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Sony on VR: ‘It’s very important that players know what they’re going to get’

Virtual reality (VR) isn’t yet at a point where the technology is indistinguishable from real life, but it’s good enough to trick users into making human reactions. For horror experiences and intense action, VR can be an incredibly visceral thing. It’s important, then, that players head in to a VR experience knowing that they’ll get out of it. That is according to Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), the company behind the upcoming PlayStation VR head-mounted display (HMD) for the PlayStation 4.

PlayStation VR headset

Speaking at a session titled ‘An insight into PlayStation VR game design’, SCE Senior Designer Jed Asforth noted that new users treat VR like real life, thus it’s important they’re prepared for what they’re getting into. “It’s very important in VR that the player knows what they’re going to get,” he said.

“If you get a new user going into VR the experience isn’t like a videogame, it’s like real life. With a lot of new users coming into VR they think ‘oh this is like real life’. However what we found is if you frame it like a videogame you get a different reaction.”

Ashforth then used an example of putting a zombie into an experience unexpectedly, and how this could be a challenge for the user unless the experience was actually framed as a videogame. “By setting those expectations then the players will have the right reactions and it won’t end up with taking the headset off and rejecting it,” he explained.

PlayStation VR itself is set to release in the first half of this year. Stay tuned to VRFocus for the latest on VR technology.