Videogame industry analyst Michael Pachter is known for making bold predictions and statements about the latest hardware and software developments. Last year saw the outspoken figure turn his attention towards virtual reality (VR) as he labelled the Project Morpheus head-mounted display (HMD) a ‘bad idea’ for creator Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) shortly after its reveal. It seems as if Pachter has changed his mind somewhat since then, as he has recently stated that the device could prove as successful as the once-popular Guitar Hero franchise.
Pachter said as much in a recent edition of Gametrailer’s Bonus Round panel show, filmed at last year’s PlayStation Experience fan event in Las Vegas, Nevada. Talking to SCE’s Adam Boyes and Scott Rhode, the analyst recalled: “I remember in 2005, going down into Kentia Hall and I see this line of 800 people who want to play Guitar Hero. And those guys were my friends and I’m like: “This is amazing.” And they’re like “Yeah and it looks like we’re going to sell 200,000 units.” And I’m like “Sell the company, get it while it’s good.””
“But obviously Guitar Hero turned into something that was 10s of millions,” Pachter continued, directly addressing both Boyes and Rhode. “So it was, at one point, a $200 peripheral. So sure, this could end up being that big. I think you really need to capture the public’s imagination the way they did and you might. You’re not going to do it saying ‘museum tour’, I get that.” It didn’t appear as if Pachter’s comments are also referring to Oculus VR and it’s Oculus Rift PC HMD.
It’s easy to forget that Guitar Hero was once one of the most popular franchises in the videogame industry, with players using plastic guitar-shaped peripherals to mimic playing their favourite songs. No doubt the VR industry as a whole has ambitions to surpass the popularity of this phenomenon, although perhaps for Project Morpheus itself this is a reasonable comparison. Of course, SCE will also be hoping to avoid the steep decline the series and the music genre suffered as a whole, with no entries in the once annual franchise since 2010.
As for Project Morpheus itself, details on pricing and launch dates are yet to be revealed, though hopefully they’ll arrive in 2015. VRFocus will continue to follow the technology closely, reporting back with any further updates on it.