Sony's Developer Problem Could Spell Trouble for PSVR2
Last month, VR Final reported that Aldin Dynamics, developer of Waltz Of The Wizard, announced they were "holding off" on further PlayStation development until Sony clarified its position on the future of PSVR.
The response was... mixed, to say the least. The uproar (and the resultant debate) even caught the attention of Aldin Dynamics CEO Hrafn Thorisson, who helped to clarify the reason for the company's announcement:
I would love to support PSVR more. ... We’re in a position where we want to help push VR to the next level in any way we can, and PSVR’s un-upgraded hardware capabilities mean we’d have to start spending enormous amounts of time inventing ways to sidestep platform limitations, instead of focusing on developing new and next-gen VR features.
Although we're pretty convinced a PlayStation VR follow-up headset is on the horizon somewhere, it's looking more and more like it won't be any time soon. Jim Ryan, speaking to the Washington Post, expressed PlayStation's view on the matter pretty clearly. VR is the future, but the future isn't now:
"PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some state? We believe that."
The Washington Post issued an apology for having implied that it was explicitly PSVR2 Ryan was referring to, when he had specifically left the prospect of a PSVR2 in the near future open. But I continue to believe that PlayStation's statements about virtual reality are as clear as they are lukewarm: VR remains "unproven space."
But it doesn't really matter what I (or, really, any other commentator) thinks. PSVR2 depends on one thing: continued developer interest. Sony needs developers to keep the platform alive, but developers needed a little solid commitment from Sony. Now, the chickens are home to roost.
At least, that is the case with Aldin Dynamics:
At the moment, it looks like Sony is happy with letting Quest take over. If that's the case then we need to know that, because the userbase and interest in PSVR going forward could reduce significantly.
This is obviously a disappointment. We clearly see what developers want from Sony, and they aren't getting it. But Thorisson's statement - especially that comment about the Oculus Quest - lends itself to another interesting question: in the context of a next-gen console wars showdown, what does Sony want from PSVR?
Well, it seems like Sony will be looking to take on markets that it doesn't already dominate. That means something more than just "the only mainstream console VR device."
To compete with recent developments in the VR world, Sony could be stuck looking at creating a stand-alone, all-in-one PSVR that can take on the Quest. Or, alternatively, they're waiting until Microsoft or Nintendo finally decide to have a stab at VR.
Either way, doesn't seem likely we'll see PSVR2 in the short term.