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Sources Suggest PS4's Virtual Reality Headset Stomps All Over Oculus Rift

Posted by Sammy Barker

Developers already have access to the device

Oculus Rift may be the biggest name in virtual reality right now, but sources suggest that Sony is poised to steal the upstart’s thunder at GDC next week. EDGE magazine reports that select third-party developers already have access to the PlayStation 4’s currently unannounced headset – and it’s significantly superior to the first incarnation of the abovementioned outfit’s interactive goggles.

While the publication cautions that this current superiority could even itself out with the arrival of the competitor’s more advanced Crystal Cove development kit, it’s impressive to see the Japanese giant taking the lead in a space that few knew it was even dabbling in until recently – even if that advantage is only temporary. However, the big problem for the platform holder is that it purportedly hasn’t got much software ready yet.

The headset is set to be announced during a panel hosted by Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida and EyeToy creator Dr. Richard Marks on 18th March, but insiders don’t expect to see too much from the firm, aside from perhaps a technology demo from one of its first-party outfits. We’d put good money on either DriveClub or something new from Media Molecule putting in an appearance, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Furthermore, while developers supposedly now have access to the device, the platform holder’s not putting any pressure on the selected studios to use it. In fact, according to the magazine’s sources, some have even questioned the viability of the peripheral, despite its undeniably exciting potential. Once again, it seems that the manufacturer will have to drive adoption of the unit before cautious third-party publishers invest any resources into it.

Still, after months of speculation, it’s exciting to know that we’re only weeks away from strapping ourselves into the PS4’s added dimension. Assuming that the PlayStation maker can get the pricing and software lineup right, this could culminate in a seismic shift for the industry as a whole. Are you intrigued by the idea of virtual reality, or do you predict that this is going to be another unnecessary flop? Look around in the comments section below.

[via edge-online.com]

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User Comments (32)

Savino

#2

Savino said:

The main diference between both VR Sets is that rift will be used for much more than games while Sony's is locked on what the PS4 can do!

SimonAdebisi

#3

SimonAdebisi said:

If it stomps on the rift its not a big surprise, Google has only gotten into making hardware fairly recently compared to sony

get2sammybAdmin

#4

get2sammyb said:

@Savino True. It's also going to be limited by the PS4's power, which may not be enough to do these types of experiences justice. However, I'd argue that Sony has the opportunity to make this mass market in a way that Oculus arguably doesn't — and if it's a hit, we may start to see more publishers building games around it.

We'll have to wait and see, though. I just don't know how they're going to get the pricing right.

banacheck

#7

banacheck said:

I was reading about this early on how some 3rd parties already have thing VR headset apparently, & one of Sony's 1st party dev's has a demo using it. And how it's apparently better than the Oculus Rift, and saying like you with the right software & price Sony has a better chance off getting VR off the ground so to speak.

SimonAdebisi

#8

SimonAdebisi said:

Apart from the obvious applications for ps4 I hope they make it vita compatible, I know it wouldn't be much use for games that frequently require precise touch screen functions but I'd love to have the option.

eLarkos

#9

eLarkos said:

The crystal cove kit is already being demoed. Im not some spokesman for the OR but I do buy into their philosophy that it needs to be done right. This cannot be a half ass thing. That means no compromises because of power etc. You say Sony could bring this to the mass market? Well if its not perfect then they will kill it for the mass market.
You do have to wonder how much they invested/cared about this hardware if they are not very active in software development.
My guess: Sony pushing another 'not best' product just to have a presence in the market.

get2sammybAdmin

#10

get2sammyb said:

@eLarkos Where is the indication that Sony's rushed this in anyway? It's taken a while for Oculus to develop a noteworthy selection of software. They may be deciding to hold titles back until E3, and focusing on revealing the tech at GDC. It's way too early for that kind of scepticism.

SimonAdebisi

#11

SimonAdebisi said:

As long as its a step up from virtual boy then I'm game. If its not atrocious which I doubt very much it has any chance of being, then I'll definitely be ordering one.

Shaolin

#12

Shaolin said:

Personally I applaud Sony's experimental nature when it comes to pushing gaming forwards. I too feel that if they manage to make VR work they will have succeeded in bringing it to the masses in a way that the Rift could only dream of. I completely expect Rift based systems to be more capable but I also expect them to have more of a niche focus too. I'm interested to see how they deal with pricing and that all important issue.......nausea. So I say let's give Sony a chance here because they may have a surprise or two in store for us.

rjejr

#13

rjejr said:

Well I was way off as I never thought they would unveil something like this during a panel discussion at GDC. Though I suppose tech at GDC and actual games at E3 makes sense, as the PS4 unveil was months before E3 as well.

My mea culpa aside, Im still not sure O Rift or VR headsets of any kind are ready for mass consumer appeal. Wasn't the PS3 supposed to mass market 3D? 3D tvs and glasses arent big sellers yet and it's been years. I don't think 3D tv is even advertised that much anymore. This is a very limited appealing item geared towards dare I say "hard core" gamers.

I think the technology is great for limited uses, like the GoT exhibit at SXSW, but gaming for hours on end in that headset would make some people nauseous just thinking about it.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/09/tech/gaming-gadgets/game-thrones-oculus-rift-sxsw/

All the best to Sony, and that mM marionette Move game could be awesome w/ this, but I don't see it as a huge game changing peripheral. How many people here own a Segway? I think that was actually supposed to change the whole world.

BornOfEvil

#14

BornOfEvil said:

If Sony makes it PC compatible, then they could compete with the Rift (if priced right), while also having a monopoly on the console market - though it'd be limited to the PS4.

The biggest issue would be adoption, which creates an issue with software. Sony can't afford to let this go the same route as their 3D TV's, which had potential.

@eLarkos Most of Sony's products have been functionally competitive with what the competition is offering, and I'm sure that their VR headset will be the same.

eLarkos

#15

eLarkos said:

@get2sammyb I don't believe Sony would even be entering this market if it wasn't for OR. Playing copycats (for lack of a better expression) is where my skepticism comes from (and rightfully so if you look at history). Now if Sony had come out before anyone had ever mentioned VR I would be more optimistic.

@Shaolin Hardware wise, I dont believe Sony have pushed gaming experiences forward at all. They have mostly copied trends. The last thing I remember that was truly unique was the original eyetoy - and that was fantastic and exciting for the times. My mum could be forgiven for mistaking the ps4 for a ps1. (I do love the ps4 btw)

@BornOfEvil I agree, however is functionality competitive good enough for VR? I guess we will see.

Not trying to offend anyone.

Ginkgo

#16

Ginkgo said:

It would need to be loads better than the OR to be even vaguely useful. Love the idea, just not convinced. Also, how can you demo it? It is something you have to try for yourself.

ShogunRokAdmin

#17

ShogunRok said:

@Ginkgo That's a good point — how do you demo it? I've heard a lot of people who have actually tried the OR saying that it's great, but those that haven't tend to have a difficult time being convinced that it's really a game changer.

AeroZeppelin

#18

AeroZeppelin said:

@eLarkos Sony's been working on this VR-set for years now so i think Sony's VR-set for PS4 is going to be awesome they wore the first ones to put DVDplayers in consoles (PS2) and the first to put Blu-Ray in consoles (PS3) and sony maid the PS Move before the Wii even come out Sony's problem isn't that they can't come up with any ideas of there own the problem is they lack confidence in there own ideas

Longaway

#19

Longaway said:

I'm almost willing to put down money that this will be surprisingly affordable, because it will essentially be streaming goggles with basic motion sensors, offloading the positioning heavy lifting to the PS4 Eye, via lot's of multicolored LEDs on the headset/straps. I've got no problem with that, either.

Savino

#20

Savino said:

@get2sammyb agree!
Price will be the main problem for the rift! They cannot sell it with a loss and sony, on the other hand, can easily cut 100 bucks per unit to keep the price afordable enough for the masses!

Rift can become a major hit if the price is below 300... But I dont bet my horse on it!

AeroZeppelin

#21

AeroZeppelin said:

@eLarkos Sony is always comeing up with new and original ideas but because they lack confidence they always fall back on those ideas they like to wait and see how other companies who (copy there ideas) do if the other companies can make there own ideas successful first Sony want's to know if there are enough consumers that want it they wanna know if there's enough demand for it first to justify comeing out with it and pushing it with confidence

AVahne

#22

AVahne said:

Considering their previous 3D headsets, I'm doubting this. Considering what I know about it, I'll stick with OR.

naruball

#23

naruball said:

@rjejr

Sorry to be "that guy", but "mea" in "mea culpa" means mine/my. So saying "my mea culpa" is a pleonasm. Just in case you wanted to know.

Anyway, on topic. I seriously can't wait for this, though Sony's lack of success with 3dtvs and Move is a concern at the moment. Their brand is not strong enough to introduce something so big and succeed. Had it been Apple, people would be all over this.

astroshamu

#24

astroshamu said:

compared to what version? The dev kit? If so thats not a hard thing to do. They havent even shown their final version of the rift so I don't think they can rightfully claim that; but im still eager to see how theirs looks and runs

ThreadShadow

#25

ThreadShadow said:

Twenty years ago, this same VR race was happening in the gaming world. There's nothing new under the sun. What goes around, comes around. I walked to school up hill both ways, etc., etc..

Once again, my friendly question goes out; Why do we need and or want this level of immersion?

FATHASUN

#26

FATHASUN said:

@Savino Why would the Sony VR headset be locked to the PS4? Making it work with other devices is only a matter of Sony allowing it to do so. To my understanding it is a standalone product that could potentially work with any vidoe input.

Savino

#27

Savino said:

@FATHASUN Because I dindt think about that! :D

I dont know what I was thinking to let something so obvious pass! Its Sony, not Nintendo!

Squiggle55

#29

Squiggle55 said:

@fathasun I don't think it's completely out of the question that it will be locked to PS4. It might not be a good idea but they might do it.

justerthought

#30

justerthought said:

Unlike this article, I'm not surprised Sony have been able to get up and running with VR tech very quickly. Let's not forget, Sony have been major researchers into high tech equipment in all areas. They have been a major player designing high tech optical camera's and various medical equipment. They have a lot of experience in TV technology and 3D. They have vast experience in human ergonomics. Every type of electronic product (optical or audio) that you can think of, Sony have had multiple versions to market at both the domestic budget end and the high tech pro end. If anyone can do it Sony can.

Shaolin

#31

Shaolin said:

@eLarkos Certainly no offence taken, you very politely described your point of view.

Clearly, you feel that PlayStation hasn't pushed gaming experiences forward which I completely disagree with and that's fine but surely you couldn't accuse PlayStation of not trying, which is the "experimental nature" to which I was referring.

tbird20d

#32

tbird20d said:

I'm really interested to see what Sony does with VR. They've been working on headmounted displays for years and years (including announcing another new one at CES this year). They's also been working on camera-based motion tracking for years and years (with EyeToy, Playstation Eye, and now the PS4 camera). This is a critical part of getting the VR to work well, and I hope they do a good job.

FYI - there's a great presentation by Valve about the technical requirements for good VR here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-2dQoeqVVo . It sounds like OR does a pretty good job on several fronts, and I hope Sony does also with their product.

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