A Sony virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 has been knocking around the rumor mills since last year. Today new reports have surfaced which gives credence to the reveal of Sony’s answer to the Oculus Rift during GDC later in 2014.
In 1992 Lawnmower Man introduced virtual reality to pop culture and Wired magazine was telling everyone how $25 VR headsets would be available at a store near you. Almost 20 years past the days of 90’s sci-fi and failed initiatives the subject is again at the forefront. A small startup called Oculus VR has been generating buzz through the gaming industry. It started with a 21 year old hardware guru and has spread so far into the gaming consciousness that heavyweights like Sony are taking notice.
Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus VR, went to Kickstarter hoping to raise $250,000 in order to fund his dream of bringing virtual reality to the mainstream audience. It was a lot to ask with the promise of VR having not yet been realized and traditional investors were not interested. After only 2 days on Kickstarter, Luckey had over $1 million dollars in funding and at the end of the 30 day pledge drive, $2,437,429 were lining the pockets of Oculus VR. Since then, game developers have been buying development kits and the gaming press and main stream media have given the VR headset a good deal of coverage. To date, the Oculus has received almost $100 million in Series A & B funding to keep the dream alive. The goal is to have the sets available for the Christmas season in 2014.
Sony’s PlayStation 4 is on a good roll with gamers and developers alike thanks to great hardware and services, including the impressive PlayStation Now service due to launch this summer. The next phase for the PS4 will be a virtual reality headset to compete with the forthcoming Oculus and while Sony has officially confirmed the existence of the head set, only closed door demos have been showcased and anonymous sources are the only information we have at this point.
According to the sources speaking to both CVG and TechRadar the headset will resemble Sony’s sleek looking HMZ 3D headset which is currently available. Like the PlayStation Camera, the headset will be available as a stand alone item to keep the PlayStation 4 at its current baseline price. The reports state that the headset is slated to be revealed to the public during the Game Developer’s Conference in 2014 which starts on March 17 in San Fransisco.
The developer who spoke to CVG stated that, “The quality and resolution are really, really good,” they said. “People will definitely be impressed with what Sony’s built.” The headset is reportedly in the hands of Evolution Studios, developers of the forthcoming Drive Club racing game for the PlayStation 4. The idea is to showcase the cockpit view of the race cars with the headset which will give the player the most immersive experience possible short of being in a real car.
Regardless if you believe in VR making a serious impact in gaming or entertainment in the near future, Sony believes it is worth investing in with their own virtual reality headset. Time will tell if this will be another fad like motion controls were for the Wii or if this will indeed make an impact on how we consume entertainment.