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PlayStation VR: The Game Developer’s Perspective

Shawn Layden's Avatar Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 // President, Sony Interactive Entertainment America | Chairman, SIE Worldwide Studios

By now you’ve probably heard the big news out of the annual Game Developers Conference — PlayStation VR launches this October for $399 US dollars.

We’ve spent the better part of a year talking about PlayStation VR from a largely technical perspective. But as cool as the technology is, it’s always going to be about the games. And that’s what has so many of us at PlayStation excited about the VR revolution. Because VR is going to change everything that we know about games, and even entertainment, on a fundamental level.

Everywhere I go I’m surrounded by veteran developers who are dazzled by the potential offered by PlayStation VR. I’ve invited some of them to provide their own perspective here:

RIGS Mechanized Combat League

“At Media Molecule we spend most of our effort making imaginary worlds that we want people to explore and, for a while, believe in. However there still remains a feeling that we stand on one side of the TV screen and these worlds are trapped on the other side, achingly out of reach.

“PlayStation VR lets us dissolve this barrier. The worlds we make then stop being something that you witness but something you experience.”

“For me, one of the most powerful aspects of PlayStation VR is the personal emotional connection we can create with game characters. Whether they are realistic or fantasy-looking, characters can look at you in the eyes, follow your movements, and react to your proximity in believable ways. That alone is mind-blowing and a huge evolution from traditional video games.”

“PlayStation VR is so inspiring for us as creators because it allows us to bring the experience of Until Dawn: Rush of Blood into the player’s personal space. Surrounding and immersing them completely in it and amplifying the emotion and intensity, especially for horror, way beyond what is possible via a TV screen. We can remove the barriers of interaction mechanics — this allows us to dissolve away pressing buttons and moving sticks and morph them into natural and intuitive actions for the player.”

Until Dawn Rush of Blood

“Day by day we are looking at original mechanics and concepts that force us to redefine many of our fundamental design philosophies. As gamers, PlayStation VR is providing us with new ways of both engaging and interacting with the medium and is fundamentally breaking the experiential barrier we’re conditioned to.

“We’re at an amazing moment in development charting new territory. We don’t really know where the limitations are and we’re probably only just seeing the tip of the iceberg in terms of opportunities.”

“I am inspired by the unique opportunity that VR brings in allowing us to take players and place them in the worlds we are creating. These become more than just digital environments but real places, where players explore and interact as they would in the world, creating immersion. With this level of immersion, when we put players on an emotional journey it is enhanced and becomes truly believable, triggering the experience of genuine strong emotions.”


Our third-party development partners are equally excited about the possibilities of VR game development and its potential to transform the DNA of gaming forever.

“VR allows developers, for the first time, to empower players to become actors inside of the experience. This sense of presence — combined with unique mechanics that VR hardware like PlayStation VR allows us to create — will lead to new gaming experiences that were previously either not practical, or simply not possible.

“At Red Storm we’ve focused our games on the concept of shared presence. When a group of players see each other’s real world movements reflected in real-time, they truly feel like they are playing right next to each other, even though in reality they may be half a world apart.”

“For me, it’s that look people get after they try PlayStation VR for the first time. You can see the thrill in their eyes, still marveling at what they just saw. And on top of that there’s also this… it’s like a sense of wonder, of awe at the possibilities… It’s that look — and helping make that experience possible — that’s what inspires me as a creator.”

Rez Infinite, Image 07Golem, Image 02

“Creating environments for games is about lighting, it’s about composition and leading the eye. You move this rock here and that column there until, you know… until it feels right. But in VR, you don’t have a frame, there’s no TV to frame the view.

“In VR the world is all around you, you can look anywhere and it all has to look composed and beautiful… so you have to get creative. You have to go back to real world architecture and design spaces that make sense to someone walking through them.”

“In a way, virtual reality is a total reset for developers. A typical, run-of-the-mill shooter set-piece — let’s say firing a tank turret while it drives off a cliff into an exploding blimp — would never work in VR. It’d be a cacophony, totally overwhelming, you wouldn’t be able to process it as anything but noise.

“But in VR even walking through an empty basement can be intense… on a TV that would be nothing, but when you are there… your skin starts to crawl, and when floorboard creaks behind you, your adrenal glands kick in, your fight-or-flight response takes over… it’s scary. As a designer, you have to recalibrate your expectations.”

EVE: Valkyrie

“At CCP our goal has always been to create the most meaningful virtual worlds. With the PlayStation VR we now have a fantastic tool to accomplish that goal in a way never before possible. When you play EVE: Valkyrie you are no longer a gamer staring at a television; you are a space fighter pilot. You are there, it is real.”

Thank you for joining us on the first step on our historic journey as a company and an industry.

//Add Your Own

40 Comments   1 Reply

1

+ Butters360 on March 16th, 2016 at 12:06 pm said:

Stoked and can’t wait.


     

    + Amnalehu on March 16th, 2016 at 12:08 pm said:

    I am also stoked! I am really happy to see so much support for the system!


     

    + trake12 on March 16th, 2016 at 3:03 pm said:

    Right there with u


2

+ sealum01 on March 16th, 2016 at 12:35 pm said:

I *love* these writeups! It’s nice to get direct feedback from developers. PSVR is an exciting developement for the entire industry. Its release timing is perfect — it will be an extremely hot product this holiday season!

And kudos to London Studio as they have finally advertised VR the *right* way, by superimposing the player into the virtual space. This accomplishes two things: 1) it gives the prospective customer an accurate idea of the experience of *being* in a VR world, and 2) it gives the commercial production team extreme-flexibility when framing shots or communicating an idea. This method of advertising is so much more effective than seeing a zoomed in face reacting whilst cutting back-and-fourth to game footage.


     

    + sealum01 on March 16th, 2016 at 12:36 pm said:

    *forth (please forgive any additional grammatical mistakes).


3

+ Elvick_ on March 16th, 2016 at 12:43 pm said:

Why is the Japan Studio quote in the 3rd party section?


    Shawn Layden's Avatar

     

    + Ryan Clements on March 16th, 2016 at 12:52 pm said:

    Great catch! Fixed.


4

+ trake12 on March 16th, 2016 at 12:46 pm said:

The only thing I hate is the wait we are getting for pre order information the uk has already started as has Canada why does the is always go last I hate that


5

+ KidGreengene on March 16th, 2016 at 12:55 pm said:

Just let me pre-order already!! :) Will there be some sort of announcement when NA pre-orders go into effect?


     

    + trake12 on March 16th, 2016 at 1:16 pm said:

    I know right it so annoying how they do one thing at a time here’s VR here’s VR finally date and price oh and everyone can preorder but the us u have to wait


     

    + trake12 on March 16th, 2016 at 1:35 pm said:

    I’m just so pumped I can’t wait


6

+ cjhill1836 on March 16th, 2016 at 1:26 pm said:

I think you guys nailed it with this one! The price and performance package is right where I was hoping. The new Sony way of listening to their core audience will pay big dividends here, just like with PS4. People are going to get this, love it, and the buzz will be through the roof. I hope you have a lot of production capacity!


7

+ zombie9 on March 16th, 2016 at 1:26 pm said:

Europe has not been able to pre-order anything yet check there blog if you don’t believe me. Also no date has been announced yet so until that happens NO one is going to be able to pre-order and this is a global launch Japan, Europe, and USA get them at the same time.
Heck I haven’t even seen all the games to decide which one I want to get at launch so Blog team keep those video’s cumming. O.W.N.


     

    + FireGuy13 on March 16th, 2016 at 2:57 pm said:

    Just because there isn’t a firm day set for October doesn’t mean they won’t put it up for preorder. Look at how most places do with undated games. Horizon for example is listed as 12/31/16 on GameStop and I believe Amazon, but it’s still available for preorder. All it needs is that place holder date (probably use 10/31/16) and the price, which they have, and in the system it goes.


     

    + trake12 on March 16th, 2016 at 3:03 pm said:

    I’m just saying why are they making us wait just let us preorder so u know how many to make it is simple


     

    + Lachoy on March 16th, 2016 at 3:08 pm said:

    Amazon UK as well as other UK game stores began pre-orders today at 11am GMT. They sold out in less ten minutes. German and New Zealand also started and finished pre-orders today.


     

    + Lachoy on March 16th, 2016 at 3:09 pm said:

    *Germany


     

    + trake12 on March 16th, 2016 at 4:33 pm said:

    See uk are lucky ☹


8

+ boomstickbhg on March 16th, 2016 at 1:34 pm said:

Wow, just imagine how pumped the devs would be if Sony ever developed actual VR, instead of this headset product they’re calling VR, despite still needing controllers, not including all 5 sense, etc..

If a wearable window into a Virtual world it getting such hype, VR would blow these people’s minds.


     

    + DARKSPARDA4 on March 16th, 2016 at 6:58 pm said:

    Please tell us when you release your full dive technology to the public. And please regale us with how all technology is released fully evolved. I mean it isn’t like it goes through generations. I mean we all had 4K extended color gamut TVs since TVs were first invented.


9

+ dmfarris90 on March 16th, 2016 at 2:03 pm said:

I loved playing VR at PSX! I can’t wait to have VR parties, by the way everyone at Playstation is invited! :) #GreatnessAwaits


10

+ max_wills555 on March 16th, 2016 at 2:29 pm said:

I think that this will be really good


11

+ zombie9 on March 16th, 2016 at 7:06 pm said:

German? pre-order never heard off it. I like mustard and beer though They make some MEAN sausage though some THAT good eating!!! O.WN.N.


12

+ Nasty3013 on March 16th, 2016 at 8:50 pm said:

Will you have to get a whole new console or will it be compatible with the ps4. Someone please help


     

    + RGS396 on March 16th, 2016 at 9:06 pm said:

    No you won’t need a new PlayStation 4.

    That would be VERY dumb of Sony if they required all 35 million+ PS4 owners to buy a new console.


     

    + richarlo23 on March 18th, 2016 at 11:38 am said:

    A PS4 system is required, as is a standalone PlayStation Camera. An optional extra is a PlayStation Move controller, which will work on some games.


13

+ WATERSTAND on March 16th, 2016 at 9:04 pm said:

I smell Kinect levels of failure with this VR stuff.


     

    + Mikeye98 on March 16th, 2016 at 10:40 pm said:

    I’m very excited for this new VR technology. The 100′ Robot Golf has my got my attention. And if No Man’s Sky is supported with VR, that would be phenomenal. Things like space shooters were meant for VR. And as far as I’m concerned, this is one of many first steps to getting a holodeck.


     

    + Fuhr31 on March 17th, 2016 at 4:21 pm said:

    I think VR will be really fun and exciting at first, then people will use it less but still talk it up because it’s more of a status symbol at that point and they still feel the need to justify their purchase. But after not too long it will sit and collect dust as the novelty wears off and people just want to chill on the sofa and play games, and VR will be an inconvenience.


14

+ rvsiqh on March 17th, 2016 at 4:25 am said:

I don’t think it will have a major impact on a adults besides some exercise games maybe a puzzle or two but will die out like Xbox I’m not even sure of the wands for Playstation or how well they did and the choice of games will their be enough…..


     

    + jgrizzle358 on March 17th, 2016 at 8:04 am said:

    “I don’t think it will have a major impact on a adults”

    VR horror games say “hi”


15

+ Reef1978 on March 17th, 2016 at 7:49 am said:

Can one of you devs clear something up for me? Today I’ve been reading that the PSVR only has 386 PPI? Surely this can’t be true? My phone screen is 565 PPI and I would consider that the absolute minimum you need for virtual reality. At 565 you still get the screen door effect so a screen that’s only 386 sounds absolutely horrible. I had fully intended to buy the PSVR until I read this. If I can try it out at a game store or something then I still might buy it, but if that really is the PPI then there is no way I’m buying it without being able to try it first. Tell me you guys can hide the pixels or that it’s not really 386.


16

+ silentkill152 on March 17th, 2016 at 11:46 am said:

I don’t know how I feel about this… It seems very cool but the price is outrageous for basically just a headset that goes over your head and you look into. I have heard people already complaining that VR makes them feel sick after using it sometimes or long periods of time, I’m not sure if I’ll be getting this because look what happened to the PlayStation Move which was horrible and not worth it and I have a feeling that VR will be a similar concept. I could be wrong but I will be waiting to see what happens first but not getting this anytime soon, I prefer a controller and looking at a TV anyways. Looking forward to see reviews and what people think about it when it hits the market.


17

+ S-A-Z-A-R on March 17th, 2016 at 12:13 pm said:

I really excited to try PSVR. But I really would like to see more games cause only 2 games peek my interest ( Rigs, and Robinson: Journey) that’s it. Hope we get to see more announcements at E3.


18

+ Fuhr31 on March 17th, 2016 at 4:14 pm said:

Will PS VR be included in the PS+ IGC?


19

+ everton247b on March 18th, 2016 at 9:11 am said:

Does anyone know if any vr games will let another player join in using the TV? It’s been hinted that rigs will have this.


20

+ josh261995 on March 18th, 2016 at 11:30 am said:

Cant wait to get my hands on it


21

+ oOUFAa81 on March 18th, 2016 at 5:49 pm said:

Eyes wide open


22

+ bucsfl2014 on March 19th, 2016 at 10:14 pm said:

WTF why should I wait until October when I can purchase an oculus rift for $599.99mand it comes with a built in headset and a controller, plus it does more then what the Sony vr. Oh, preorder is only limited for Sony vr. A,Aron states that Sony is concerned about not having enough ready to go in October that not all preorders will be fulfilled. Once again Sony wants the money, but they do not care about the player or the now. Hey why are you holding off, your original date was first quarter 2026. I guess you do not understand that the early bird gets the worm, or customers. Making players wate will cost you players, but since Sony thinks they no all, it is time for the players to by the oculus rift complete and start serious gaming in April, higher price is good because it will be complete. Sony way lose business.


     

    + bucsfl2014 on March 19th, 2016 at 10:15 pm said:

    Oops meant Amazon and 2016.


23

+ Renegade-X2 on March 29th, 2016 at 7:51 am said:

Man! I really want to get my hands on this and experience it for myself, but jumping job to job I can’t support my favorite hobby of playing games. I wish I could afford this day one, but I’ll have to wait until I get my 12th job to get this. I feel really offset by this because this does look so interesting to dive into.


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