Playstation, widely known for traditional video games such as Madden, Call of Duty, and FIFA, is now venturing into the virtual reality world with Playstation VR. Playstation has come out with a VR headset that allows the gamer to be immersed in the gaming experience. In addition to the headset, the Playstation VR comes with two items you hold in your hands so the system can track your movements. Right now, Playstation VR is advertising first-person shooting games. However, there are questions around having people in a virtual reality setting murdering people and things. Does the fact that this is a VR setting as opposed to just playing on traditional television make this a markedly different moral dilemma? Unclear. As the experience gets more and more life-like, I do believe that there will have to be some moral standards about what killing people and things in video games can and should look and feel like.
Xbox, a Microsoft owned company and major competitor to Playstation, has announced that they will join the fray and launch a mixed reality product soon. I wonder if the head start Playstation has on getting the actual headset out there first will be a first mover advantage and make it hard for Xbox and Microsoft to recover in this area.
Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are two additional competitors in the VR gaming market. Playstation VR is about $100 cheaper than Oculus Rift and $300 cheaper than the HTC Vive. The main weakness of the Playstation VR is that it has a single camera that determines your motion. Other solutions have multiple cameras to do this, and with just the one camera for the Playstation VR, gamers say that they are consistently bumping up against the boundaries of the game (especially with the controllers they hold in their hands). Additionally, any sort of turning your back to the camera is out of the question as the camera will lose sight of the controllers and not be able to function correctly. Having multiple cameras can enable this type of feature.
One thing on my mind when it comes to gaming is the fact that gamers are often playing the games with friends via the internet, but are not actually physically present with their friends. Having friends over to play video games together was a staple interaction for many people during childhood, but now kids are not interacting physically – maintaining relationships strictly via the internet. Virtual reality will surely only build on this, as gameplay with virtual reality takes up more room than traditional gaming so people playing in the same physical space will be tougher. On the other hand, if the virtual reality technology becomes so good it eventually could feel identical to having someone physically present with you.
Interestingly, Playstation VR has made the choice to show on the TV, whatever the person is seeing while wearing the VR headset. This provides an opportunity to make this a social experience as well. Will stay tuned to see what happens next in the surefire future of VR gaming.