The start of the era of virtual reality gaming is drawing near. VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are just over the horizon. While the PlayStation VR is only a couple of months away, and we barely learned more about the final product at Sony’s GDC press conference dedicated to the PS VR last week. That’s where we learned about the PS VR’s $399 pricing and its October 2016 release window. Sony also confirmed that the PS VR will get full support from them. This sounds good and all, but this sounds all too familiar. Where did I hear this before? Well, I’ve heard this from them – multiple times, really.
Remember the infamous PlayStation Eye, PlayStation Move, and Wonder Book from the PS3 era? Or how about the PlayStation Vita? I do. Prior to their respective launches Sony would always talk about how it would support them after launch. Well, you could say that they did because those actually had first-party support for a while, but once things looked bad for those devices, Sony dropped support instantly. Now this is my biggest concern with the PlayStation VR. In a perfect world they would support it for a long time after launch even though the hardware might not be doing so well, but I can’t help to think that Sony might pull another one of these instances where they drop support after 18 months of its release.
The most recent case of this problem is the PlayStation Vita. The Vita is an impressive piece of hardware. It terms of power it’s still the most powerful dedicated video game handheld system out there. Those who own a Vita, love their Vita, and wish Sony wouldn’t ended support so early into its life cycle. The Vita only got a handful of first-party titles, with franchises like InFamous and God of War never making a true appearance on the handheld. Now a days the Vita is a struggling system, sadly in its last legs. It’s just in limbo waiting for Sony to finally pull the cord and scrap it. The only reason is still relevant amongst gamers is because third-parties and indie developers continue to support it.
My fear with PlayStation VR is that it’ll have the same fate as the Vita. Where it looked like it was getting tons of support from Sony before launch, but a couple of months after launch Sony just gave up. I’m sure the PS VR will be an impressive piece of hardware just like the Vita was. I hope they’ve learned from their past mistakes and plan on supporting the PS VR for the long run. Virtual Reality gaming is just getting started, and if Sony wants play a huge part of this next step in how we experience gaming, they need to let their costumers know that if they purchase their new piece of hardware come October they’ll be there to support it unlike their last projects.