Sony Will Win The VR War on The PS5

Virtual Reality has finally gone from a pipe dream, to something you can buy and experience on a PlayStation console. Competition has been fierce from the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but Microsoft has been lagging behind in this department. Meanwhile, more and more companies are coming out with epic experiences on PlayStation VR as the catalog grows by the week. Recent sales numbers are showing strong adoption of this new hardware, and while Microsoft is finally discussing VR in more detail, it’s clear that Sony is ahead of the pack. When PS5 releases, it will have the power (and possibly the VR headset) to beat them all. Join us as we look at all the evidence pointing to a future where Sony rules the VR playing field. PlayStation VR Selling Strong, Competition is Lagging After its launch in the final months of 2016, everyone wanted to know how PlayStation VR was selling. Would it soar high and break Sony’s track record of under-performing peripherals (sorry PlayStation Move)? There were plenty of naysayers who wanted to shoot it down, but in early 2017, Sony started talking numbers. Andrew House, global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, spoke with The New York Times and mentioned some specifics about the sales of their VR headset and how they stacked up against expectations. Andrew House himself was concerned about how quickly the market would jump on the VR bandwagon: “It’s the classic case in any organization, the guys who are on the front end in sales are getting excited, very hyped up. You have to temper that with other voices in the company, myself among them, saying let’s just be a little bit careful.” They decided not to manufacture as many as you would expect, and as a result, there was a major shortage in stores everywhere, Japan especially. During his interview with The New York Times, Andrew House revealed that as of February 19th, 2017, PSVR had sold 915,000 headsets in four months since launch. The internal goals for Sony were a million headsets in the first six months. Andrew House mentioned in his interview that “You literally have people lining up outside stores when they know stock is being replenished,” when he was describing the atmosphere in Japan. Clearly Sony is set to meet or exceed these expectations. These numbers also place Sony at the forefront of VR success. In terms of premium headsets, PlayStation VR is the lowest price point at $399. While Oculus, Facebook, and HTC haven’t shared their sales numbers yet, research from SuperData Research has estimate that Oculus Rift sold about 243,000 and HTC Vive sold 420,000 by the end of 2016. Comparing all of this to other technology launches, one of the most successful launches was the iPhone first three months in 2007 in which it sold 1.4 million units. On the software side of things, Sony is enjoying massive engagement with VR since the launch of Resident Evil 7, which supported the entire game in … Read More

Virtual Reality is The Future (Sorry 4K TVs)

When a new technology emerges, it can go one of two ways: either it will claim a place in the halls of gaming greatness, or it will be doomed to fade into history. We’ve seen it time and time again. HD-DVD vs Blu-ray, motion controllers vs standard inputs, and so on. Now we’re in an age where your TV can have 4K resolution, and if you’re really feeling lucky you can also have a virtual reality headset. Virtual reality is nothing new, but this is the first time we’ve seen it hit a mainstream stride. In fact, the concept of VR has been around since the 1980’s when the term was first coined. Quite a fad to have lasted this long, but that does that mean that this attempt will be the one that sticks? Will the steady advancements in VR finally win over the masses? Join me as we discuss the future of gaming. A Brief History of Virtual Reality According to the Virtual Reality Society, virtual reality was a term that came into the public eye in 1987 when a scientist named Jaron Lanier coined the term. The concept became the focus of science fiction and other forms of film and literature as time went on. We all remember Nintendo’s foray into this realm with the Virtual Boy in 1995. After numerous headaches (quite literal ones), this attempt flopped. Since then, virtual reality has still appeared in all kinds of fictional work, but beyond some amusement park rides, it didn’t seem like something that would ever come home. I remember my first experience with VR at the popular Disney Quest attraction. Looking back, I realize how crude this technology was, but man was it awesome. It was pretty uncomfortable, though, as the headset was huge and the only sizing option was a massive crank on the back of the device that squeezed your head like it was in a vice. Jump forward to 2016 and virtual reality has finally come to fruition. You have the higher-tiers like the HTC Vive that, combined with the cost of a capable PC, will cost you one of your kidneys, and then you have the slightly less expensive Oculus Rift. Sony came out with PlayStation VR in October of 2016 and brought the most affordable option to the masses. It works with your PS4 and even better with a PS4 Pro. While still expensive, it brings real VR to your living room. Yes, the screen isn’t 4K, but we’ll get to that in a moment. At this point, VR is still very young in terms of a mainstream option. Meanwhile you have wildcards like augmented reality and Microsoft’s HoloLens. Not only that, but now Microsoft is bringing Windows 10 VR headsets out from a variety of partners. While it certainly seems like major publishers like Sony and Microsoft are all embracing VR, along with the mobile options from Google and Samsung, is this a clear sign that VR is here to stay? … Read More

Call of Duty? More Like Call of Destiny: The Future of FPS

First person shooters, abbreviated as FPS, is a genre that has taken over gaming. The biggest franchises are all presented through the eyes of the protagonist. Whether it’s fighting a future war, or waging and old one, this genre represents billions of dollars for the industry each and every year. That being said, it’s clear that gamers are starting to get fatigued. The latest Call of Duty trailer has the most dislikes of any trailer ever, while the Battlefield 1 trailer has the most. What does this mean? What’s the future of FPS games? Time to find out! The State of the Union These days, if you walk into a video game store, you’re going to find more varieties of first person shooters then flavors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Several of them have annual releases, and others spend several years incubating before they are released. Among all of these shooters, competitive online multiplayer represents one of the biggest motivations for gamers to pick up a copy. Personally I play for story, not for keeps, but to each their own. I can’t deny the popularity of multiplayer in today’s FPS games. Take Blizzard’s new IP Overwatch. This game is a team-based competitive shooter. No campaign, no storyline (except for one told through videos outside the game). All of this, and people eat it up like it’s made of gold. There’s no denying the popularity of it. Some games have taken this to the next level. Destiny, for example, is a hybrid MMO-shooter that is always online and always getting new updates, events, and expansions. The publisher, Activision, wants the game to last ten years and plans to keep it updated all the while. While not first person, Ubisoft’s The Division is another game that has blurred the line between a massively multiplayer game and a shooter. While these are in the minority now, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that more shooters will take this hybrid approach and keep people online with their friends throughout the experience. The FPS genre is in a state of experimentation right now. It’s unsure of where to go next, so it’s dipping toes into all kinds of new ventures. Some work better than others, but it’s clear that innovation is in order. I could be something as simple as a setting change (looking at you Battlefield 1, WWI certainly is a change of pace). Or, it could be a move towards more integrated, massively multiplayer experiences. Throw in the rise of virtual reality, and you have the recipe for change. New mechanics and cool settings aside, where is all of this going? It’s time to look at the paths that the first person shooter genre could take. Where Do We Go From Here? 3 Ways FPS Games Could Change Forever I’m no time traveler, but I see a few ways this can all go down. When it comes time for the PS5, what will the average FPS look like? How will it … Read More

The PS4.5 would be Bad: Sony Should Focus Efforts on the PS5

We’ve already covered rumors about the PS4.5 here on PS5 Gamers, and whether or not Sony is stalling for time, but now that these rumors have become more prevalent, I’m starting to get a little annoyed. Another round of rumors has stated that the announcement of this new console could come before the launch of PlayStation VR in October 2016. Okay guys, it was fun at first, but this needs to stop. We don’t need a PS4.5, it’s a waste of time. In my opinion Sony should be working on then next quantum leap in gaming, not a mild step forward that will ultimately cause more problems than it solves. Whether you agree or not, read on and I’ll tell you why. Why I think the PS4.5 is a BAD Idea! The PS4.5 is (thankfully) still a heavy rumor, but as more time goes on, it’s becoming apparent that Sony is seriously considering this. We don’t have details on what it will do, how much it will cost, and whether or not it will have exclusive titles, but these possibilities even existing is troubling to say the least. Justin Mikos posted an article on Game Informer where he mirrored my concerns about these rumors. In his article, Justin makes an excellent point about the whole argument for 4K gaming. Right now the PS4 supports 4K videos and pictures, but not games. Part of these PS4.5 rumors state that the system will support 4K gaming. There’s a few problems with that: Most PS4 games don’t hit 1080p/60 FPS because they use other resources for graphics and effects (excellent point by Justin) 4K gaming requires a significant hardware jump (which means more cost) 4K TVs aren’t mainstream Increased file sizes for 4K games would raise the hard drive space needed Developers don’t want or need the extra work PS4.5 exclusive games would shatter the market The entire point of consoles, is to provide a one-size-fits-all solution that you won’t need to upgrade for a significant amount of time. Introducing another, more powerful PS4 mid-cycle will ruin the appeal of consoles as people will feel the need to upgrade, especially if new games run poorly on the PS4. Combine this with the release of the PlayStation VR this year, and you have way too many moving parts for consumers. With the PS5 slated for 2020, the last thing we need is a confusing crack in the market during the final stretch of the PS4’s lifecycle. Furthermore, if the PS4.5 is truly designed to offer increased VR experiences, this puts even more strain on developers who have been creating games based on the PS4’s hardware. We’ve already seen how bad of an idea this is with the New 3DS which is Nintendo’s more powerful handheld. It may run games better, but titles like Super Smash Bros. and Hyrule Warriors: Legends run horribly on the older hardware, thus leaving those owners out of the loop. Sony has enjoyed massive success thus far with PS4 sales, … Read More

PS5 Begins Rolling Out Before 2020? PlayStation VR is the Missing Link

For the longest time we’ve been under the assumption that the PS5 will release in 2020, but new rumors are making it sound like the PS5 isn’t that far away. In fact, it’s looking like the first signs of the PS5 will start appearing at the end of 2016 when PlayStation VR arrives in October. I know what you’re thinking, what does a virtual reality headset have to do with the PS5? Ladies and gents, it is (or will be) the PS5! I know, your mind just got blown, but I’ve looked at the factors and considered the rumors and it’s all starting to make sense. Read on as we discuss the evidence and signs that the next generation game experience from Sony is coming much sooner than we all thought. 4 Reasons Why PlayStation VR Represents the First Stage of PS5’s Launch Let’s assume that PlayStation VR is the first step in an ongoing rollout leading to the PS5. What would that mean? Are we looking at a VR only console? Will there even be a console? When will Sony stop beating around the bush and call it a PS5? Questions without answers my friends, but the clues are lying in wait. You simply have to look in the right places. Here are four reasons that suggest the PS5 and the PS VR headset are one and the same: 1. PS5 is a Cloud-Based Console We’ve discussed the prospect of a prospect of a cloud-based console on PS5 Gamers before, but the signs have been growing stronger and stronger. It started with PlayStation Now, a cloud streaming service that is best described as Netflix streaming, but for video games. While that service hasn’t exactly taken off, it’s not going anywhere either. It’s paired with a gaming culture that is slowly pushing digital downloads over discs. It’s likely that the PS5, if it is a console, will have an optical drive for the sake of making people happy, but who will use it in that scenario? How often do you download games instead of going out and buying them at launch? When we stop to think about it, we’re being conditioned to prefer digital content and furthermore we’re being taught to prefer things like streaming over downloads. And why not? It’s more convenient, except when the internet goes down. Still, the world is embracing the change faster than we ourselves realize. Is it some grand conspiracy theory, or is this truly what we want? The answer is still up in the air, and that’s why Sony is taking this route. It’s clear, judging by PlayStation Now, that Sony likes the idea of a streaming game service. They wouldn’t have invested so much time into it otherwise. Sony is good about testing the waters before they push out a new product. They still have their flops, but mostly the gradual introduction of new hardware like PlayStation VR and new services like PS Now gives them the opportunity to test the waters. … Read More

AMD Planning to Bring 5X Performance on PS5

A large part of the console war is the struggle for power. We love to argue about which system is going to be more powerful. Take the arguments for this current generation for example. The debate over Xbox games being 900p and the PS5 games being 1080p threw tons of fuel onto an already raging fire. It doesn’t matter if you’re a PC gamer or a console gamer. Either way, you’re going to want the most power possible. Deep down we’re all lovers of great graphics and gameplay. So, if someone is promising more power than we’ve ever seen in a console, it turns some heads. Power is the name of the game, and from the looks of it, we’re in for quite the treat when the PS5 releases. AMD, the manufacturers of the current consoles APU chipsets, has come out with some bold claims about when the new consoles will be here, and what kind of power they’ll be sporting. How does Five Times the Power Sound? No one manufacturer has been chosen to supply chipsets for the next generation of consoles, but AMD is pretty confident they will be the ones to do so, seeing as how they’ve been the go-to company for some time now. AMD is developing a new type of architecture called GCN that they believe will be able to put out five times the performance and watts of the current generation. The idea is to make massively more powerful chipsets that still use the same amount of power. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, they also believe they’ll be providing these chips to console makers by 2018, which puts the PS5’s release somewhere in that time frame. The PS4 is currently enjoying massive sales and sports the most powerful graphics hardware currently in a console. This new technology that AMD is working on opens up the possibility for a more powerful PS4, a PS4.5 so to speak. The PS4’s X86 architecture makes it much easier to offer an upgrade than the PS3 which was entirely different with its cell processor architecture. Don’t get too excited though. AMD doesn’t have plans to start making new APU’s until 2018 so it’s not likely that we’ll see a more powerful PS4, but the possibility of one with more energy efficiency and less heat output (i.e a “slim” PS4) is definitely on the table. AMD Predicts a VR-Focused Future AMD has also said that they’ll be shifting a good portion of their focus to VR or virtual reality. This lines up perfectly with the development of PlayStation VR (previously Project Morpheus). Of course, the current generation of consoles aren’t powerful enough to power virtual reality with the level of graphics we expect. Sony is working wonders with their PlayStation VR tech demos, but we won’t be seeing The Order: 1886 on VR this generation. An example is that the PS4 would need to be three times as powerful to run an Oculus Rift with 2160 x 1200 resolution … Read More

Gaming with All Five Senses: the Evolution of Virtual Reality

Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one – Albert Einstein For the most part, we’ve always known gaming as a medium that we interact with from a distance. Whether it’s a handheld or a home console, it’s always been us and it. The controller was our connection, our bridge between our world and the one in front of us. We’ve always imagined a type of game that puts us into the world. Virtual reality is the common term for it, but what if we went past simple visuals in front of us? What if we could, truly, step into another world. What would it take for us to become fully immersed? Reality is malleable in the sense that it’s different for everyone. Socrates’ Allegory of the Cave in Regards to Gamers Let me get philosophical for a moment here. Let us consider Socrates and his “Allegory of the Cave.” This concept boiled down essentially describes a cave where people have been chained down since childhood. They are forced to stare directly in front of them at a wall that is illuminated by a fire behind them. Between the prisoners and the fire is a walkway where others walk by holding objects and going about their lives. These people cast their shadows on the wall for the prisoners to see. Their voices also echo off the wall, making it appear as if these shadows are speaking to the prisoners. Socrates goes on to say that these shadows are reality for the prisoners. They know nothing outside of the cave and the figures they see on the wall. Now, the allegory goes on to describe what would happen if someone were to escape, but for our purposes, would you not agree that gamers thus far are very similar to these prisoners in the allegory? We’re accustomed to staying at arm’s length from the things we experience in games. Things are changing though. Gamers are escaping from the prison of a separated world and instead are boldly stepping into this brave new reality. The Current State of VR The Oculus Rift brought back to the forefront the concept of VR. Nintendo had the Virtual Boy back in the day, but that did nothing more than give people horrific migraines. After that VR was something you saw at places like Disney Quest and the occasional arcade. It was never a household thing. To look at the Oculus Rift, it looks like a piece of hardware that you strap over your eyes which then projects a 3D image for your eyes to perceive. You can move your head and view the world around you as if you were there. Quite exciting as a concept. This device began life as a kickstarter and was recently purchased by Facebook for two billion dollars! Another competitor in the current field is GameFace Labs which has their own high-powered wireless headset running on a custom Android-based VR operating system. Then you’ve got the Avegant which has … Read More