‘But will it come at some stage? We believe that.’
Sony PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan says virtual reality won’t be a meaningful part of interactive entertainment in the near future. Ryan indicated to The Washington Post that VR still has a long way to go, although he emphasized that Sony isn’t giving up on the medium. The statement suggests that an update to Sony’s PlayStation VR headset is years away.
“I think we’re more than a few minutes from the future of VR,” Ryan told the Post. “PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that.” He notes that the upcoming PlayStation 5, which will be released November 12th, supports the old PlayStation VR headset with a special adapter.
Pinning VR’s success to “some point in the future” and ruling out a “meaningful” VR market in 2020 or 2021 isn’t a hugely positive short-term view of the medium — at least compared to Sony competitor Facebook, which just released its Oculus Quest 2 headset. That said, it would be more surprising if Sony indicated we’d see PSVR news in the last few months of 2020.
Sony has been consistently cagey about its virtual reality plans. In April 2019, PlayStation system architect Mark Cerny told Wired that “VR is very important to us” but didn’t offer details. Dominic Mallinson, head of research and development, told CNET that a new headset wouldn’t arrive alongside the PlayStation 5. But Mallinson also seemed to take a next-generation PSVR for granted, discussing features like eye tracking and updated controllers. And last month, Ryan called VR an “unproven space” that Sony was still “really intrigued and really excited” by.