The 2016 Electronic Entertainment Expo trade show in Los Angeles last week marked Sony’s biggest virtual reality push yet, and one of the company’s competitors likes what he sees.
Palmer Luckey, who invented the Oculus Rift and cofounded Oculus VR, revealed on social media yesterday that he thinks Sony Interactive Entertainment is doing an excellent job with virtual reality. The publisher had a handful of major game announcements for PlayStation VR, and it let the media and wider gaming industry go hands on with the device for hours at a time throughout the week. Luckey’s seal of approval could give the system a small boost as Sony prepares to launch it for $500 in October. Analysts at research firm SuperData predict that the VR market could generate $40 billion in revenues by 2020, and it expects that consoles — and specifically PlayStation VR — will represent a significant chunk of that.
In his tweet, Luckey explained that he is happy with what he saw from PlayStation VR. Sony announced games like Batman Arkham VR, Resident Evil VII VR, and Star Wars: Battlefront — X-wing VR Mission. Those are some major brand names that could attract new people to virtual reality. While GamesBeat came away from E3 disappointed with some of those games and the PS Move controller, Luckey called the hardware and content lineup “impressive.”
In January, Luckey told news site IBTimes that PlayStation VR “isn’t quite as high end as” Oculus Rift, but he also said it is still “a good headset.” Beyond that, he has never criticized Sony’s efforts.
— Palmer Luckey (@PalmerLuckey) June 20, 2016
Luckey went on to admit his “huge respect” for Sony and its “dedication to the VR ecosystem.” This is a reference to the PlayStation company’s monetary investment in supporting developers building VR games, films, and shows. Even while a lot of those games won’t end up on Oculus Rift due to exclusivity agreements, Luckey appreciates that others are helping VR studios make money.
From the beginning, Luckey has talked about the need for everyone involved in virtual reality to succeed. Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida and Valve Software’s (responsible for the SteamVR tech in HTC’s Vive) Chet Faliszek have made similar comments. The common concern here is early adopters on both the consumer side and the development side. Sony, Oculus, and Valve do not want gamers or developers to invest in VR only to get burned. And it sounds like Luckey thinks that Sony is keeping up its end of that bargain so far.