Sony Punts On Virtual Reality To Deliver Growth After Several Past Failures
Their much heralded 3D TV strategy failed and they were not smart enough to turn their highly popular Walkman into a digital device, now Sony is banking on Virtual Reality to turn their fortunes around.
Tomorrow the Japanese Company will release much talked about and then delayed virtual-reality headset in an effort to capture the lost magic of Sony, the only problem is that HTC with their Vive, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft and Google are set to compete in this market.
While their PlayStation console has been a big success there is no certainty that their VR offering will head the same way, despite it being an excellent product offering and an ideal gift this Christmas for people who already own a Playstation device.
The headset works in tandem with the PlayStation 4 game machine, but Sony sees videogames as just one use. Using virtual reality, travellers could preview highlights of their trip and students could time-travel to the age of the dinosaurs—or so the thinking goes.
“Virtual reality is a door to worlds you have always dreamed of,” says Shuhei Yoshida, one of those two Sony veterans, who bears the title of VR ambassador told the Wall Street Journal.
But first Sony must persuade consumers that they need a virtual-reality headset at all. Some people find the devices tiring or cumbersome to wear, and executives at rival Nintendo say headset technology isn’t mature enough to reach the mainstream.
To some, the technology raises memories of 3-D televisions, another technology hyped by Sony and others that didn’t achieve mass appeal.
That was one of many blows to Sony’s image as an innovator over the past two decades. The cruellest was the success of Apple iPod and iPhone. Music players and portable electronics had once been Sony’s specialty, going back to the transistor radio and the Walkman, but Apple seized the market with its marriage of hardware and software.
The WSJ claims that rom the start of the virtual-reality project, Sony has paid particular attention to ergonomics. The product has its roots in PlayStation Move, a motion-tracking hand controller for the PlayStation 3. Though it was unsuccessful as a business, a small group of engineers in California started an experiment to use it in tracking head moves in 2010. By 2012, the research evolved into a formal project with staff in Tokyo and London.
Sony and outside developers plan to have more than 50 titles ready for the PlayStation VR by the end of the year, including a “Star Wars” game from Electronic Arts. Capcom. will release its blockbuster “Resident Evil” in January next year.
Analysts say that without more content, PlayStation VR faces the same danger as 3-D TVs. “Game publishers should create strong VR-only content,” said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at Ace Research Institute. “And the lesson from 3-D TVs is that they should deliver it quickly after the platform launch.”