Sony’s New VR Party Game, ‘Playroom VR’, Pits 4 Players on the Couch Against One Morpheus


Although Sony is working on engaging single-player experiences for Morpheus, their console-based VR solution is uniquely positioned for couch-based party gaming where local players interact with a player using the headset. Their new demo, The Playroom VR, does just this, shown off for the first time at E3 2015.

In development by Sony’s Japan Studio, The Playroom VR manifests the Morpheus-wearing VR player as a cartoonish monster (complete with charmingly personified headset), while up to four other local players control ‘VR Bot’ characters using a PS4 DualShock controller while watching the TV screen. SCE Japan Studio has worked on some of the decade’s most notable games, like Shadow of the Colossus (2005), Rain (2013), Bloodborne (2015), and the infinitely anticipated The Last Guardian (currently in development).

See Also: Video Hands-on – ‘The London Heist Getaway’ on Sony Morpheus

The player with Sony’s Morpheus VR headset has a forward facing view down a long city street with the VR Bots seen as little creatures fleeing down below. The non-VR players have a view that’s looking back toward the monster in order to watch as it chases them through the city. The Morpheus player has no controller, using solely the headset for input to smash buildings and helicopters from the sky by writhing their head back and forth. I can tell you right now that in this role I would supplement the game’s sound effects with my own monster noises….

playroom vr sony morpheus virtual reality ps4 playstation (5)The Playroom VR seems like it might encompass this particular scene as well as a number of fun Morpheus experiences. We would guess that the studio’s other VR demos, Magic Controller and Bedroom Robots (in which we also see the VR Bot characters), might be packaged into one title under the name The Playroom VR.

See Also: Hands-on – Sony’s 120Hz Morpheus Demo, ‘Magic Controller’, and ‘Bedroom Robots’

There’s no word on whether or not The Playroom VR will go beyond local multiplayer, allowing users without a Morpheus to get in on the fun. Regardless, it’s impressive to see that Sony’s PS4 is able to push not only 1080p VR at 60Hz (120Hz after reprojection), but also simultaneously support output to a standard TV for some party game fun. So far Sony’s other major competitors are not emphasizing this sort of play, likely because such systems are PC-based and therefore less likely to be found in a living room with easy couch access.

This article may contain affiliate links. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product we may receive a small commission which helps support the publication. See here for more information.

Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • seanlumly

    I think this experimentation is very wise. Sony has considerable resources, and very creative studios. While Playroom may not become the de-facto gameplay style, we may see aspects of it trickle into future titles. Plus, it offers a nice set of mini-apps for future Morpheus owners.

    Driving 2 1080p screens at 60fps seems like a big deal, but then current mobile devices drive 1440p screens at this rate, which roughly amounts the same number of pixels. Developers targeting dual-screens may have to be more frugal with their rendering techniques, but they should be able to be very graphically expressive given the consoles relatively high specifications.