Going into Gamescom 2014, it was anyone’s guess as to just how large a role virtual reality (VR) would play at the show. Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) still didn’t quite seem ready to lift the lid on its Project Morpheus VR head-mounted display (HMD) and Oculus VR is just over a month away from its very own event, Oculus Connect, where more news on the Oculus Rift VR HMD is likely to be shared. Still, you could depend upon a range of developers currently working with either headset to talk a little bit more about their exciting projects.
And that, essentially, was VR’s Gamescom in a nutshell.
Hope of any news on Project Morpheus quickly came and went during SCE’s press conference on 12th August 2014, as the company’s Jim Ryan made almost the exact same nod towards the technology as SCE President Andrew House had done earlier in the year at E3. Still, attentive VR enthusiasts will no doubt have noticed several announcements that can be linked to VR. The most prominent was undoubtedly Q.U.B.E. 2, a first-person puzzle title that developer Toxic Box later confirmed would indeed support the headset.
Going on from there, White Paper Games finally pulled back the curtain on its long-rumoured PlayStation 4 version of Ether One, though Project Morpheus support is yet to be confirmed, while Oculus Rift-supported SNOW was also announced for the console. Again, in the long run these might prove to be significant announcements for Project Morpheus but right now it’s unclear. And while VRFocus has its own theory about the much-talked about P.T./Silent Hills really being a VR title, it was an expectedly quiet showing for the device at this year’s event.
Oculus VR wasn’t expected to make much noise either, though it was a bigger surprise to hear almost nothing from the company for the entire show. The company has made a habit of saving a few announcements, no matter how big or small, for popular videogame events throughout the year and you might have thought this could translate to a new high-profile hire or perhaps even a new title announcement at Gamescom, but it clearly wasn’t to be. Instead, Oculus VR simply enjoyed the chance to show off its tech to the public and even granted Vertigo Games access to its booth with World of Diving for the first time.
Out on the show floor plenty of developers could be found sporting an Oculus Rift as per usual. Right now it’s these teams that are keeping VR in the public eye at shows such at Gamescom, not (as) restricted by embargoes and NDAs that keep Palmer Luckey and Shuhei Yoshida from pouring their hearts out in every interview. That said, even these teams can’t talk much in the way of release dates until Oculus VR is ready to talk about its own big launch.
And with Gamescom’s doors shut for another it may well be that the last chance to hear more about Project Morpheus in 2014 has gone. Unless SCE has an unlikely reveal planned for the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) in September, there aren’t any high-profile events to detail to device left this year. As stated earlier, Oculus VR has Oculus Connect, but the nature of the announcements it will make here are still unknown.
Both Gamescom and E3 have proved to be somewhat quiet on the VR front, then. Already we may be looking to next year’s shows for the announcements we’ve all been craving.
‘VR vs’ is VRFocus’ weekly feature that takes an issue currently challenging the VR industry and discusses how to fix it. Looking at everything from the videogames in development to the strength of the technology, we highlight the problems and try to come up with the best solutions.