Carmack: Sony Faces Uphill Battle with VR on the PS4

Temper your expectations. That’s the message from industry icon and current Oculus VR CTO John Carmack about Sony’s new PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset, Morpheus.

Carmack, who has been instrumental in shaping virtual reality’s promising future with the Oculus Rift, evidently believes Sony faces a steep challenge bringing virtual reality to the PS4. Here’s what he had to say in a tweet this morning:

In other words, good luck with that, Sony.

Not trying to put words into the man’s mouth, but Carmack’s quote can easily be read as a jab at the competition. While games running at 60 frames are standard on PC, hardware constraints mean developers are often forced to lower FPS on consoles for the sake of better visuals. The list of 60 FPS games on the PlayStation 3 is short, and of those, the ones that run at 60 FPS consistently (when in-game action is fast and frantic) is even shorter. According to Carmack’s tweet, those sparse few games would be played at a much lower fidelity on Morpheus than what Oculus has been showing off with its 1080p Rift headset.

When posters to Carmack’s Twitter feed accused him of “sniping,” he clarified:

In one more tweet that can be read as a shot off of Sony’s VR bow, Carmack notes Sony had the chance to hire Oculus founder Palmer Luckey but passed:

Forget about the console wars. The first shots in the virtual reality wars have been fired.

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5 Comments on Carmack: Sony Faces Uphill Battle with VR on the PS4

rickshaw

On March 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm

I do not like VR as I see it a major eye damaging problem, we already do enough with computer screens, laptops and mobiles, another one that’s right smack in your face is just going make it worse.
Aside from my negatives against VR,
I believe Sony far superior in visuals than John Carmack and his oculus can achieve, he’s a frightened man, he knows Sony delivers on visuals. They have far better tech than he can ever dream to have.

quicktooth

On March 19, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I’ve tried an Oculus Rift headset, the dev kit version. It was revelatory. This is simply the future of visual presentation for video games. It was unfortunate that I got very very motion sick almost immediately, when the in-game motion did not match my physical motion (I was seated). I have heard however that they have fixed this already and commercial Oculus releases will be free of this problem. If they do, then they’e already won me over- I would *very* much like to use their products for VR; it looked, somehow, even though it’s a sort of first-generation take on VR, exactly like VR *should* look. A vision from the future, perhaps. Sony merely by coming in second has an uphill battle to win me over. They just aren’t the bright-eyed wizz kids who made good and started it all (at least with a working headset- mad props to the pioneers of VR up to the almost-made-it 1990s). They’re a corporate behemoth that essentially doesn’t care about it’s customers but wants to say they’re hip too, and it’s not even clear that they’ve got a better functioning headset. I hope Sony works hard and does well in VR, but they’re not going about it in the right way. The Oculus VR concept already *is* pop culture (I think), and it seems to work great. Simply presenting a headset and saying it works isn’t enough. What does everyone else think?

Bob

On March 20, 2014 at 5:19 am

Richchaw you are just a lil fanboy

tomfoolery

On March 20, 2014 at 10:13 am

Anyone saying Sony will have the superior VR can be classified Sony Fanboy Deluxe. What this mean’s is you’ve drunk the Sony Kool-Aid, you enjoy their propaganda, and you refuse to look simple facts in the face.

For rickshaw, let me do break it down:

PS4 can achieve a maximum 1080p @ 60fps. Rendering VR requires far more power. On it’s launch day, the Morpheus can at best match it’s hardware specs, and they will remain the same as long as the PS4 exists. The Rift on the otherhand is already look at 1440p @ 75hz+ on launch day, and their continual evolution over the life span of the PS4 will bring us, at a minimum I imagine, 4k resolutions, and super high framerates. Sony has lost this war before it even began, by developing for a closed, fairly low-powered system by PC standards.

psycros

On March 22, 2014 at 10:35 pm

VR is the new 3D, and its going to be just about as successful.