This year’s PSX down in Anaheim, CA didn’t hold a lot of surprises if you aren’t a fan of PSVR, but those that are were treated to brand new game announcements and attendees got to go hands-on with a litany of forthcoming VR experiences. PSX felt like a victory lap for Sony with regard to VR in 2017.
The two biggest PSVR titles at the show were undoubtedly WipeOut VR and Firewall: Zero Hour. Although WipeOut VR is simply a free DLC that adds VR support to the existing WipeOut Omega Collection, it’s still a major milestone. WipeOut has long been considered one of the best racing game franchises, is a core IP of Sony’s catalog, and features some of the most intense and blisteringly-fast speeds this side of Sprint Vector.
It wouldn’t be accurate to describe WipeOut VR as a “killer app” or “system seller” by any means, but it’s the latest example of Sony continuing to deliver support for PSVR in the form of high-quality first-party content. When I tried it at PSX I came away extremely excited to play more and if they add multiplayer that’s compatible with non-VR players it should really have some long legs that can carry it through the entire year.
But on the other end of the new PSVR game spectrum is Firewall: Zero Hour. This is a brand new title from First Contact, a game studio that’s packed full of AAA talent with credits on several Call of Duty titles and is headed up by some of the folks behind both ROM: Extraction and ADR1FT.
Firewall is being designed as a Rainbow Six-inspired tactical military shooter in which the attacking team must infiltrate an area and complete objectives while the defending team must stop them. It’s much more involved than simple Team Deathmatch and the single life setup of multiplayer gives the firefights much higher stakes. Playing with the PS Aim gun controller feels great, but the inclusion of DualShock 4 support should help it find an even wider audience.
PC VR gamers have had access to games like Onward and Pavlov for a long time now, but that’s not the case for PSVR players. With over two million headsets on the market the platform has much more potential for multiplayer-focused experiences due to the increased population.
As just two pieces of Sony’s 2018 puzzle for PSVR, WipeOut and Firewall are bright beacons on the path to the future. Millions of people around the world have experienced the magic of consumer-grade VR over the past year and a half, so now it’s time that it truly becomes mainstream.
Sony has a major opportunity here that shouldn’t go squandered. With such a great lineup of upcoming titles, a huge install base that has them comfortably out in first place, and a surging community with strong brand loyalty, they’ve clearly got several advantages. When Oculus Go eventually launches, along with other standalone devices such as the Pico Neo and Pico Goblin, VR will be even more widely available to the general public without the need for a powerful PC, game console, or smartphone.
Let us know your thoughts on PSVR and VR in general down in the comments below!