Even looking from within the ever-expanding VR bubble, it’s easy to understand why the tech has so many sceptics. There are of course the more common concerns about pricing and accessibility but more worrying are the string of disappointments in the console peripheral market, the bitter memories of which still linger in many minds. Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE’s) efforts with the PlayStation Move controller on PlayStation 3 came up lacking and it’s hard not to remember the aggressive push the company made for 3D TVs without biting your tongue.
The list goes on; PlayStation Mobile recently shut its doors after just a few years of operation, for example, and can you remember the Wonder Book? It’s easy, then, for anyone to look at Project Morpheus, SCE’s upcoming VR head-mounted display (HMD) for PlayStation 4, with doubts. The arguments levelled at the kit are mainly founded upon PlayStation Move’s issues, with many citing the possible lack of software starving it.
One can see how any concerned gamer would arrive at that assumption. Here’s the thing, though; Project Morpheus isn’t going to suffer a software drought. It’s not. It might be overpriced, it might come out too late, it might release with unforeseen issues, but software is one area that SCE knows it doesn’t have to worry. In fact, the first Project Morpheus titles are already available, you just don’t know it yet.
Though it could well make a comeback with the arrival of the HMD, PlayStation Move struggled because it was hugely dependent on developers making original, exclusive content for it. A few Wii ports saw release but, otherwise, the unique motion controller was all on its own without much incentive for developers to work on it. That’s not the same story with Project Morpheus.
The Oculus Rift is already well-supported on PC, even before its full consumer release. Developers are flocking to the device to create original content. The same goes for the HTC Vive, set for release this year. SCE has done a tremendous job making the PlayStation 4 a far more open platform than its predecessors, allowing just about anyone to develop for the console. Put two and two together and what do we have? A console ecosystem where it’s very easy for VR developers working on both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive to bring their titles over to Project Morpheus.
You can already see this hugely beneficial system at work; Tammeka Games is bringing its popular sci-fi racing experience, Radial-G, to PlayStation 4 later in the year and has made no secret about its intentions to add in Project Morpheus support once the kit hits in 2016.
Not only that but there are titles already out on the console that, while haven’t confirmed that Project Morpheus support is incoming, VR support on PC makes them ideal candidates. Oculus Rift compatible puzzler Q.U.B.E. hit the console this week, while VR adventure title Ether One arrived on PlayStation Plus a few months back. Meanwhile, teams such as Bossa Studios have flat out confirmed that their already-released projects – in this case Surgeon Simulator – will be seeing Project Morpheus support in the future.
Indie developers such as Vanguard V’s Justin Moravetz has spoken about how easy porting titles from Oculus Rift to Project Morpheus is. If Oculus VR or Valve doesn’t have a hand in publishing a VR title on their respective platforms then there’s a good chance it could also show up on Project Morpheus. Even Gear VR titles are making the transition from mobile to console.
That’s why SCE doesn’t need to worry about securing software for Project Morpheus. Yes its first-party teams will be providing some great content for the device while it struggles to get larger third-party in, but even without those elements the device is set to have a healthy software library. So if you’re sampling the PlayStation Store this week and think you might like to play through The Vanishing of Ethan Carter, maybe hold off for just a few more months.