Sony has seen the future, and it looks like a virtual reality. In a recent interview, Shuhei Yoshida, Sony’s head of game development, expressed his view that everyone will be using virtual reality in one way or another by the year 2020.
Yoshida discussed the future applications of Sony’s upcoming virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR, in a recent interview with Bloomberg. Yoshida expressed his vision of PSVR moving beyond being simply a gaming platform. He envisions it being used to put users on stage with music acts such as U2, help students virtually attend class, or even give people an athlete’s perspective in the upcoming 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Yoshida’s view is predicated on his belief that “by 2020, everyone will already be using VR in some way or another.”
Yoshida’s bullish views on the PSVR do not stop at it being a mutlifaceted device capable of applications in everything from education to music. According to Yoshida, the PSVR will be “future proof,” meaning there will be enough in the initial PSVR for developers to continually make advancements even as newer, rival headsets enter the market. To show how confident Sony is in this iteration of PSVR, he denied Sony would release a more powerful version of the PSVR next year, similar to Samsung releasing a new Gear VR a year after its first-generation model.
Yoshida’s prophecy could be partly rooted in hopes for mass adoption of the PSVR, but current trends and Yoshida’s résumé give his prediction a bit more credence than just promo. The International Data Cooperation estimates VR headset shipments will increase from 9.6 million this year to 64.8 million by 2020, an increase of more than 400 percent.
Yoshida started at Sony in 1986 and was an integral part of the original PlayStation’s success, as he worked as third party manager, securing licensing rights for games from monolithic gaming companies such as Konami and Capcom. He’s responsible for helping bring defining titles such as Resident Evil, Metal Gear Solid, and Final Fantasy VII to Playstation in its early years. He compared the shift in gaming the original Playstation caused to what PSVR could possibly accomplish. “In terms of disruption, this is the most since PS1 and perhaps even greater than that.”
If the PSVR truly becomes the PlayStation of virtual reality, then millions may never see the world the same again.