Shuhei Yoshida: Virtual Reality Not the Next 3D TV

While Sony is hedging its bets on its virtual reality device Project Morpheus to be the next revolution in gaming, will it have enough mass market appeal and support from core gamers so it won’t end the same way 3D TVs and other gimmicks prior to it?

This concern was aired to Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida at this year’s E3 by PlayStation LifeStyle during a group media session.

PSLS: VR is a really unique experience, it’s something you really need to try to really understand. So how do you hope to sell that unique experience to people that haven’t tried it and see it as just a gimmick like 3D TVs?

Yoshida: Yeah, so people ask me “is virtual reality the next 3D TV?” And I say, “no, it’s not.” The experience that we are creating is totally different from 3D TV and games on 3D TVs. When you look back, games you played on 3D TVs are almost exactly the same as you’ve played on 2D TVs. You just get depth simulation inside the TV but it’s the same game. You cannot go around the TV to look at things from different angles. But with VR, you are totally surrounded — you are in the game, and you cannot experience this in other forms, so that creates a challenge that you really have to experience to understand what it is you’re getting with VR. So the best way is to get as many people to try Project Morpheus, and once we release it, people who purchased Morpheus (will) want to show it off to your friends or colleagues, and so will create this network of word of mouth. Before the launch, we need to — well, have to — bring Morpheus in some events, or in some, y’know, like in shopping malls or places that people go (to), and to really try to see what it is people are talking about.

Do you agree with Yoshida? Will virtual reality — and Project Morpheus — carve a bigger niche than 3D TVs? For Sony’s sake, let’s hope it does.

In the same media session, Yoshida states that VR is a powerful new medium that “can’t be done” with conventional TVs, consoles and PCs.