Every five years or so, someone tips Virtual Reality to "really take off soon". Sony has been showing off its twin-OLED screened headset at conventions for a while now, but it turns out that the device's development behind the scenes is actually going way beyond a simple 3D delivery system. In Sony's R&D lab, it's now incorporating head tracking and even having specific games developed to work with it. Better believe it - Virtual Reality may be making a(nother) comeback.
Mick Hocking, senior director at Sony Worldwide Studios, told Develop: “At the moment it’s just a head-mounted display; the head isn’t being tracked – but that’s something we’re doing R&D on. I have to say, what we’ve done in the R&D projects has just been fantastic. We’re working with a couple of games at Sony that are experimenting with virtual reality type experiences.”
Above: Looks shiny, doesn't it? But would you really wear this to play games?
Currently, the device is being tested with several game genres - including first-person shooters - although there are no firm launch plans at the moment. But prototypes like this wouldn't exist if Sony weren't taking it very seriously.
It all lends weight to the rumours that Betamax will replace Blu-Ray as the storage medium of choice in next-generation consoles, PlayStation Vita games will come on minidisc... oh, and then there's this allegedly leaked PS Move 'ring' that allows you to play actual stick and hoop games, for the first time as a standalone peripheral. No need for a PS3 to run this one:
Above: If an idea's fun, it doesn't matter how old it is. Look at their faces. Just look at them!
We josh, of course. Modern-day VR is undoubtedly going to be better than the crap-o-la stuff we paid through the nose to play on holiday in the early nineties. Head-tracked 3D via a system you already own? Could be the breakthrough needed to bring this to the masses. That, or we'll be writing about the next comeback of VR in another five years' time.
19 July, 2011
(Note - if you want to hear more from Mick Hocking, there's a video interview here)