There’s no smoke without fire, and the thick plumes pouring out of Sony’s research and development department indicate that it’s working on an Oculus Rift-esque virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4. The add-on was rumoured by several outlets earlier in the year, before a slew of patents all but confirmed the (presumably expensive) peripheral. But could the wearable technology be announced early next year?

Speculation had suggested that the Japanese giant was planning to announce the device at the Tokyo Game Show, but it changed course in order to focus its attention on its next generation console’s launch. However, in an off-the-cuff conversation on Twitter, likeable Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida has hinted that the delayed reveal may actually occur at CES 2014 in January. You better rest up over the holidays, because it looks like there’s another hectic twelve months ahead.

In truth, the exchange that’s sparked this latest rumour was rather innocent. IGN reporter Scott Lowe posted an old picture of an exhibition attendee testing out a headset, to which Yoshida responded, “We’ll see you on news sites when they post a photo of journalists taking photos of a newly announced product at CES 2014.” At a glance, it looks like an innocent joke between two acquainted industry figures – but it doesn’t take much to read a little deeper.

And if you really want to tie the abovementioned comments to some form of PS4 headset, it’s worth mentioning that Kaz Hirai is set to deliver the headline keynote at this year’s convention in Las Vegas. Granted, the executive spends most of his time trying to flog 4K televisions now that he’s got the keys to big office at Sony Corp, but there’s a slim chance that the company could announce something like this if it wants to steal some headlines among the enthusiast electronics crowd.

Personally, we’re not convinced. Sony’s still struggling to meet the initial wave of demand regarding its next generation console, and we honestly think that the firm’s best storing up any ammunition until it actually needs it. Besides, new technology such as virtual reality needs to be presented in the right way, otherwise it threatens to either unrealistically inflate expectations or completely underwhelm. Personally, we suspect that this has already got top billing at E3 in June.

[via twitter.com, neogaf.com]