Mobile Virtual Reality is becoming increasingly popular, especially now that Google is directly invested in the concept with Daydream VR – an addition to the Android operating system that allows smartphone makers to implement mobile VR solutions in their handsets. Needless to say, more smartphone manufacturers are expected to join mobile VR in the foreseeable future, but apparently, Sony has no intentions of doing so. In a recent interview with Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc’s CEO, Andrew House, one of the company’s main priorities for VR at the moment is to push its upcoming dedicated VR headset into non-gaming niches including film and TV.
Mobile VR may be the most accessible virtual reality solution at the moment, but of course this comes at a cost and as far as VR content consumption is concerned, dedicated virtual reality headsets like the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift do a much more impressive job than headsets that rely on a smartphone’s processing power to enable VR. Then again, premium VR solutions are rather expensive and they require a powerful high-end computer with a beefy graphics card in order to work as intended, so it almost appears that the VR market is somewhat polarized into two segments: a premium one, and a less expensive mobile VR niche which also happens to accommodate Google Cardboard. As far as Sony is concerned, the company appears to do things differently and targets a market segment that has yet to be explored by other manufacturers: console VR. The PlayStation VR headset works in conjunction with the PlayStation 4 which comes with a lower price tag than a premium PC built for VR, and is expected to be launched on the 13th of October. Either way, Sony’s Andrew House revealed in a recent interview that his company has no interest in mobile VR solutions. “I haven’t seen a cellphone or mobile-based VR experience that really gets our content teams excited” said the CEO, adding that “We are focused on great gaming VR experiences”.
In other words, with PlayStation VR on its way and with Sony now working on bringing non-gaming entertainment content to the platform in order to increase its chances of success, Sony has no interest in the mobile VR market, and this is something that prospective Sony Xperia customers might want to keep in mind. As for PlayStation VR, Sony has revealed that it is currently working with more than 230 developers worldwide in order to bring more than 50 titles to the platform by the end of the year, including non-gaming content such as music videos, cartoons, and karaoke. According to Nomura Securities analyst Yu Okazaki “non-game content will help attract a wider audience to VR”, and of course, if consumers find this content appealing then “it might not take so long for non-gaming content to contribute fully to Sony’s VR-related business”.