At Gamescom, Sony were rumoured to have plans to unveil a virtual reality headset for the PS4 but the presentation was pulled last minute and Sony have remained hush hush ever since. However, speculation has mounted and we expect to see a showcasing at the Tokyo Game Show later this month.
So what can the headset do? Well all we know so far is that tests were done on Driveclub, PS4’s exclusive driving game due in November. Players were basically able to look around the cockpit of the car. Not exactly something to get us jumping out of our seats as Forza and Microsoft’s Kinect did something similar.
Whilst the virtual reality headset is still unconfirmed, a 2014 release date is circulating the internet. But the question remains are consumers ready for VR headset or more importantly do they want a VR headset? Will VR really add anything to the whole gaming experience?
When Playstation attempted to push 3D gaming onto the public the reception wasn’t what Sony hoped for. Similarly the 3DS saw so many price cuts within the first year the writing was one the wall for 3D. Motion controllers were fast becoming a novelty and you began to wonder where gaming technology was really taking us, or more importantly taking our wallets. Alternatively Microsoft released the Kinect, which at first glance can be seen as a success as over 24 million units have been shipped since launch. Looking past the face value though, public attitude towards the Kinect has changed since launch, as the technology itself failed to deliver the quality expected and the lack of games available often meant dust would form over the top of most people’s expensive motion sensor.
So with gaming technology becoming one quick fad after another can we really expect more from Sony’s VR headset?
Well Sony aren’t the first to enter the fray of virtual reality but with the recent buzz surrounding the Oculus Rift, another VR headset by Oculus VR which is being backed by a Kickstarter project, Sony will hope to establish themselves as leaders in the field. In fact Oculus VR’s project leader Palmer Luckey even welcomed the competition stating:
If people like Microsoft and Sony did come out and make their own head-mounted display, though, it would really just validate the market,” he added. “There’s certainly room for more than just one person in this market. Right now we’re the only people in it. It would just show that VR really is – that it’s important and it’s here to stay.”
Other companies such as Virtuix Omni have taken things one step further by not only building a VR headset but positioning players within a almost treadmill like booth, were players can move freely effecting the movements of the character on screen. Check out this awesome video below to get the full idea of what I’m talking about
As reported by Twinstickgaming, Microsoft practically canned their Illumiroom project (largely due to expense), which expanded the field of view to gamers via a projector. One now has to wonder how viable this all is? I assume Sony’s headset will be affordable compared with the Virtuix Omni and Sony’s VR visor certainly doesn’t require a large amount of room like the Kinect, therefore I would be hopeful that Sony could turn this into a successful venture.
Compared to the Omni though, Sony could be accused of a lack of ambition and once again be seen to be cashing in on the latest craze. The Omni certainly doesn’t lack ambition and even though we don’t know what Sony’s VR headset can do, I would be surprised if it can WOW consumers in quite the same way.
Tell us your thoughts. Is this viable? Is this something you want? Is this just another fad or cash in? Will this enhance your gaming experience?