Gaming magazine Edge reported that Sony will unveil the headset at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco next week along with some limited software from a Sony games studio. Sony refused to comment. But other sources indicated to the Guardian that the report is correct.
Third-party developers who have been given a prototype of the headset told Edge that Sony’s equipment is far superior to the current implementation of the Oculus Rift, which has received over $90m of venture capital funding as well as $2.5m from a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2012.
Sony is holding a “driving the future of innovation” session at the GDC on 18 March, which is being hosted by senior Sony research and development executives previously involved in Sony’s PlayStation Eye and Move peripherals, as well as Sony’s president of worldwide studios Shuhei Yoshida.
‘Future of innovation’
The Oculus Rift has shipped over 50,000 units worldwide to developers interested in the virtual reality technology. Legendary games programmer John Carmack, who was the father of Doom and Quake before becoming Oculus VR’s chief technical officer last year, promised a second developer kit will be available soon, based on the improved Crystal Cove headset the company showed off at CES in January.
Sony has sold head-mounted displays since 2011 known as the Personal HD and 3D Viewer, but has yet to make public moves into the virtual reality space despite long-running rumours suggesting it was working on a form of VR headset.
VR headsets have a long history stretching back to the 1990s, but never took off for general use partly because of price, weight and screen resolution issues. There were also concerns that lengthy use could cause nausea because the landscape the user sees does not agree with what the body’s balance system is experiencing. “Laggy” movement of the display contents could make this worse.
Oculus Rift marked the first stage in a new era of virtual reality headsets. It promises to revolutionise gaming and screened entertainment, providing an immersive 3D experience coupled to motion tracking technology. Dozens of PC games are expected to support the consumer version of the Oculus Rift when it goes on sale.
Sony’s version, with support from Sony’s first-party development studios and the PlayStation ecosystem has the potential to bring virtual reality into the mainstream.
Previous efforts at expanding the PlayStation gaming experience with the PS Move and motion gaming have not found the sales success of Microsoft’s Kinect system, however.
• Valve promises to take virtual reality to the masses
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