Is VR Taking Over E3
This year at E3 2016, one of the biggest announcements from Sony Entertainment was their release of the PSVR (Playstation Virtual Reality) headset that will work with not only the Playstation 4, but with a number of virtual reality games that were also announced during E3.
On the show floor, I was quick to notice how much presence VR had this year at E3. I would say roughly 70% of the show was VR related. VR headsets were available in one form or another. Mostly Sony was pushing the PSVR with title’s such as Farpoint, Batman Arkham, Resident Evil 7 Biohazard, Here They Lie, among many other games. Besides the PSVR, there were VR headsets a plenty; everywhere we went there was a VR headset in one form or another. Also during Microsoft's announcement of their next console, Project Scorpio they said they were building it to support VR games that required such specs. The message I got from E3 this year was loud and clear: embrace the VR technology in all size and form. This message was made more apparent by the booth, Naughty America, which is an adult entertainment company bringing X-rated videos into the VR realm. We passed by on the last day to see what everyone was talking about and we saw a crowd waiting to demo the video. I couldn't see what headset they were using but just the fact the adult entertainment industry is testing the waters with VR says a lot. Porn has always favored the most popular format of media that consumers have chosen, from VHS over Beta Max and Blu-ray over HD-DVD and now we see them tackle VR.
I believe that VR is getting close to being a household item. We have seen some elaborations of this technology being tampered with since the Nintendo Virtual Boy, to the Microsoft Kinect, Playstation Move to even motion controllers. With consoles becoming more and more common in a typical household, and gaming being family entertainment, the next step is to bring all these together into a full 360 experience such as the PSVR or the Occulus Rift with the Microsoft Scorpio.
The only obstacle now is not the games but the price tag of all the hardware. With Playstation 4 being a three to almost four-year-old system, I have my doubts with its compatibility with the big titles such as Resident Evil 7 and Star Wars Battlefront. The rumored PS4K, or PS4 Neo, has no official release announcement but would most likely be necessary for the most immersive VR experience. The PSVR is marketed at $399.99 and is announced to be released on October 13 this year. Will this move pay out? Pre-order sales say yes by selling out at most retailers already. The PSVR bundle is promoted to come with a headset, and a camera. Will people choose console VR headsets over PC VR headsets? Or will this be another Virtual Boy fad?