Veteran VR developer Aldin Dynamics, the studio behind Waltz of the Wizard, says it is pausing development on PSVR titles until Sony clarifies plans for the future of VR on PS5.
While Sony has brought PSVR to PS5 thanks to backwards compatibility with PS4 titles, the company has been tight-lipped on whether it plans to launch new VR hardware to bring its VR ambitions into the next generation.
For developers like Aldin Dynamics, that’s created an uncertain future which makes it difficult to commit limited time and development resources to the platform.
The studio has been working in VR since the earliest days of the industry. After its release all the way back in 2016, the studio has used its title Waltz of the Wizard as a perpetually updated test-bed for new ideas, like an innovative method for VR locomotion.
Though the game is available on all major VR platforms, Aldin’s CEO, Hrafn Thorisson, today announced the studio is pausing development on the PSVR version of the game until Sony addresses its future plans for VR on PS5.
“Sony apparently isn’t hellbent on keeping 1st gen PSVR away from PS5, but question remains what they’ll do next. I think they should do PSPVR (PS5 connection option), he said. “We’re holding off on further VR product updates on PS (including Natural Magic [a major upcoming expansion to Waltz of the Wizard]) until Sony talks what’s next.”
Thorisson’s mention of “PSPVR”—a reference to Sony’s prior PSP gaming handheld—is a suggestion that the company’s next VR headset should be standalone like Oculus Quest, with the option to plug into PS5 for rendering greater performance.
Speaking to Road to VR Thorisson elaborated on the studio’s decision decision, saying that PSVR’s aging hardware has fallen out of step with where other major VR platforms are heading.
“I think Sony did an admirable job with ’90s tracking technologies and controllers, after they dropped their gamepad requirement. In many ways Sony did a good job—but the platform became instantly outdated after release.” he said. “Oculus and SteamVR platforms let us accomplish our vision for what a VR experience should be, and the latest iterations of hardware—especially Oculus Quest—are further showcases of how VR friction is decreasing, usability improving, and retention of users is increasing with every step taken in VR.”
Limitations in tracking, especially, have made it difficult to design next-gen VR content, Thorisson said. And with little guidance on Sony’s future plans for VR on PS5, the extra work needed to keep content and features in sync with more advanced VR platforms is a risky investment. As of now, the upcoming expansion to Waltz of the Wizard, dubbed Natural Magic, won’t be heading to the PSVR version of the game—at least until Sony clarifies its VR roadmap.
“Sony needs to upgrade their platform significantly, and I personally hope the reason for their silence is that they’re hard at work on a PSPVR or otherwise a massive improvement of PSVR 2.0,” said Thorisson.