While the entire industry’s attention will be pointed at Sony’s anticipated ‘Future of Innovation at PlayStation’ panel today, the concentration of one company in particular will be a little sharper than everyone else. Oculus VR, the technology upstart behind PC-based headset Oculus Rift, may have spearheaded the current virtual reality revolution – but it stands to have its mindshare monopoly wiped away in a few short hours if the Japanese giant’s rumoured headset puts in an appearance as expected.
Speaking with IGN at the Game Developers Conference, a smiling Nate Mitchell indicated that the firm’s not overly worried about what the manufacturer announces – as long as it’s good. “We haven’t seen the Sony product yet,” he said. “We don’t know what it looks like, or if they’re even going to make an announcement. I think for us, we’ve tried to assemble one of the best virtual reality teams in the world, and I think that we’ve absolutely achieved that.”
The executive explained that its well regarded payroll – which includes former id founder John Carmack – has been formulated in order to solve the many problems that face virtual reality. “We’re really hopeful that [Sony] do it right,” he added. “What we don’t want is for someone to rush an experience out of the door, and deliver something that is sub-par. It’s taken us a while to get there, so we expect that it’s taking other people a while, too.”
Despite this, Mitchell continued that it will be good for the entire medium if the PlayStation maker does virtual reality well. “We’re all about having more people involved in the space,” he beamed. “The more developers are excited about virtual reality and the bigger the audience is, the more likely they are to build content. So, having a major player get behind virtual reality in a big way opens the door for more developers.”
But while that’s a reasonable response, isn’t the firm worried that the mainstream nature of the Japanese giant’s brand may steal some of Oculus Rift’s thunder? “The two can co-exist," he concluded. "The people that get involved with a PlayStation virtual reality experience may be different to those on a PC experience, so in that sense we see this as potentially bringing more people into the ecosystem, and getting more people excited. As long as the momentum continues to build, that’s aligned with our mission.”
Sony’s solution will supposedly be compatible with the PlayStation 4, and will enable full head tracking just like the previously mentioned device. This means that you’ll be able to physically crane your neck in order to examine virtual worlds, with your viewpoint changing depending on the angle of your head. We’ll hopefully know a lot more about the peripheral later today – and we’ve no doubt that Mitchell and his colleagues are already working on a response.