Shawn Layden: PSVR Is the Biggest VR Platform in the World, Change Will Be Dramatic in Next Ten Years


PSVR, short for PlayStation VR, was a big deal when it launched back in October 2016. Sony treated it as a full new platform launch and while it certainly got a niche with its over three million units sold (as of August 2018), PSVR only got a fraction of the massive PlayStation 4 userbase (91.6 million units sold as of December 2018).

While talking to Game Informer last week, Shawn Layden (Chairman of Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios) boasted that PSVR is the biggest Virtual Reality platform on the market. He also said change will be dramatic in the next ten years, hinting that growing pains are normal with new technologies.

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[...] with PSVR, what I like about it… there have been very few times in my career – and I have been working in technology since the late '80s – when you get to be part of a truly 1.0 experience. The problem is nowadays, people’s expectations and spans are so short. Now it’s, “Oh! PSVR, that’s great! When is it going to be this size?” I try to put into context for people and I say, “Remember that funny Nokia phone that had that ringtone that we all had back in the day? You can’t look at that Nokia phone and look at your smartphone and see how you got to there.” By the same token, you look at PSVR right now, none of us are going to be able to imagine what it will look like 10 years from now, but the change will be that dramatic. You can’t get to 5.0 until you do 1.0. It’s just the nature of the thing.

We’re working with PSVR and trying to get people to understand that, we wanted to make the easiest-to-adopt VR kit. If you have a PS4, you’re in. You just need the headset. Super comfortable. Easy to put on, easy to take off. Maybe we could have reduced some of the wires a bit. I will say that.

Working through the software cycle that supports that, as with any new technology you have your first generation of games that look like just the last generation of games, but a little bit better. We talked about PS1 being 3D gaming, but there were a lot of 2D, or 2.5D games in the first generation of PlayStation because the whole idea of creating a 3D game back then was, how do I get my head around that? So for the first generation of PSVR content looks like it could have been up on that screen and we put it in a wrap-around headset. That’s the nature of it. The developers are getting their head around it. What does this mean? How does this work? Let’s get a game, as we understand it, running in this technology, and then let’s see where we go from there. I think the evolutionary cycle that I like to point to is Astro Bot. Astro Bot cannot really be played on a TV. It has to be played in VR, and that was one of our first steps. When we start getting content that can only be realized in VR, then we know we are on to something. I think we’re the biggest VR platform in the world. We’ve learned a lot from that experience.

What would you like to see for the next PSVR device from Sony? Let us know in the comments.

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