I was fortunate enough to get to interview Shuhei Yoshida during E3 back in 2016. Back then, there were still a lot of doubts about VR gaming. While it isn't a household item yet, the relatively cheaper price of the PSVR helped in making VR gaming slightly more accessible to the market.
This is an excerpt of a story I wrote for Rappler from that interview:
On PSVR pricing
Producing great exclusive titles is not the only impressive factor that can compel gamers to buy into the PSVR. The price of the device itself is cheaper than other devices on the market and many wonder how Sony managed to pull it off.
Yoshida explained that aside from their extensive experience in creating hardware, the fact that they have developed the PSVR to stand alongside the PS4 has given them the advantage.
"Because we've been making hardware for the longest time we have a very strong engineering design team who created the PSVR. Also, the PSVR and PS4 were developed side-by-side so we designed PS4 and PSVR to work really well together, to have a very tight integration,” he said.
Yoshida also said that they have developed the PSVR with the same approach as the PS4 in which they developed all parts of the system so that they can have high end performance hardware while lowering the retail cost.
PSVR’s next step
If you are already thinking about how the cycle of VR devices will go, you can expect that it will take a longer while for the “next-gen” VR device to come into play. It’s not just because this is only the first year of VR gaming.
Sony wants to start strong with their first VR device. Despite its low cost, the PSVR’s specs aren’t to be looked down upon. Its OLED display is 1080p and it has a high frame rate of 120 FPS. And because it has been built for the PS4, we can expect more stable graphic and gameplay performance.
With that said, Yoshida believes that the current PSVR can last a long time before it needs to be upgraded.
“I think PSVR is an amazing system and like I said, with 1080p and a 120 hertz high performance OLED display, you can make amazing experiences for many, many years. I think in the couple of years there are a lot more that can be made using VR,” he explained.
However, just because we won’t be looking at a device upgrade anytime soon, doesn’t mean that we can’t expect more changes to the way we play with the PSVR. Yoshida said that there are a lot of things that can still be done to improve the interface and controls. Giving one of their latest VR games, Far Point, as an example he stated that “there are a lot that can be done to add to the experience of each title.”
“For Far Point we developed a specific gun controller that when you see your amazing looking space gun and you can feel the touch of the peripheral, it really creates a sensation that you are within the world. So more and more efforts will be made to create some specific title experiences.”
It’s easy to raise so many questions about the PSVR and VR gaming itself as majority of the market is yet to try the device and the titles that come with it. But with what we’ve seen and experienced so far at E3 2016 and at events prior to that, we’ll have to agree with Yoshida. VR gaming is here, and it’s here to stay.