As if we needed MORE reasons to get hyped for E3 2017, it looks like Sony has teased a few more things for this year’s conference.
First, for those of you who haven’t yet moved on to the PS4 (and why not?), Sony has announced that they will be dropping the retail price for “select” PS4 models to $250 (USD), down from $299 (USD). The lowered price will be in effect from June 9 – June 17, so gamers may want to plan early and take advantage of that next week. The company is also promising discounts on “software and accessories” during E3 week. As for which models they’ve included in that “select” category, and what software & accessories will be discounted, that information has not yet been made known.
However, that’s not all. Andrew House (Sony Interactive Entertainment’s president & global CEO), recently talked with USA Today about the company’s work on a PS VR game based around the popular show, Breaking Bad. One of the most exciting things about this, is that the creator of Breaking Bad himself, Vince Gilligan, is signed on to work with SIE on the project. Details on the project are (as expected) pretty scarce, and neither Gilligan nor SIE is talking about whether the game will be episodic or all-in-one, what talent is signed on for it, or any kind of release date info. What we do know, is that Gilligan is eager to take on storytelling in virtual reality.
When asked about the project, House stated, “We set up a day at our campus where we brought seven of the best show runners [Sony Pictures Television] work with, like David Short, of The Blacklist & Ron Moore, who did Battlestar Galactica, and they just played around with VR. Several of them were intrigued, but Vince was the one who said, ‘I really want to do something with this. I want to experiment with this.’”
Due to the (relatively) primitive nature of production tools for live-action 360˚ video, House has stated that the VR experience will be put together using existing CGI, and Sony’s game team is set to work with Vince Gilligan to bring his vision for the experience to reality. Since 2015, when SIE and Sony Pictures Television teamed to create Powers, based on the comic book by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Michael Avon Oeming, the teams have been exploring working in areas beyond just video games, in order to expand their reach. Powers ran for two seasons, before it was cancelled by Sony on August 3, 2016.
This same unit also oversees PlayStation’s streaming service, PlayStation Vue. Andrew House has said that the service has the highest retention rate of any network service offerings (including PS Plus & PS Music). While he did not offer up any specific subscription numbers, House did mention that PlayStation Vue currently has more active users on non-PlayStation devices than on the console itself. In addition, monthly viewership on PS Vue among the 18 – 34 year-old demographic is approximately 140 hours, which comes out to roughly twice the national average for that range.
Utilizing collaborations like the one with Vince Gilligan, SIE is hoping to bring virtual reality to that same level of appeal. “I think [this] could be another interesting way to see how VR can drive toward the mainstream,” House stated.
PlayStation VR now boasts more than one million units sold worldwide, up from about 900,000 in February 2017. According to Sony, it’s been sold out from day one. “We don’t see it as a fad, it’s a brand new medium, not only for gaming entertainment, but non-gaming entertainment,” says Sony global game development boss Shawn Layden. Additionally, of every five PS4 units sold by Sony, one of them is a PS4 Pro. This seems to be an achievement worthy of praise, given that the price point for the PS4 Pro is currently $100 (USD) more than the standard PS4, and the relative infancy of the 4K TV market – which is, of course, where the appeal for the upgraded console lies.
As we get more information on E3 2017 announcements & reveals, we’ll be bringing them to you as fast as we can, dear readers. For now, however, let us know your thoughts on the possibility of a Breaking Bad virtual reality experience, as well as your thoughts on VR as a gaming tool. Are there any other ways that you feel PlayStation could take advantage of this tech? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned for more!