Marks: It’s funny, because just like all games, it’s different for each different kind of game you’d want to do. Some of the character-driven games are fun to do multiple times, because the characters in the game react differently. That’s pretty interesting to see. The predecessor to the game you tried, The Getaway, there’s another segment of that game we showed at GDC. They call it The Heist. You’re being interrogated by a guy. Depending on what you do he changes his behavior a bit. If you look at something, he’ll look at it and comment on it. Even if the experience itself isn’t super long, there’s a lot of replay value in VR.
It’s hard right now, when we’re only showing these very short experiences. It’s hard to get people to try VR, so we want to have that kind of thing here. But we’ve been in VR a lot longer than that as developers. Some people will make some long experiences.
GamesBeat: The gun peripheral, what do you take from that? Is that starting to prove more precise or more necessary for the shooters?
Marks: It’s using existing peripherals. They’ve made a prototype out of existing peripherals because those things are already supported for tracking. What we’ll do with the final product, we haven’t decided. We’re just evaluating the experience part of having a gun, what that feels like. It’s an evaluation step right now. It feels pretty good to have one of those.
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GamesBeat: The horsepower required to do this, is the PS4 pretty efficient? Is it just fine for your purposes?
Marks: It’s a left-eye right-eye thing when you’re rendering for VR, but developers are pretty familiar with how to do that. The tech of it is well-understood already. People are surprised sometimes that the PS4 can generate such a good graphical quality for VR, but it’s because every single one is the same. The developer can target this platform and tune their graphics to just the right level to look good on PS4.
GamesBeat: If you have an only-in-VR experience, what do you think that could be more like? You can do a shooter without VR. You could a puzzle game like this without VR. What do you think is going to be something that can only be done in VR?
Marks: All of the genres that already exist translate into VR. But something like The Getaway, where you have a huge level of interaction with things around you, that’s hard to do any other way. We tried to do some of that with the Move on PS3, but doing it through the window of a TV set isn’t the right way to do that, when you want to feel like you’re grabbing things and picking things up.
We’ve done a lot of physics demos with VR – picking things up, moving them, stacking them. That feels great. There’s no other way to do that that’s as good as in VR.
GamesBeat: So 3D visualization, if you need to look from different points of view to do something or solve something?
Marks: The thing that’s different in VR—the sense of scale matters in VR. You see these huge things and they feel huge. Even if you’re just playing a space sim game, you get a feeling like the Battlestar’s huge. You don’t get that feeling looking at a television set.
The other big thing with VR is the space. Having something feel like it’s close by to you. Some of the character interaction—when you feel like somebody is next to you in VR, it’s a lot different. Multiplayer things—rigs is a multiplayer game over the network. We already have multiplayer games, of course, and you have audio chat, but you don’t really feel like a person’s there next to you when you do that in a regular game. In VR it feels like they’re there next to you. That’s a powerful feeling. The sense of immersion is the key with VR, that feeling like everything around you is more real.
As far as the second screen, we let developers choose. If they want, they can have a completely different image on the main TV. The player could see something different. We happen to have two TVs here, but really it would just be this and this that you’d have in a game. This is just for showing, to make people understand. The game developer can decide to have an asymmetric experience where people are playing with you. They might have a top view of what you’re doing.
GamesBeat: Eye-tracking, is there some of that in there?
Marks: No, in the current things we’re trying there is no eye tracking. When you point your head, turn your head to look at things, somebody may react in the game, or the game might react knowing where you point your head. We’ve done experiments with eye tracking and we’ll continue to look into that. It’s an interesting potential future option.
GamesBeat: Does AR look interesting to you in different ways?
Marks: AR is challenging. It’s pretty different. It’s hard to get as wide a field of view. You can’t do the same things you can do in VR. You don’t have control over the display as much. I’ve always been interested in AR personally. It’s a really cool area. But I don’t think we can offer the same level of experiences with that. That’s why VR is our solution right now.
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