With mostly prior confirmed PSVR titles presenting at E3 2018, we expected Sony to dedicate a few moments during its E3 2018 keynote to highlight the platform’s upcoming VR games, of course with the understanding that high-profile PS4 titles would mostly overshadow VR titles. Well, that’s a bit of an understatement.

After all was said and done, the only PSVR title to get time on the big stage was the PSVR-compatible title Trover Saves the Universe, a platformer from Justin Roiland’s Squanch Games that supports both PSVR and PS4. As one of the most tepidly-received games to debut at Sony’s patently declamatory presentation (which was first held in church-like venue to show off The Last of Us Part II, and then in a secondary auditorium to show the company’s other big-budget games), the level of evangelization of the platform and its upcoming VR games was lacking to say the least; it was a decisive emphasis on blockbusters over less crucial titles, and therefore PSVR in general.

Image courtesy Squanch Games

Not even Beat Saber, the impressively successful VR indie title that’s done over two million dollars in revenue—practically unheard of for an indie game that hasn’t seen funding support from one of the big VR players—got time on the big stage. At-home viewers were treated to only a few seconds of the game during the intermission while actual attendees of the PlayStation E3 keynote moved from one auditorium to another.

Instead, Sony quietly put out a PSVR highlights reel shortly after the presentation ended, which wasn’t shown during the E3 keynote. Games shown in the video below (in chronological order) include: Trover Saves the Universe, Tetris Effect, Moss, Ghost Giant, Beat Saber, Firewall Zero Hour, DOOM VFR, Creed: Rise to Glory, Evasion, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, The Persistence, Star Child, Skyrim VR, Jupiter & Mars, AstroBot: Rescue Mission, Vacation Simulator, and Superhot VR—many of which were previously known or even launched last year.

Sony has more games coming to PSVR (that much is certain), and there’s also a number of new games being shown at E3 2018 for the platform too. Although unlike Oculus or HTC, Sony’s gaming lifeblood is still inexorably tied to its traditional console titles, and as the PS4 console inevitably starts what PlayStation Chief Tsuyoshi Kodera calls the “final phase of its life cycle,” consolidating that investment where it counts the most—in its big budget console exclusives—makes it clear where the company’s priorities lie.

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For comparison, last year’s E3 PlayStation presentation featured six PSVR games presented on stage: Skyrim VR, The Inpatient, Starchild, Monsters of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV, Bravo Team, and Moss, all of which amounted to seven minutes of stage time. It wouldn’t have been hard to sandwich six or seven extra minutes into this year’s presentation, but obviously Sony thought differently for whatever reason. Maybe more and better is coming. Maybe now just wasn’t the time to trumpet its VR platform.

We’ve had the chance to try out many of the newly debuted titles (including Trover Saves the Universe), and it’s clear these games are either commensurate, or above last year’s games in quality, which means really only one thing: Sony has decided to publicly care less about PSVR for now. While good games worth your time are still coming to the platform, the company just didn’t feel like PSVR deserved the limelight this go around—not a guarantee that they’ve given up on PSVR, but noteworthy just the same.

For a VR headset selling at the all-time low of $200 during its ‘Days of Play’ sale, the company really ought to care what new players think though. As the headset becomes more and more affordable, Sony needs to reassure the world even more so that PSVR isn’t a stagnant platform, lest it fall entirely off the radar at the most important gaming expo on the planet. In the end, it’s all a bit of shame, as important and extremely fun titles like Sony Japan Studio’s Astro Bot Rescue Mission finally dial into what makes the platform great, but are completely overshadowed by what the higher-ups most likely consider the safest investments for now.

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  • MarquisDeSang

    Truth is, without proper full modern games VR will not attract many players. Computers are NOT powerful enough to run modern AAA in VR. It will get better, but we have to wait for something 8 times more powerful than 1080ti

    • kool

      I think next gen we’ll get this gen quality graphics in gaming. A bump in res and fov will open up the market a bit. I think a standalone with the 845 chip that can stream graphics from pc or ps5 will be the way to go to get the graphics quality we want.

    • brandon9271

      The thing is, VR doesn’t need cutting edge graphics. A game built from the ground up for VR that looked slightly better than Skyrim VR would be fine for AAA VR game.

    • V Z

      > we have to wait for something 8 times more powerful than 1080ti

      bullshit. A single 1080ti would be just fine. Modern games scale well. 1060 can run many AAA games at 60fps on lowest settings.

      • antonio mora

        True.

      • Raphael

        Yes, exactly. And in fact you can get AAA graphics on a lower GPU if ALL of the GPU VR features are made use of. That’s why Eve Valkyrie got a significant performance boost when they added VRworks. That’s why Raw Data runs on maximum settings on my GTX 1070. Most games don’t utilise the VR performance hardware that’s part of the GTX 1000 series.

        If game developers ditched the ancient API’s like DX11 and lower and embraced DX12 or Vulkan together with VR specific GPU features we’d be getting 1080ti performance on a GPU below the 1070!

    • Raphael

      You mean like Fallout, Skyrim etc? There are plenty of games in VR with AAA graphics. I played Battlefield 3 in VR with vorpx. Ran well on an i5 2500k and my then GTX 970.

      Hardware cost is still the greatest barrier and the cables dragging/ease of use/size.

      Until all those things change VR will continue as a niche peripheral. That’s not a bad thing though as niche peripheral does not equate with failure. If it did, Thrustmaster Warthog and Fanatec racing setups would have gone out of business years ago.

      VR will continue on its inevitable development. There will be short term dips and peaks but the overal development curve is rising and always has been. VR didn’t start with Octopus rift or 90’s VR.

  • kool

    They should have given vr atleast 5 mins a highlight reel and game reveal. Appearances are everything at e3.

    • David Herrington

      I agree but maybe that’s the point they are trying to make. They may be saying that VR is not as important as other things.

      • kool

        Yeah it’s kinda like their sending soldiers off to die as diversion from the real mission! But numbers don’t lie and budgets won’t rise…

      • sfmike

        Or they do not going to continue to support it. It’s all about profit and obviously they don’t see VR as a continuing profit point.

  • A VR Enthusiastic

    .

    Dear VR users / developers / companies,

    I believe that the main point is that VR also needs to be comfortable in addition to being immersive.

    And if you leave “comfortability” and “immersion” against each other, it just hurts “immersion” which is the main selling point of VR.

    And this is what we live / face in these days. VR is not comfortable enough and this is just hurting VR. This is just preventing VR to become mainstream.

    And that “comfortability” covers everthing from screen resolution to the way you play games and many other areas.

    “comfortability” is everything!

    Below are just 2 examples and then i will summarize;

    1. You monitor/TV is crystal clear compared to your HMD which can be daunting for VR gamers. So, simply, i belive that screen resolution is extremely important with no noticable screen door effect and sector needs next generation HMDs as soon as possible.

    2. VR needs more games that can be played while sitting just like ordinary games. People are also fond of their comfort. Yes (for example), Skyrim VR is a great game, but finishing Skyrim VR while standing requires a huge effort, for example, after you are back from work. Note that i am not saying every game should be played while sitting.

    Interestingly, likewise many other parameters / attempts like making wireless HMDs, reducing nausea, making HMDs more comfortable, etc, etc. all have THE SAME SINGLE PURPOSE of making users more comfortable.

    And when (i am not saying “if, because i believe that it will happen) you make users “comfortable’, suddenly VR will start to become mainstream and we will start to hear lots of VR related news, announcements in keynotes such organizations as E3.

    And it is just a matter of time.

    Thank you.

    .

    • Wurstel

      The fat, stiff cable – it needs to go. I’m not talking about half assed stand alone headsets of today that can play mobile-like games. I want wireless VR with twice the quality we have now and small and lightweight like sun glasses. I know… it’s much to ask for.

  • MosBen

    I’ve said for a while now that the second generation of consumer VR is where it will start to take off, and it seems like the big players are thinking the same thing as well. MS doesn’t announce anything for the XB1X, Sony is silent about PSVR, and Oculus and HTC seem to be focused on lower powered mobile products.

    There are rumors that MS is planning a release for Hololens 2 next year and a new console the year after that, and Sony is seemingly planning on releasing their new console in 2-3 years. Neither Oculus or HTC have really talked about their next gen hardware, and it seems like Oculus Connect will probably focus more on Santa Cruz. So it seems like 2019 and 2020 are going to be when most of the big announcements/releases happen. Farther out than I’d like, but not really that far away.

    • Doctor Bambi

      I’ve noticed that life in general tends to happen in waves. Right now I’d say the VR space and the video game space in general are in a trough. There’s nothing too exciting happening right now, but we know that Oculus, Valve, Sony, Google, Apple, and Microsoft are all quietly churning away on the next big things for VR and AR. And we’ve had numerous heads of these companies talk about the massive improvements that are coming.

      I think the next wave for VR starts with Santa Cruz in 2019 and really hits its crest with Gen 2 headsets in 2020. And I agree with you it’ll be a major inflection point, perhaps not to the ‘mainstream’ level, but definitely substantial market growth, hopefully to a point where smaller teams can reliably turn a profit.

      • MosBen

        Yep. Agreed. I just wish that we’d get to the point where these companies would start talking specifics about what kind of specs we can expect in Gen 2, and what kind of release dates they’re targeting. I know why they haven’t started talking yet; I’m just eager for more concrete info on what’s coming.

  • Wurstel

    I had psvr since day one. There are really good games for it and I own them all. But I use my headset rarely. Why? I don’t know… To this day it’s fascinating each time I put it on and I enjoy using it for a few hours then. After that it might be weeks until I use it again. Really, I can’t explain it. I’m satisfied with it, I don’t regret buying it. But it’s simply not part of my daily gaming routine. I guess other psvr users have the same problem (is it a problem?) and Sony is well aware of the usage statistics, as well as sales.

    • V Z

      Same here. I think the reason is that there are more fun things to play on regular flat screen, plus the issue of comfort. Having anything on my face other than regular vision glasses is somewhat uncomfortable.

    • kool

      It’s the lack of replayability for most games. I need an open world game to explore like Skyrim. I was hoping for no man sky or something with some shooting to announce vr support. Most games go for multiplayer in vr with dead lobbies you need coop instead.

    • Doctor Bambi

      I watched a video recently from last year’s Oculus Connect on user behavior on the platform. The speaker made an interesting point that VR in its current state is an appointment driven experience, much like movies or concerts. Because VR is so all consuming of your attention, it really demands that you set aside a chunk of time where you’re not worried about being interrupted. Couple that with the high friction to entry (clearing your play space, cleaning the lens, setting up the headset) and it makes a lot of sense that many people aren’t using it daily.

  • hugorune

    If there would just be a game such as Battlefieldheroes for PSVR, a funny FPS, or a Battle Royale, like Fortnite for PSVR. Graphics are easy, Aim Controller support. Done. Would play that day and night!!

    • kool

      World war toon was pretty cool but dissolved after the beta it would have been perfect with the aim.

  • It’s a strange strategy… but we all know that Sony is committed to VR, so surely they had some valid reasons to do this

  • hugorune

    Seems VR at PS4 is dead, after E3! I checked for new games in the Playstore, but on the left menu bar, I can‘t even select PSVR anymore as a filter. Is that true or am I just overly nervous?

  • sfmike

    Unfortunately I feel this is a signal from Sony that they aren’t supporting VR into the future. I saw this happen with their 3DTV and camcorder support and this is going the same way. If something doesn’t meet a profit goal it’s gone. Check a Sony site or Sony store and you will find a world where 3D TV and cameras never ever existed. I see this coming for PSVR. First the advertising stops, then it disappears from the menu when a site upgrades and next it just appears on their site and catalogs as discontinued and finally it’s just gone. No fan fare, no announcements or discussion, it’s just gone. Hope I’m wrong.