PS4 Oculus Rift concept by T3
PS4 Oculus Rift concept by T3

After Sony’s somewhat embarassing reveal of the HMZ-T3Q HMD at CES 2014, new unconfirmed info from Steam Dev Days reveals that the company may actually be working on a true Oculus Rift competitor in the form of a PS4 virtual reality headset.

The HMZ-T3Q is Not a ‘Personal 3D Viewer’ Virtual Reality HMD

The HMZ-T3Q was announced at CES 2014 last week to little fanfare. What was picked up by many press as an ‘Oculus Rift competitor‘ turned out to be nothing more than the $2122 HMZ-T3 with an accelerometer module strapped to it, with the same diminutive 45 degree field of view that we’ve seen on the HMZ-T1 and HMZ-T2. The experience that Sony was showing on the show floor was far from even the Oculus Rift DK1, and Sony is still pushing the HMZ-T3 as a ‘personal 3D viewer’ and not a VR headset.

MTBS3D’s Neil Schneider put it well in his HMZ-T3Q impressions from CES:

While I don’t wish to be mean and I don’t like bashing new immersive technology products, I have great difficulty believing for an instant that this is the HMD Sony plans or is thinking of going head to head with against Oculus.  Maybe it was the hype train suggesting this – I can’t explain it.

I feel the same way and think that we’re either looking at gross miscommunication between Sony’s display and gaming departments, or some odd misdirection.

Back in October, Road to VR uncovered a Sony patent for optical distortion correction for a virtual reality head mounted display that was suspiciously similar to the Oculus Rift and doesn’t seem to apply to the HMZ series.

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Unconfirmed Info From Steam Dev Days Hints at True PS4 VR Headset in the Works

Now, TheSonicReblog claims to have spoken with someone that confirmed that Sony is working on a PS4 virtual reality headset that is completely different from the HMZ series:

Incidentally, I spoke with a dev from a major gaming company the other day and got him to spill the beans on the PlayStation VR headset. Lots of pleasing info. VR, at this point, is more about these companies thinking forward and long-term about the medium as a whole. This stuff is in good hands.

The author followed-up to clarify that the dev was not talking about the HMZ series:

The devs I spoke to talked about the actual PlayStation VR headset. They described Super Stardust VR to me and explicitly talked about how it was different than the HMZ line. Sony has been working on VR for ages, longer than people realize. They’re pretty thrilled to see VR taking off just as their tech is maturing and are interested in the long-term future of the medium, [not] just their own headset.

Super Stardust HD (2007) is a PS3 title which actually worked really well with the HMZ-T1 when I tested it several years ago. There is no Super Stardust for the PS4, potentially damaging the validity of the claims made by TheSonicReblog’s sources. However, Resogun (2013), which is considered a spiritual successor to the game, is indeed on the PS4. We also have no reason to rule out a yet-announced Super Stardust HD for PS4.

This info is completely unconfirmed at this point and should be taken as rumor only. However, combined with other evidence, it would appear that Sony is working on probably Oculus Rift competitor for use with the PS4. I think they’d be making a mistake if they aren’t.

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MTBS3D’s Neil Schneider says that “insider contacts have told me to wait for GDC,” regarding a Sony VR gaming headset.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Curtrock

    It’s becoming quite clear that VR isn’t just about “hardware”. I notice that Oculus has pivoted away from the “Virtuix Omni ” type of 360 degree experience, and now is focused on a “sitting/fwd facing” experience. VR is a whole new medium, and requires a different approach to experiences, far removed from the console “shooter” games that currently dominate with Sony/Microsoft. Just adding an HMD to a Playstation, is not going to produce a win for Sony. I think were witnessing the birth a form of interactive entertainment that will spawn a new paradigm of experiences, that today’s games are not designed for / and porting them over to VR isn’t going to cut it. Sony/Microsoft are VERY good at what they do, but Oculus is leading the way, into a new frontier.

    • James Iliff

      No greater words hath e’er been spoken!