February 25, 2022
Hello, and welcome to Protocol Entertainment, your guide to the business of the gaming and media industries. This Friday, we’re taking a look at how the virtual reality market has changed since Sony released its last headset, as well as what to read, watch and play this weekend.
Sony still has its sights set on virtual reality, with a new iteration of the PlayStation VR headset due out later this year. While the company has been tight-lipped about its plans so far, choosing only to reveal small bits of information and hardware renders, it finally revealed the full device this week, confirming it does indeed require a cable tethered to a PlayStation 5.
It’s a risky gamble on Sony’s part. The PlayStation owner is now banking on having a robust enough PS5 consumer base amid supply shortages to sell the headset, while also relying on its exclusivity-based gaming strategy to draw potential VR customers away from more open, versatile headset platforms with far richer software libraries.
Sony is entering a very different VR market than it did in 2016. The most popular headset on the market today is Meta’s Quest 2, a wireless standalone device that does not require you own an expensive and hard-to-find piece of hardware to operate it.
Tethered VR has been on the way out for some time. Sony dominated the early VR market in part because its headset ran on the PlayStation 4 console and didn’t require users to own a powerful and expensive gaming PC in addition to a pricey headset from Oculus, HTC or Valve.
Sony has a PS5 problem. The company still can’t make its PS5 console fast enough to meet demand. That’s bad news for the PS VR2.
VR is certainly far from a zero-sum market right now, although Meta’s success with the Quest lineup seems to suggest the competition will only become fiercer. There are still VR enthusiasts who want the best resolution and most high-fidelity graphics that tethered VR can offer, be it from a Valve device, an HP headset or potentially the new PS VR2.
But Sony’s approach to VR doesn't right now reflect the changing realities of the market, especially as it struggles to deliver enough of the consoles consumers will need to even be eligible to power on and use its new headset. Depending on the price point and launch slate, PS VR2 could be another sleeper hit for Sony, like its first crack at VR. Or it could be too little too late as Meta’s standalone VR segment continues to swallow the whole market.
— Nick Statt
New process control technologies and improved operational efficiencies will deliver the necessary quality, precision and cost-effectiveness to move next-gen therapeutics forward. This can only be achieved if the industry embraces the shift to smart manufacturing, particularly with the use of IoT and edge applications.
“Cat Burglar” — Netflix. From the people who brought you “Black Mirror” comes a goofy interactive cartoon in the style of “Tom & Jerry” that is as nonsensical as it is violent. Most of the multiple-choice questions have no rhyme or reason to them, but it’s still fun to play through the story and see whether you can help the unlucky cat burglar steal the treasure. But is it a game? Or a show? Turns out there’s no wrong answer for that one.
“Inhabiting the Negative Space” — Sternberg Press. I was a big fan of Jenny Odell’s 2019 book “How to do nothing: Resisting the attention economy.” This 2021 followup is the transcript of her 2020 commencement speech for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In many ways, it also serves as a kind of CliffsNotes version of “How to do nothing,” updated with a few thoughts on the pandemic that forced us all to do a whole lot less.
“Severance” — Apple TV+. Ever felt like you’re turning into a different person when your workday begins? That’s very much true for the protagonists of “Severance,” a new Apple TV+ sci-fi drama in which people are undergoing a procedure to permanently sever their work selves from their personal lives. Creepy, weird and utterly fascinating.
“Inside Pornhub” — The Verge. A former content moderator, whose job also involved tweeting dirty jokes, talks about the early days of the porn empire. A nuanced and necessary look at a company that’s dominated online porn for more than a decade.
“Namoo” — HBO Max. Erick Oh’s beautiful animated short film “Namoo” previously debuted in VR, and a 2D version found its way to HBO Max at the end of January. The film tells the story of a man’s journey through life, visualized through a tree, and reminds us to pay attention to what’s important in these uncertain times.
— Janko Roettgers
As we move into a world after COVID-19, the biopharma industry must understand how to maintain this incredible pace of innovation without forfeiting precision or quality. Smart manufacturing — otherwise known as Industry 4.0 — converges IoT, software-defined infrastructure, advanced analytics and AI to create more flexible and interoperable digital manufacturing platforms.
Thoughts, questions, tips? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy your day, see you Tuesday.