Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) has labelled convincing consumers about virtual reality (VR) headsets such as the PlayStation 4’s Project Morpheus and Oculus VR’s Oculus Rift as ‘a huge challenge’. SCE Head of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida said as much in a recent interview, discussing the ways the company can show off VR to potential customers through either live demos or what he calls a ‘social screen’. Yoshida also detailed just how multiplayer could work with Project Morpheus VR headset on PlayStation 4.
“That’s a huge challenge,” Yoshida told VentureBeat when asked how the company can convince consumers on VR. “For one, we have to try to take any opportunity to demonstrate our system and let new people try it out. That’s another area where we can help each other with Oculus. Anyone who has a good time using either Project Morpheus or Oculus will now understand and have high expectations for the future of VR. The number of people who try out either of these systems at this point is a plus for both of us.”
“The other thing is what we’re calling the “social screen” for Project Morpheus. The PS4 is connected to this small box called the processor unit, and that splits the output. One goes to the head-mount unit and the other looks like a conventional video game screen.”
Yoshida went on to explain that the PlayStation 4 processor has the capability to project a normal image onto a TV screen at the same time as a user is playing with Project Morpheus, so others could see what they’re experiencing.
“The London Studio guys suggested that they wanted a second screen that looked normal,” Yoshida continued, “so they could design a game such that the people wearing the headset can play with other people who are watching. It’s like a Wii U game. One person may be running away while all the others might be trying to catch Mario. It’s that asymmetrical gameplay.”
This relates to the ‘social VR’ trademarks that SCE registered in March 2014. In fact, Yoshida revealed that London Studio’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2014 VR demo, The Deep, did feature a multiplayer mode that wasn’t shown.
“For The Deep, we didn’t show this at GDC, but the demo is designed so that people watching can use a tablet and draw a line to instruct the sea turtle where to appear and swim around the cage. The shark is attracted and chases the turtle. People watching can influence the experience along with the people who are wearing the display by leading the shark and showing it where to appear. Something like that — that’s designed into the system very easily.”
Yoshida even confirmed that other users could use a Dualshock 4 to interact with Project Morpheus players, though both the headset screen and TV screen have to display the same image.
Will we see these kinds of features for Project Morpheus in action at E3 this year? The event runs from 10th – 12th June 2014 and we’re hoping that Sony will March the headset out in full force at the show. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all details surrounding Project Morpheus and bring you the latest.