At the start of the year, Sony unveiled the full specs of PSVR 2 — the unimaginatively named virtual reality follow up to PSVR. While the specs are incredibly impressive (and likely very expensive) on paper, some clearly believe that virtual reality is a passing fad, and unfortunately for Sony that appears to include the ‘Father of PlayStation’ himself Ken Kutaragi.
“Being in the real world is very important, but the metaverse is about making quasi-real in the virtual world, and I can’t see the point of doing it,” Kutaragi told Bloomberg News. “You would rather be a polished avatar instead of your real self? That’s essentially no different from anonymous message board sites.”
It should be added that Kutaragi has a very clear vested interest here: he’s now CEO of Ascent Robotics Inc, which has the mission of blending real life with computer worlds via in a “seamless, gadget-less fashion akin to Star Wars holograms” and bulky VR headsets are about as far removed from that as it’s possible to be.
That means he’s more likely taking aim at tedious looking virtual reality meeting rooms and other, more ambitious/nightmarish examples of where VR could take society.
All the same, intentionally or not, all VR headsets including Sony’s are caught in this friendly fire: “Headsets would isolate you from the real world, and I can’t agree with that,” he said. “Headsets are simply annoying.”
I don’t think even VR’s staunchest defenders could argue with that. They’re bulky, uncomfortable and incredibly geeky looking. Unfortunately, they’re also the only way to get a truly immersive experience at the moment, so they’re the best we’ve got.
As for Ascent, Kutaragi is keen to show something sooner, rather than later given his advancing years. “I don’t plan to spend a decade or two on making my dreams a reality,” he told Bloomberg. “I’m 71 and time is short.” A bit depressing, but no doubt it helps focus the mind.