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SCEE’s Ranyard on VR: ‘You get a genuinely emotional experience’

Today’s Evolve in Brighton conference saw virtual reality (VR) take centre stage as a highlight of the event just as it has with a number of international videogame industry show this year. Along with a talk from nDreams’ Patrick O’Luanaigh earlier in the day, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe’s (SCEE) David Ranyard, London Studio Director, spoke about the strengths of VR and the potential future of the PlayStation 4’s Project Morpheus.

The talk began earnestly as Ranyard discussed the distance that London Studio have travelled in order to become involved in Project Morpheus. Technical innovations in products such as SingStar, EyeToy Play and the PlayStation 3’s Wonderbook proved the studio as a software developer and for Project Morpheus the migration was for all accounts reasonably smooth. However, it’s not the fact that his studio are going to be pioneers in the field that excites Ranyard. It’s the fact that there’s a field at all:

“The thing about VR is you get an actual genuine emotional reaction,” states Ranyard. “Because it’s you in VR… it’s an absolute physical experience.”

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Throughout the talk Ranyard repeatedly stated that VR is not something that can be either developed or experienced on a whim. It’s a new form of entertainment and must be addressed as such by developers and consumers; it’s not a videogame spin-off, but rather a new type of content that uses the same platforms.

“It is very different; when you play a normal videogame you’re looking through a window onto a world… whereas now you put on [Project] Morpheus and you’re right in the middle of it.” States Ranyard. “We’ve got to design games in a different way for [Project] Morpheus and VR.”

Ranyard’s team has developed a number of the technical demonstrations that are regularly shown with Project Morpheus, including The Deep and Street Luge, both of which are offered to attendees of the Develop Conference in Brighton this week. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on these and other titles from London Studios.