Meta Quest 2 has brought the VR industry out of its slump. Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida thanks Meta for a “great job”.
Shuhei Yoshida was head of Sony’s global game studios for ten years and was instrumental in the development of Playstation VR. Since the end of 2019, he has been supporting Sony’s indie studios on behalf of the company.
Yoshida was a guest at the GI Live 2022 gaming conference these days and was invited to speak there, where he also talked about Playstation VR 2. Yoshida expressed his excitement about Sony’s upcoming VR headset, calling it “truly a next-gen experience”.
Meta is doing a great job according to Yoshida
According to Yoshida, the VR market is still small and growing. In 2016, there would have been a lot of hype around virtual reality when Sony and Oculus launched their first VR headsets. After that, the industry experienced a difficult time as investors lost interest and turned to other things.
A big VR fan, Yoshida acknowledges Meta’s involvement. “Thanks to Meta: they are doing a great job of promoting the Quest so more people are coming in to try VR for the first time,” Yoshida said.
Still, virtual reality is a growing market and only a “subset” compared to the console business, he said.
PSVR 2: focus on indies?
Yoshida’s thanks are justified: Looking back, Meta has almost single-handedly kept the consumer-facing side of the industry alive by creating a profitable ecosystem for developers over the past two or three years. The VR studios that have survived could play a critical role on Playstation VR 2, according to Yoshida.
“So there are big games like Horizon Call of the Mountain or Resident Evil Village. Yes, they are amazing, but it’s the Indies in my mind who really take a risk because they want to make games on VR.”
Hopefully, that doesn’t mean Sony is relying on indie for the most part.
The Metaverse hype, Yoshida continues, has brought new momentum and investment to the industry. We’ll see great VR games from VR publishers who have learned a lot in the meantime and have new resources to implement their plans.
The thanks are mutual
It’s interesting to ask what Sony’s VR strategy would have looked like if Meta Quest 2 hadn’t been such a resounding success. Would Sony have dared a second attempt with Playstation VR 2 or rather refrain from it, since VR studios would have turned away from the medium in the meantime? We will probably never know.
In any case, Meta will be relieved that Sony is back on top and also investing in virtual reality. The thanks should be mutual.
Below are Shuhei Yoshida’s translated statements in full.
“You may know that I was heavily involved in the development of the original PlayStation VR and I had the role of promoting the system when we launched in 2016, so I’m a huge VR fan.
I don’t know if you have tried it, but when you try PSVR2 it’s truly a next-gen experiencewhich we are super excited about.
But the VR market is still small and growing. Thanks to Meta: they are doing a great job of promoting the Quest, so more people are coming in to try VR for the first time. But still, compared to console gaming, it’s a subset and a growing market.
When the industry sees this opportunity in something really truly exciting from a technical standpoint or the gameplay standpoint, but the market is small, what happens is: it’s the indies, they’ve been waiting to make VR games since the prior VR boom in the 1990s.
They’ve been waiting for this technology, like Mizuguchi-san (Developer of Rez Infinite & Tetris Effect), to become available for them to make games. So, there are big games like Horizon Call of the Mountain or Resident Evil Village. Yes, they are amazing, but it’s the Indies in my mind who really take a risk because they want to make games on VR.
There was a big hype around PSVR and Oculus when we launched around the same time back in 2016, but after a couple of years investors moved on to something different so there was a very difficult time in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
But there are Indie publishers and VR developers who survived this difficult period, and they’ve been releasing new games in VR, and they’ve been developing this knowledge and experience on how to use this new tech, and they are making better and better games.
Now with the Metaverse, the investments are returning and some of them now are getting lots of money invested and becoming publishers to help other developers as well. You will see great VR games coming out from these now re-energized, enlarged, and re-invested VR publishers.”