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Does Sony Pose A Threat to Oculus VR?

alimasri
Honored Guest
If the speculation in this article is true, I think it might pose a threat. People who own a PS4 would rather get a VR headset that is already compatible with their console than another one.

Competition is inevitable, but would it negatively affect Oculus? For consumers it's an advantage because prices will drop and more features will appear.
59 REPLIES 59

Anonymous
Not applicable
"danknugz" wrote:
I'm excited as anyone else at the prospect of a console VR device, and before November last year, I was just as excited at the prospect of the Rift being made available with the "next gen" consoles. Then the consoles launched, and well, lets just say perceptions changed as to what kind of experience the consoles would be capable of offering. So the Rift requires an effective 120 fps capable machine to account for both screens correct? So, what kind of graphics do you think the PS4/XBO could run at 120 fps. CoD4? Lawnmower-man? You need to look at this realistically, even the Oculus devs themselves said the consoles are too gimped for a "true" VR experience. It's like getting a BMW with a wimpy engine, all talk no walk


While I don't think the consoles will be running their flagship titles in VR anytime soon (at least not at the resolution and graphic fidelity they could be on screens).

I do believe they will offer compelling VR games... here at the beginning of it all, it won't take GRAPHICS to sell presence, there are certain hurdles that need to be overcome to attain that magic "presence" (as outlined by Valve and Oculus) however graphic fidelity is not one of those things, resolution yes, all the bells and whistles... not so much.

Sure, I look forward to playing the Far Cry 5 or 6 in VR at full next next gen graphics on pc as it all evolves and we upgrade, but in the meantime people are being blown away by demos that are merely rooms with elevation and simple box textures.

To say Sony will come out with something that will make people sick (30fps will do that quickly) is perhaps shortsighted. I admit you won't be able to crank up all the settings that you would be able to on a monster pc, but then again that's always been the crux of consoles....

you can run Battlefield 4 at 120 fps 1440p (4k at lower fps) and ultra settings right now... on an expensive PC rig... or you can play it on a console at 1080p (1600x900 on ps4 and 1280x720 on xbo actually)
that doesn't mean the gameplay experience becomes any better really (though I am a graphics whore lol) there will still be comparative games on their version of VR just not as tricked out as what is possible on pc.

Zackarios
Honored Guest
"danknugz" wrote:
I'm excited as anyone else at the prospect of a console VR device, and before November last year, I was just as excited at the prospect of the Rift being made available with the "next gen" consoles. Then the consoles launched, and well, lets just say perceptions changed as to what kind of experience the consoles would be capable of offering. So the Rift requires an effective 120 fps capable machine to account for both screens correct? So, what kind of graphics do you think the PS4/XBO could run at 120 fps. CoD4? Lawnmower-man? You need to look at this realistically, even the Oculus devs themselves said the consoles are too gimped for a "true" VR experience. It's like getting a BMW with a wimpy engine, all talk no walk


Yes, but does it even matter if the games that support the VR headset won't be as graphically impressive? We know since using the soon to be greatly outdated dev kit that cutting edge graphics aren't necessarily needed for stunning VR experiences. And let's be honest, most people won't be playing games on the Rift in highest settings either.

My low end laptop can handle some Rift demos and Half life 2, providing some absolutely incredible experiences. With a far superior headset to DK1 (comparable with Valve's), and far superior hardware than my laptop, as well as obviously better graphics than the current Rift demos and Half Life 2, I think the PS4 is more than capable of providing absolutely stunning VR experiences, even if they are not quite cutting edge graphics. Just simply downgrading the graphics won't have much of an effect on what still will no doubt blow the minds of of it's users anyway. 'Presence' can still be achieved. And that's all that really matters, at this stage.

That's surely enough to make Sony's headset a threat to Oculus? But I still think they can coexist. After all, the Rift is for PC, and Sony's (most likely) won't be.

So all in all, the Oculus Rift on pc will still be the best way to experience VR, with the wider range of games, and far more raw power to run more graphically stunning experiences on top of that. A lot of people will prefer the ease of console VR though, just like people prefer consoles over PC, so consumers will be enticed to get Sony's headset with their PS4 over a Rift and a new PC.

But like a said, it won't have an effect on the Rift's success, just maybe lose out most people with PS4s over this generation. Which notably will be in the 10s of millions...

It also won't be left to die with lack of support like the PS Move, because once people try it, it's going to sell like hotcakes and people will be more interested in what their PS4 has to offer for VR rather than standard tv games. What follows is an big influx of content. Both first party and third. And the PS Move will finally be put to good use as well!

The main thing, is that once it does release, as well as the Rift, VR will be accessible for both console and PC gamers, and it's going to explode into what will revolutionize gaming.

Itsinthemind
Expert Protege
There seems to be a general expectation that Sony's VR headset will be tethered to the PS4. Why?

Is it not conceivable that Sony may contemplate a completely new stand alone VR system, more powerful than the PS4, perhaps in the same price range as their current HMD (perhaps a bit more)? They could make it compatible with PS4 games, what about including a VR converter utility for certain PS4 games? If they can charge $1,000 for their current HMD alone and get away with it, I am sure they would be able to charge that and perhaps a bit more, for a revolutionary upmarket VR system aimed at the upper end of the market. After all there are plenty of people who think nothing of spending $2,000 plus on a TV.

So I don't see it as a threat, perhaps more like a different market sector.
http://www.lightandmagic.co.uk Fantasy becomes Reality

langknow
Honored Guest
Here's my prediction.

Sony's going to wait until Oculus releases their headset. If Oculus Rift headset is successful, then Sony will have the go ahead to release there headset.

They probably just waiting for the right time.

alimasri
Honored Guest
"langknow" wrote:
Here's my prediction.

Sony's going to wait until Oculus releases their headset. If Oculus Rift headset is successful, then Sony will have the go ahead to release there headset.

They probably just waiting for the right time.


Possible but unlikely. Sony learned their lesson from waiting until someone else releases their hardware with the Xbox.

$300 is not a cheap price to pay for the average person. Whoever releases first will gain a lot of share in the market provided that the specs are close. And if the article is true, then Sony has a good advantage.

Don't forget that Sony has it's own entertainment studios. That means there will be plenty of good content for their headset, along with content from development companies that are working with Sony.

Oculus VR has to have a strong statement at E3 this year.

kevinw729
Honored Visionary
I would like to propose a path to market that Sony maybe considering:

- get a number of key game developers to support dev in secret
- wait for OVR to launch their system
- wait to see if there are any problems regarding legal or health issues
- launch Sony system in two flavors (PC and scaled down PS4 version)
- launch a dedicated subscription model dlc software channel

The dates for this are another matter - and also the seriousness of this investment takes on a bigger dimension now that Sony has announced abandonment of their PC division. It is telling that none of the HMZ team were utilized in the new Sony HMD team (bit of a snub?) Sony approaching VR HMD differently to their previous virtual viewer tech.

Finally, the argument over Sony PS4 compatibility -- I think that VR for 2014 should be the best tech achievable, so when discussing compromising to just have the new Sony HMD work on a PS4, sounds like a retrograde approach. We have to face the reality that the PS4 and XBone are not the best platforms to run the latest VR tech - though their graphics performance may be possible(?), the ability to address tracking, 3Dstereo, audio and firmware requirements are seriously beyond a console approach*. I think the fanboys will have to recognize that if Sony dose force their new HMD to be PS4 exclusive we will be taking on issues of performance against popularity!

*= I would also point to the 2012 argument we had on this server about "If the Wii-U could run a Rift as well as a PC"... what ever happened to all those fanboys that said it could?
https://vrawards.aixr.org/ "The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier: Expanding Interactive Boundaries in Leisure Facilities" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Home-Immersive-Entertainment-Frontier/dp/1472426959

Zackarios
Honored Guest
"kevinw729" wrote:
I would like to propose a path to market that Sony maybe considering:

- get a number of key game developers to support dev in secret
- wait for OVR to launch their system
- wait to see if there are any problems regarding legal or health issues
- launch Sony system in two flavors (PC and scaled down PS4 version)
- launch a dedicated subscription model dlc software channel

The dates for this are another matter - and also the seriousness of this investment takes on a bigger dimension now that Sony has announced abandonment of their PC division. It is telling that none of the HMZ team were utilized in the new Sony HMD team (bit of a snub?) Sony approaching VR HMD differently to their previous virtual viewer tech.

Finally, the argument over Sony PS4 compatibility -- I think that VR for 2014 should be the best tech achievable, so when discussing compromising to just have the new Sony HMD work on a PS4, sounds like a retrograde approach. We have to face the reality that the PS4 and XBone are not the best platforms to run the latest VR tech - though their graphics performance may be possible(?), the ability to address tracking, 3Dstereo, audio and firmware requirements are seriously beyond a console approach*. I think the fanboys will have to recognize that if Sony dose force their new HMD to be PS4 exclusive we will be taking on issues of performance against popularity!

*= I would also point to the 2012 argument we had on this server about "If the Wii-U could run a Rift as well as a PC"... what ever happened to all those fanboys that said it could?


Yes I agree VR will be best on PC. However, I don't see any reason for there not to be a VR headset for the PS4, check out my previous post concerning graphical capabilities. I also don't see how tracking, audio, and firmware requirements would be beyond the PS4's capability?

Your proposed path Sony could take is of course possible, but I don't see Sony thinking that way. Not now anyway. I'm sure they would be more than happy to be first to market, and take all the glory and spotlight in being the first to introduce VR to the masses. It would be huge and Sony would look like the innovators. I think as soon as they finalize the hardware and have content ready, they will ship it, not wait around for Oculus.

It's in their interest to ensure the PS4 remains "the best place to play", and make sure it gets a good head-start against the Xbox One, providing a massive differentiator.

kevinw729
Honored Visionary
"Zackarios" wrote:
Yes I agree VR will be best on PC. However, I don't see any reason for there not to be a VR headset for the PS4, check out my previous post concerning graphical capabilities. I also don't see how tracking, audio, and firmware requirements would be beyond the PS4's capability? ....It's in their interest to ensure the PS4 remains "the best place to play", and make sure it gets a good head-start against the Xbox One, providing a massive differentiator.


All good points @Zackarios - but a I have stated in some other threads; the PS4 is not scaled for the requirements of optimum VR HMD performance. I will break down the issues:

1. PS4 hardware layout is maxed to support LCD / OLED screen format, both in graphic management and cables out - not even touching on the stereo screen display limitations a PS4 has (it takes enough to render its single screen in suitable performance).
Comment :I agree a 'mixer box' could be supplied as a peripheral plug in with the Sony HMD, but would need so many I/O's into the PS4 and from the HMD that it would be cost prohibitive and be a thin-pipe solution.

2. PS4 would need the 'Mixer Box' to handle audio in to the HMD and also the tracking (if the Sony system is using optical tracking as seen with the early Jaguar) this would play on the performance of the PS4, that would not not only have to undertake the image to the HMD, audio to the HMD and now tracking to the HMD all eating into limited processor and pipe timing.
Comment :as we have seen with the EyeToyII feature slowing down the PS4 - we would have to see some 'slowdown' if this intensive HMD was a plug and play on the PS4.

3. PS4 is over-clocked to achieve the 720p and 1080p performances seen to date - while the XBone has fallen short of full performance in graphics the PS4 has been the winner of the war so far (optimization wise), but in running a HMD I think that will prove the final straw and slow down will be inevitable, and with that issues with 'nailed down' performance guaranteed on your HMD (and if you can not guarantee that then we are back in sim-sickness territory)!

4. PS4 and Sony's new tracking proposal (not positional) - those that reported seeing the Sony Liverpool demonstration of the new VR HMD (Redit) confirmed that the tracking proposed was proprietary and they were making code adjustments to support this. There is a danger that in going for a proprietary system Sony will be building in issues that could impede performance and so opens up sim-sickness (while OVR have dedicated themselves to create the 'Best Possible' performance they can)

5. PS4 will require a unique GUI and user dashboard to support VR - taking that as a given Sony's software updates and dashboard revisions have proven 'temperamental' at best - now faced with a VR or none VR platform adoption, this could be one OS support too far for the stretched R&D team. Comment :fundamentally it would be best if Sony just created a PS4 variant that was already configured as a "only Sony VR content" platform - rather than the homebrew open environment that a PC achieves.

IMHO - I expect to see Sony shoehorn their HMD onto the PS4 (no matter the issues), though they may limit or manage the experience (only certain demos / games - and only using certain firmware links). But for pure durability, flexibility and performance under pressure, the PC will win - and if we have to start making allowances for a game running on a OVR system with a PC and the same game running on a PS4 / Sony system we are laying ourselves open to confusion and mixed message. If we see a spate of sim-sickness on Sony HMD's that will tar the Oculus brand (and visa versa) - no one will care that one system is a compromise, and the OVR is a full-to-the-max approach. This is a factor why so many fanboys are uncomfortable towards what will be the 'Best Practice - Optimum Performance' specifications that OVR will release - as it will reopen the "true performance" questions of a PS4!

With the Valve / OVR tie in - SteamVR and SteamMachine approach an open and improvable platform has been created for VR gaming - you can not off-the-shelf enhance a PS4, and Sony is not going to have people opening their PS4's up to do anything more than swap a HDrive round (as has already been seen with some of the early complaints from users). The PS4 is a great machine, but its a Gen-8 console, not a delivery platform for VR entertainment. The same way that EyeToy was a great system, it was not a true alternative to a Wii Mote - (yet again coming late to the party) !
https://vrawards.aixr.org/ "The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier: Expanding Interactive Boundaries in Leisure Facilities" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Home-Immersive-Entertainment-Frontier/dp/1472426959

kevinw729
Honored Visionary
"Zackarios" wrote:
.....
It's in their interest to ensure the PS4 remains "the best place to play", and make sure it gets a good head-start against the Xbox One, providing a massive differentiator(sp).


Regarding Microsoft playing in VR through the XBone - that is a pure train wreck consideration!

The majority of firmware and processor optimization executives who built the platform left the XBone division before the machine was even out the gates! (vote of confidence dude), so this would be a start from a fresh perspective, addressing the major hurdles and limitations. More energy is being applied to try and catch-up with PS4 on 1080p performance than could/would be considered plugging in a brand new peripheral and all the I/O issues this would bring.

The new CEO of Microsoft will be walking through the door with a pile of 'urgent' memos in his intray - regarding Windows-11, tanking share price, employee attrition, Surface+, Glass, mobile phone apps, etc.; Way down at the bottom of the pile will be the XBone "Project View" tech demos proposal. But how seriously any executive walking into this mess would consider green-lighting that project before Sony and or OVR launch is another question!

Interesting to consider what we could see at E3 -- from Nintendo (no VR), Sony (possible VR demo) and from MS (????) - best they stay away from promoting or hyping anything, to avoid the whole "Project Milo" - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Milo "TechDemo"(!) fiasco and dangerous backlash!


- CES 2009 (Comment: don't think even the new XBone division could handle the fallout another Milo would bring)
https://vrawards.aixr.org/ "The Out-of-Home Immersive Entertainment Frontier: Expanding Interactive Boundaries in Leisure Facilities" https://www.amazon.co.uk/Out-Home-Immersive-Entertainment-Frontier/dp/1472426959

Zackarios
Honored Guest
"kevinw729" wrote:
"Zackarios" wrote:
Yes I agree VR will be best on PC. However, I don't see any reason for there not to be a VR headset for the PS4, check out my previous post concerning graphical capabilities. I also don't see how tracking, audio, and firmware requirements would be beyond the PS4's capability? ....It's in their interest to ensure the PS4 remains "the best place to play", and make sure it gets a good head-start against the Xbox One, providing a massive differentiator.


IMHO - I expect to see Sony shoehorn their HMD onto the PS4 (no matter the issues), though they may limit or manage the experience (only certain demos / games - and only using certain firmware links). But for pure durability, flexibility and performance under pressure, the PC will win

With the Valve / OVR tie in - SteamVR and SteamMachine approach an open and improvable platform has been created for VR gaming - you can not off-the-shelf enhance a PS4, and Sony is not going to have people opening their PS4's up to do anything more than swap a HDrive round (as has already been seen with some of the early complaints from users). The PS4 is a great machine, but its a Gen-8 console, not a delivery platform for VR entertainment. The same way that EyeToy was a great system, it was not a true alternative to a Wii Mote - (yet again coming late to the party) !


Great points also. I see what you mean, and I definitely agree with this part I have quoted here, particularly the bold.

VR on PS4 will certainly be limited, compared to the PC. Only certain demos and games will support it, no doubt, because the technical requirements conflict with the standard tv experience the PS4 was designed to offer. The power is there for stunning VR experiences, just not particularly graphically stunning compared to what we will see on the PC.