Hello again readers of words, to another week on VR vs. My little column where I dispense my thoughts on all things going on in virtual reality (VR), and my goodness have you heard? It’s all over. Pack up the big top, give the clowns their pink slips and try and get a good price for the elephants on eBay. It’s all over. VR is done. Which is kind of a pity for me personally since my employment is sort of… linked to it.
Well damn. That sucks.
There is one little silver lining throughout all of this utter sledgehammer of a revelation: that this is the same thing that has been professed every week since the back half of 2014 (as well as somewhat more accurately the back half of 1995). But who cares about that fact when we people can cry that the end of VR is nigh! Run for the hills folks!
In all seriousness it amuses me no end because VR it seems operates under Newton’s third law: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So for every person who says this is the year of VR there is someone saying this is the year it is done. Want a great example? There were two really passionate comments on last week’s VR vs. about Palmer Luckey – one said he certainly deserves another chance and has much to give. The other pretty much said he was the worst thing ever and was glad to see the back of him.
Of course those are opinions and the wax and wane with the information available for the most part. This last week we had two stories that brought out all the old comments on the sites I check up on. Stories we’ve of course covered here on VRFocus. I’m actually going to split this VR vs. up into two parts as a result, because hey – why not let’s look at both.
The first was that Sony were looking at bringing the PlayStation VR to locoation-based experiences in Japan. Because, according to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) , “people familiar with the matter” informed them that the PlayStation VR had taken “hold among consumers at a slower-than-expected pace”.
Naturally this brought out all the same old favourites in the various comment sections about the “death of the fad”. (Incidentally, why is it when these people compare VR to something it’s always something with 1/10th the games VR currently has? Y’know, at least be realistic.) Except, I’m not overly sure the people familiar with the matter… were entirely familiar with the matter. Because whilst Sony gave no details as to the group’s role, WSJ might not have noticed but VR is very in vogue within the “location-based entertainment” or “out-of-home” sector. There are specific fairs, conventions and expos for this area absoutely flooded with VR at the moment. It’s everywhere. There are VR arcades popping up. VR event spaces. Heck not a month goes by at the moment without a VR theme park ride, or roller coaster being discussed.
Speaking of which you should certainly check out Nina’s thoughts on the revamped Derren Brown’s Ghost Train – something I actually gave my thoughts on back when it was launched. (Spoiler: it was “ehhh” then and it is “ehhh” now.)
There’s money to be made here and in my opinion Sony would be foolish to ignore it. Especially when those theme park rides and roller coasters are using the Oculus Rift… and the HTC Vive… and the Samsung Gear VR. Basically all of their big rivals are involved in the area and it would be a weirder if Sony decided to pass up on scoring some extra spondulix.
Don’t believe me? You should probably check out Kevin Williams’ article series, The Virtual Arena, on – you guessed it – VRFocus. He works specifically in this sector. In fact it’d be interesting to get his thoughts on Sony entering the location-based space.
As for sales being slower-than-expected, let’s just take a quick reminder at the state of play in Japan at the end of January where punters were queueing up for the chance – yes, the chance – to buy a PlayStation VR. They needed to win a freaking raffle just to be able to be able to buy the stock. Queuing up all night in some places. PlayStation VR launched in October, and at the end of January this was happening. Mostly because Sony have been somewhat overccautious on stock. So saying they are somehow disappointed, when they are, to their surprise actually tracking above their goal… I mean… What exactly are they supposed to be doing numbers wise for things to be okay according to these people? Were these numbers cooked up by the same person from Square Enix who said that Tomb Raider wouldn’t be seen as successful by the company unless it sold five million copies, or something?
In any case, my point is sometimes not everything is as bad as it seems. And that someone is currently writing an opinion piece somewhere on how everything is actually worse.
Damn you Newton. Damn you!
Look forward to next week’s VR vs. where I’ll be going over the reaction to the other story. Here’s a preview: