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Sony sees the Facebook purchase of Oculus as validation of its own VR efforts

Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida spoke highly of the recent Facebook acquisition of Oculus VR following a speech at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif. According to Yoshida, the move helps to legitimize Sony’s own virtual realty efforts, and VR as a whole.

“I woke up that morning and saw the announcement,” he said in an interview with Engadget. “And I was like, yeah! For me, it was a validation for VR.”

YoshidaYoshida is referring to Facebook’s $2 billion purchase of Oculus VR, which brought the virtual reality maker under the umbrella of Facebook. The initial reaction from many – including some of the initial Oculus Rift Kickstarter backers – was a mixture of outrage and betrayal. According to Yoshida though, the purchase is good for everyone.

“We meant to validate Oculus by announcing Morpheus, and the Oculus guys knew what we were working on. I think they were waiting for us to make the announcement, so it would be Sony and Oculus together,” he explained. “But now Oculus being acquired by Facebook is helping to validate our efforts.”

The purchase came just days after Sony debuted its own virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4, codenamed Project Morpheus. Sony has been working on virtual reality since 2010, but the Morpheus reveal is the first confirmation that Sony is planning to enter the consumer field with a virtual reality headset. That will indirectly put it in competition with Oculus, which is eyeing the PC market.

“Mark [Zuckerberg] said he believes VR can be the next platform after mobile,” Yoshida said. “That’s big thinking, and kind of excites our thinking.”

The next step for Oculus is to release the second generation of Oculus Rift for developer, which is due to begin shipping this July. Sony’s Project Morpheus doesn’t have a release date or any publicly available developer units, but it is moving ahead quickly, and we should know more soon.

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