward, but Must has more to do with technologies like PSVR.
“There are some games we must do, even if initially the profitability might be hard to make,” Layden said. “For example, an easy one for that is [PlayStation VR] games. When you’re trying to grow the PSVR installed base, how many units are in homes, it’s difficult for some third parties to look at that addressable market and get the business to work for them. But we need games to move the platform. It’s a chicken-and-egg thing. So, at Worldwide Studios, we took on a number of PSVR projects in order to support the launch of that platform and getting it off the ground.”
What Layden’s talking about isn’t too dissimilar to the launch of any other PlayStation console, though it’s doubly true of VR, which is still struggling to attract major developers over two years into its consumer lifecycle. You can see the same process happening with Oculus with its Studios games like Lone Echo.
“Must is sometimes driven by technology,” Layden later said. “We decide to do VR. We have PSVR technology. We’ve been working on that for six years. We’re in a place where the technology is ready to come to market, and we need some games that can help explain why VR is important and what VR can do.”
Sony is still making first-party VR titles to that effect. PlayStation VR Worlds developer Sony London is now working on London-set shooter, Blood and Truth, while Sony Japan recently revealed Astro Bot: Robo Rescue. There’s also a new UK-based developer studio working exclusively on PSVR content.
That said, we do hope that Sony one day manages to move its work in VR gaming from ‘Must’ to ‘Best’.