Sony’s ill-fated stereoscopic 3D push may feel like a bad memory at this point, but the platform holder has made several indications that it’s eager to get into the virtual reality market. With the Oculus Rift headset proving popular among gamers and developers alike, Eurogamer.net reports that the platform holder is working on its own version of the device for the PlayStation 4.
According to the site, the manufacturer’s already got the in-production peripheral working alongside DriveClub internally. That makes a lot of sense, as the company’s Liverpool department – which is not far from Evolution Studios’ home in Runcorn – has been working on 3D technology for a number of years, with its chief Mick Hocking being incredibly quiet of late.
Of course, the Japanese giant has designed its own headsets before, with its HMZ line proving an interesting experiment. Pitched as personal 3D viewers, these futuristic devices simulate the experience of sitting in an enormous auditorium. The Oculus Rift differs by including accelerometers which allow you to actually look around as if you’re inside a game world. This is the experience that the firm's reportedly aiming to emulate.
Incredibly, it’s thought that Sony was hoping to show its own headset at GamesCom last month, but it decided to hold the announcement back until next year. Speaking as part of an interview with Engadget at E3, Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida admitted that the organisation has access to an Oculus Rift development kit and “loves” the technology.
The company behind the Oculus Rift has admitted that it has “chatted” to the platform holder, but it seems more likely that Sony would want to create its own version. “Y'know, we're Sony, so we have lots of different things and different ideas in research and development,” Yoshida told CVG when asked about the device. “We are doing a lot of things that we can't talk about.”
Having recently had a chance to check out the Oculus Rift, we can definitely see a future for the peripheral. The most impressive thing about the technology is how natural it feels once you adjust; physically looking around rather than moving an analogue stick is the most intuitive thing in the world. It’s a perfect fit for the PS4, then, but the big question remains: how much would the hypothetical hardware cost, and how many developers would actually support it?
Update: CVG reports that the headset could be officially revealed at the Tokyo Game Show in a couple of weeks. Exciting times, folks.