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Virtual Reality will be best in short bursts, says Sony’s Andrew House

While the potential to be lost in a brand-new world for hours on end
will appeal to many gamers, PlayStation chief Andrew House reckons the
new VR frontier will be best enjoyed a little at a time.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal at E3 2015, the Sony executive says headsets like its forthcoming Project Morpheus for PS4 will specialise in offering a theme park-like experience, at least initially.

House believes users will slap on Project Morpheus for around 10-15 minutes at a time, rather than spending all day in the virtual world.

He said: “We’re still in a nascent stage for VR but it’s starting to become real – pun unintended. My view is that you’re not going to see big, long immersive gameplay experiences in the first iteration.

The analogy I use is it’s like a theme park, like a ride. It’s very intense. It’s a rush and good fun but it’s something you’re going to do for, I don’t know, 10 or 15 minutes and then take a break.”

The PlayStation chief suggests the initial forays will make it easy for independent VR developers to gain traction in the market as there’ll be less reliance on huge budget, elongated experiences.

“So I can see, for example, someone having this one particular mode in an existing game environment that you go in and experience this kind of theme-park ride. That ties back to the independent game developers, because they’re good at short-form content.”

Of course shorter experiences could be perfect for the virtual environment in the early stages, while hardware developers figure out how to negate the motion sickness experienced by some folks wearing VR headsets.

Read more: Rigs for PS4 and Project Morpheus preview

House also responded to concerns Project Morpheus may struggle to compete with Oculus, due to the Windows 10 and Xbox One controller compatibility.

He told the WSJ: “Working with Windows 10 is great, but the challenge with the PC gaming environment is the variety of clients. What are your PC specs? What version of the OS is it running? And so on.

“With a single platform, we believe a key advantage is that you are developing for one client, one environment and you can guarantee that that game experience is going to be exactly the same for all people playing. We see Morpheus very much as a PlayStation 4 extension or enhancer. The idea is people will buy Morpheus to play on a PS4 that they already own.”

Elsewhere, House refused to comment on the potential retail price for Project Morpheus when it arrives in early 2016.

Earlier this week, a senior Sony figure claimed it would cost “several hundreds of dollars,” but House said it was too early in the process to reveal anything concrete.

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