Is Sony Ready To Enter the Virtual Reality Market?


Continue to be skeptical about virtual reality. Go ahead, it’s ok. After all, what has the concept ever done but crash and burn in the form of one half-assed peripheral after another? Hell, if it wasn’t for virtual reality, none of us would have had to suffer through the terror of the “Lawnmower Man.”

In fact, being cynical about virtual reality is your duty as a responsible consumer.

That being said, that little sliver of hope that exists from countless sci-fi works that the idea can work, has to be getting bigger and bigger every time another jaw dropping impression of the Oculus Rift hits the web. It’s new approach to the concept continues to look better and better with every showing, and may just be a more significant release than any next gen console at this stage in their respective development cycles.

Perhaps realizing this, and no doubt being aware of the Rift team’s insistence on not being bought out, Sony appears to be throwing their hat into the VR market as news broke today about a new model of their HMZ headset that will emphasize immersive capabilities similar to that of the rift. While the only official response on the subject is a cryptic “We don’t talk about that” from a high ranking Sony official (making the subject the hardware equivalent of a trip to Ravenholm), the official announcement a new model of the headset will debut in mid November (likely alongside the PS4) suggests there is some truth behind the rumor.

Now whether or not this particular model is Sony’s answer to the Rift, or if one is truly in the works at all, is debatable, but it’s not hard to fathom other major gaming companies wanting in on the action, as any exciting idea that can potentially lures in the ultra casual gamer dollars is deeply coveted in the industry, as evidenced by the motion control craze kicked off by the runaway success of the Wii.

It’s not irresponsible to continue treating VR as a pipe dream not ready for the big time, but ironically continuing to ignore the popularity of the idea entirely is becoming the fastest way to live in a reality truly different from our own.


New Videos Show that Virtual Reality Suddenly isn’t so Far Away

If you haven’t been following, the oculus rift is an amazing new virtual reality device that will allow the gamer to achieve a sort of free look effect while playing a game. It’s not quite the vision of virtual reality that we pictured from sci-fi, but it does represent the most realistic step towards that vision that video gaming has ever seen.

Now that early units have begun shipping to early kickstarter backers, we’re starting to get some pretty interesting footage of the device showing everyone exactly why that is.

The first comes to us from a gamer playing the free running “Mirror’s Edge.”

“Mirror’s Edge” is the exact type of game that people dreamed about when they heard of the oculus rift, and also the type they worried if the device was capable of handling. From that video, I’m going to say that concern has been addressed triumphantly

In fact, I pretty much just have to say “wow.”  While we don’t know how much time was invested in learning to play the game, it doesn’t appear that the user in that video misses much of a step with the rift, and instead the only times he seems disoriented are when he’s in a particularly narrow movement space, admiring the rift’s ability to put a new perspective on the game, or when participating in an awe inspiring free fall which serves as the definitive climax to the video.

While it’s difficult to gain the same sensation that the rift supposedly inspires just by watching a video, it doesn’t take much imagination when viewing that video to see that it has potential to lend a truly unprecedented interactive experience to select titles. Of course when you’re talking creative and imaginative experiences, nothing tops the next video.

In what has to be the most incredible demonstration of interactive gaming ever filmed, the person in that video is using an omni-directional treadmill, which can read and feed your movements to a video game character, and pairs it with the oculus rift to play “Team Fortress 2” in a manner more in line with the virtual reality experience we’ve all dreamed of, albeit in a much more exhausting manner than previously considered.

The other thing that video shows is that there is a possible future for VR gaming, which is an idea that has never really been given an honest attempt or chance. Whether or not the oculus rift is the device we all look back to when identifying the true turning point of the concept, even the earliest and roughest footage shows a VR device that does something no other has truly managed to do yet.



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