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Sony’s Andrew House on VR: ‘Presence is magical’

Today’s Develop Conference opened with a keynote featuring Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE) President and Group CEO, Andrew House, and Mark Cerny, lead architect on the PlayStation 4, talking about the life and times of the PlayStation brand. As the pair travelled along the timeline that reached from the creation of the SCE division at Sony to the launch of the PlayStation 4, attentions turned to the future of the brand and that inevitable disruption: virtual reality (VR).

While neither House nor Cerny was about to offer anything new on SCE’s plans for VR or Project Morpheus, both were enthusiastic about the technology. House in particular is clearly invested in VR as a future entertainment product under the PlayStation umbrella.

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“Transformative experiences is the key thing that we do as console manufacturers,” stated House early in the presentation.

Cerny, though seemingly also invested in VR, was realistic about the proposition. He argued that it could standalone, and noted in particular that the PlayStation 4 camera (which is required for Project Morpheus) didn’t need to be a standard for the platform to convince people that they should adopt it.

“The camera makes sense as an individual proposition. It does not need to be included with the hardware to be successful.” Stated Cerny bluntly.

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When questioned about the route PlayStation would take from this point, House out rightly stated that Project Morpheus was a key part of the plan. This, he suggested, wasn’t just the will of SCE and the PlayStation team, but rather the inevitable future for home entertainment.

“We think there are two or three potential directions our industry – our form of entertainment – may go.” States House, talking first about PlayStation Now then sensor technology, including wearables such as Project Morpheus.

“The technology is reaching that tipping point of something that delivers true presence… when that’s delivered it’s magical,” enthused House. “That ‘presence’ is something we want to pursue.”

A playable version of the Project Morpheus prototype is offered to Develop Conference attendees with the builds of The Deep and Street Luge that were previously showcased at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) last month. VRFocus will keep you updated with further comments on the technology offered by SCE throughout this week’s conference.