Traditional games aren’t a good fit for VR, says Sony London

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Traditional games aren't fit for VR, says Sony

Virtual Reality is coming, and it’s not surprising that a lot of people are still very sceptical over what is being called a “brand new gaming platform”. Virtual Reality is something that needs to be experienced to actually critique properly, and even then it’s hard. Half the time you’re treated to demo and short experiences rather than full games, bringing up the question of what will eventually make it on to the two screens strapped to your eyes.

According to Sony’s London studio – who are pioneering PlayStation VR software – you should start hoping for traditional games to make the transition.

Studio Director, Dave Ranyard, explained to VG 24/7 that the expectation for traditional games to headline VR experiences is a little misguided, and a product of not yet understanding what the platform can deliver. High octane shooters, for example, are particularly tricky to get right in this early times.

“With a big action movie, it’s not action all the way through because it does your head in. There’s light and shade. I think that’s more pronounced in VR than for traditional games.”

London Heist demo

Sony’s London studio is working on a shooter for PlayStation VR called London Heist, and it sticks within these boundaries. Playing it at E3, the London Heist featured short ‘chapters” that took up no longer than 10-15 minutes at a time. These chapters shifted from a highly-immersive interrogation scene (where characters reacted to where I was looking) to a fast-paced shootout in a hotel lobby. Both of these alone wouldn’t work as hour-long sections of a larger game.

“It is a very immersive experience so whether you need 12 hours and some multiplayer or you can just tell a great story in two hours – we’ll have to see how the market reacts.”

“Right now we’re working on game chapters. To be honest we don’t really know and we need to get it out there and see how people use it. We’re finding that full-on action is pretty tough.”

It’s something that’s evident in most VR experiences being demoed right now. Many take a single idea and turn that into something you can play in bite-sized segments, especially when motion control starts being thrown into the mix. Playing through a 20-hour action game in virtual reality doesn’t sound enticing at all, and it’s not what Sony London is aiming for right now.

And while that might sound disappointing, it’s important to remember that most of the experiences VR has managed to show so far wouldn’t be able to be as immersive without the tech in the first place. This (to me at least) is where the value of VR lies – growing the gaming space to include games that previously wouldn’t be possible. It’s not just a different screen to play the same games on, but that’s only apparent once you’ve actually got your hands on it.

And that, sadly, is the biggest problem with any sort of VR now.

Last Updated: October 1, 2015

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

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