According to recent reports, Sony is planning on showcasing a PS4-ready virtual reality headset at this year’s Tokyo Game Show. The device itself was originally slated to be unveiled at Gamescom 2013, however plans fell through and Sony opted instead to reveal it in Japan a few weeks later..
The virtual reality headset represents Sony’s final armament in the next-gen war against Microsoft, and by introducing their very own PlayStation-branded VR device, Sony will be contending against the Oculus Rift for dominance in an emerging market.
The Oculus Rift itself has been gaining momentum in the industry, and while it’s still in early-ish stages of development, it has piqued the general interest in the gaming sphere. If Sony were to make this kind of technology more accessible to the consumer market–depending of course on overall performance and cost factors–they may very well be able to take a bite out of both the console market and the emerging VR market in one fell swoop.
One anonymous industry dev has revealed that Evolution Studios is currently familiar with Sony’s VR headset and is implementing the device for their racing title Drive Club, allowing gamers to immerse themselves right in the driver’s seat.
Additionally another dev commented that the headest resembles Sony’s HMZ Personal Viewer which was released years ago.
The head-mounted virtual reality display will be sold separately from the PlayStation 4 console as to keep the price point as low as possible, a strategy that’s akin to other peripherals including the new PS Eye camera.
When asked about the possibility of VR tech, Sony’s Shuhei Yoshida suggested that R&D may already be underway:
“Y’know, we’re Sony, so we have lots of different things and different ideas in R&D,” he said when asked if the corporation was building a VR headset.
“When it come to researching things, we are doing a lot of things that we can’t talk about.”
The announcement of virtual reality support for the PS4 will most likely kindle a flame of interest that may grow into wildfire, and the concept in itself is quite interesting. While the price point for such a device may be costly, and limitations will certainly arise, the prospect goes further to bring a whole new level of purely immersive entertainment to the home gaming experience.
It will be interesting to how far along Sony is in regards to the hardware (and the software) of the device, and whether or not if it will be an accessory-type experience with gimmicky features within select titles or if it revolutionizes the experience altogether.
The potential is there for Sony to usher in a new age of gaming, and if executed correctly, a library of VR-ready games to support it…but the path to virtual reality will undoubtedly be full of bumps and snags, but it’ll be a memorable ride nonetheless.
This year’s Tokyo Game Show is just weeks away and will mark perhaps the final event wherein Sony and Microsoft exchange blows for dominion in the next-gen console market, and we’ll likely hear more information–including specs and perhaps release dates and price factors–when it begins on Sept. 19.