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Sony "Excited To Give Morpheus Units To Indie PlayStation 4 Devs"

 

As you probably already know, Sony is making a concerted push to bring out the best features of its upcoming virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus. For the studio, the path to doing so lies not with large developers and publishers, but with the independent side of game development. Indie gamers, explained Sony's Shuhei Yoshida, could well be the future of virtual reality on the PlayStation 4 - at least at first. 

"I am very excited to work with indie developers," said Yoshida, "because we've been communicating with third party publishers, and the typical conversations go, you know the developers in the third party publishers, they are really excited, but they say, ‘Oh well, I have to get approval from the business side.' And it's very hard for big companies to approve something that no one knows if there's a market for it," Yoshida told Polygon last week. "But the indie guys are like, ‘I like it, I'll do it.' And there are many indie games being created in the marketplace because of that.

"The indie teams typically want to create something not directly competitive with big companies because they know they don't have the resource to do it, so they try to come up with a new angle or approach, a new experience so that their game can stand out. And that approach is perfect for making VR, because that's what we need. We don't want people to think, ‘How can I port this game to VR?' We want people to think, ‘What unique thing can we do with this tech?' So I'm very, very excited to give lots of units to indie PS4 developers."

The timing of this reveal is no coincidence either, said Yoshida. See, Sony just recently managed to start mass producing Morpheus development kits.

"The reason we announced at this time is we have dev kit that we can produce in volume and distribute to developers so that they can start serious game development," he said. "And what we don't know is, we have a list of things we want to improve in terms of tech, and we don't know when we can achieve, because we want to make sure that when we have the consumer product, we want to make it very, very easy to use, like plug and play almost. We want, because the VR experience can be pretty intense, we want to make the tech good enough so that most of the people have a really good experience. So we don't know when we can reach that point." 

Of course, while Sony has the ability to mass produce the kits, it hasn't quite worked out how it's going to deliver them to developers. To that end, Yoshida declined to say what approach they're going to use - only that anyone who wants to develop for Project Morpheus will have to be a PlayStation 4 developer, adding that most of the current studios developing for Morpheus are external, and that anyone who uses Morpheus doesn't necessarily have to develop games with it. 

"I'm encouraging more studios to try something," he said. "It doesn't have to be the game that they are making, or the IP, it can be anything. If it's convenient for you to take assets that you are making, like a driving game or shooter or whatever, go for it, but you can not really make your game adapt to Project Morpheus. You have to design from the ground up in terms of gameplay experience. And if you want to make something totally different, that's fine. That's great. So that's what I've been telling the community."

With the recent purchase of Oculus VR by Facebook still fresh on everyone's minds, gamers have started to look to Sony and Project Morpheus as the next 'big thing' for virtual reality in gaming. While I'd not count the Oculus Rift out just yet, I'm definitely inclined to agree that Morpheus looks promising - and that it'll definitely give Sony an even greater edge over Microsoft's Xbox One. 

Not that they need it - Microsoft still hasn't recovered from last years Electronic Entertainment Expo. If Morpheus ends up being as big as Sony's planning it to be, I doubt they ever really will.

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Nicholas Greene
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