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    Edge: Sony's VR tech will be revealed at GDC

    Brace yourselves, the sexy is coming!
    Sony’s VR tech will be revealed at GDC – and it represents virtual reality gaming’s greatest hope



    Comments 1
    Neil Long at 10:35am March 12 2014

    A new VR headset for PS4 is expected to be announced next week, according to developer sources.

    Sony will reveal its Oculus Rift-beating VR headset at GDC next week, according to developers familiar with the tech.
    A prototype is already in some thirdparty developers’ hands, who have told us that Sony’s VR headset is far superior to Oculus Rift’s first incarnation, though that is expected to even out a little with the arrival of Rift’s new, more advanced Crystal Cove devkit. They also said that there’s little software to speak of currently, but they expect to see something from one of Sony’s firstparty studios at GDC, even if it is just a tech demo.
    There’s also no pressure on developers from platform holder Sony to adopt the tech; indeed, the studios we spoke to were excited by the technology, but questioned its viability as a platform. The cost of VR game development and its niche appeal means that many developers will wait and see how the Sony-authored experiences fare before committing to VR game development in earnest.
    Sony will reveal all at its ‘Driving the future of innovation’ session at GDC on Tuesday, March 18. The event’s description on the GDC site is deliberately brief, but it is significant that it’ll be hosted by senior SCEA research and development executives Richard Marks and Anton Mikhailov. Both men helped develop PlayStation Eye and Move; feeling out the possibilities of virtual reality on consoles appears to be a logical progression for the pair within Sony’s R&D departments. The presence of Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida lends the showcase extra kudos, too, and its significance is being stressed privately to Sony’s development partners, who are being told that it’s not a session that they’d want to miss. When contacted about all of the above information, a Sony spokesperson told us: “We do not comment on rumour and speculation.”
    Sony has showcased head mounted displays like this at CES over the past few years, but the incoming VR headset is the real deal – it has been put together by PlayStation R&D and will be branded as such.

    Nonetheless, barring a last-minute change of plan – which has happened in the past, as the headset was almost revealed late last year – Sony will announce its entrance into virtual reality gaming next week, and it’s a game changer for the medium. Oculus Rift is well-funded and its technology is dazzling, and if you can stomach using VR, we’re already seeing thrilling games emerge. Frontier’s Elite: Dangerous and CCP’s Eve Valkyrie are among the more spectacular examples, but the medium has its problems, too.
    There’s the obvious issue of motion sickness, the lack of a standardised controller and VR gaming’s potential complexity, not to mention cost. If it is to become anything more than an expensive hobbyist niche, it’ll need the backing of a major platform holder to popularise the medium by simplifying the proposition and opening it out to the average player. Sony has all of this in its grasp, potentially – it has millions of players already locked into its ecosystem, and the preexisting marketing and distribution presence to take VR mainstream. Right now, VR on PS4 represents virtual reality’s best chance of becoming a viable future platform for interactive entertainment.
    Speaking at a press event for its forthcoming Oculus Rift game Eve Valkyrie, CCP’s Chris Smith tells us: “We are passionate about the potential of this new wave of VR tech, so the more people who have the possibility to experience it the better as far as we are concerned. So yes, we would definitely welcome VR headsets for console players – it can only help bring the experience to the mass market.”
    Smith says four things need to happen to make VR mainstream, be it through Oculus Rift or Sony’s headset. Virtual reality must deliver genuinely new and worthwhile game experiences, killer launch games, an acceptable price and a good promotional campaign. Though Sony is in a better position to deliver all of this right now, Smith is confident that Oculus Rift can do the same. “As far as I can see Oculus and VR as a whole is on the right track,” he tells us. “The first barrier is getting the Oculus on everyone’s head to show them why it’s a viable platform. The subject of ‘if’ or ‘will’ Oculus be a platform is not even a question worth asking after you have experienced it. If there is perhaps one barrier, it’s how long I can game with VR. Right now an hour is fine, but can I game for 10 hours? Perhaps having to take a small break isn’t so bad.”
    Frontier’s Elite: Dangerous and CCP’s Eve Valkyrie are among the best examples of forthcoming Rift games – thirdparty games on Sony’s VR tech is believed to be nonexistent right now, though firstparty studios can fill that gap.

    Longer stretches of play are leaving players dazed for hours afterwards at this point. Indie studio Streum On Studio is developing SpaceHulk: Deathwing for Oculus Rift, and it too says VR must overcome this problem. “Oculus seems to be working hard on that,” says studio associate Longuepee Christophe. “The new HD version seems to have started to decrease this effect a bit.”
    On the controller front, fellow Oculus Rift game Loading Human from Italian indie Untold Games is currently using Razer’s Wii Nunchuk-like Hydra controllers to replicate the player’s hands in the game. Its designer and art director Flavio Parenti suffers from motion sickness himself, but continues to work on the project, such is his enthusiasm for VR. “It’s a new medium so rules can be set and have to be discovered,” he tells us. “But the nausea has to go away. The real war is going to be on the controller side. We already almost have a standard view in VR, but how do you control something in VR? I’ve been playing tech demos for almost a year now and I can assure you the only way to play is with motion control, not with a gamepad. I think we need something that’s in between the two.”
    SpaceHulk: Deathwing developer Streum On Studio says that it is using a gamepad to control its VR game, too, and it’s the same with CCP’s Eve Valkyrie, though its lead designer Chris Smith sees potential in all kinds of inputs. “Flight sticks, controllers and body tracking hardware all bring new opportunities to player control in VR as well as new design challenges,” he says. “Right now we are using a standard console controller and it’s working great.”
    More complex, non-traditional controllers always excite and inspire game designers, but ultimately the simplest solution will surely win out. And it already exists; Dualshock 4’s light bar in concert with PlayStation Eye could offer both traditional and motion-based inputs for VR games, if executed well.
    With Microsoft’s own spin on wearable tech still some way off, Sony already has everything it needs to steal Oculus’ thunder at GDC. It has the audience, the branding and the support of game developers across the industry – if its tech is accessibly priced and can overcome the problem of motion sickness, Sony’s VR headset could be the device to truly kickstart virtual reality gaming.
    http://www.edge-online.com/news/sony...greatest-hope/

    If this is why Driveclub has been delayed, ALL is forgiven!

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  3. #2
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    I'm going to feel really bad for the Oculus Rift guys if this comes in and steals the show after all the work they've done.

    Anyway, I really want a good horror game for this... one where you can't pause the game. Talk about nightmare fuel.

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    I have a feeling that Sony is going to price this out of the comfort zone.
    N.F.G

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    Interesting to see what they have come up with....
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefein View Post
    If this is why Driveclub has been delayed, ALL is forgiven!
    They do have a tendency for using Evolution Studios to showcase new tech, similar to the whole Motorstorm/3D scenario when that first kicked off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two4DaMoney View Post
    I have a feeling that Sony is going to price this out of the comfort zone.
    I'm thinking about $1k. So.....yeah.
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    PlayStation Home, am calling it now

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    I wonder if Killzone SF will be retrofitted to work with 3d and the VR headset. That would be a truly exceptional.

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    The Last Of Us 2 with VR, I'll slap them Clickers up! If they make Outlast VR I'll be avoiding it, $#@! that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Christopher View Post
    I'm thinking about $1k. So.....yeah.
    If it was good and had games near finalized I would do it. For them to say it's better than oculus my curiosity is beyond peaked. I can't wait for GDC.

    Ish I don't think they can just retrofit most games. They would pretty much have to be designed for the system. I remember reading one developer saying if you hooked up COD to it you would feel like a 4-foot midget running 80 miles per hour. And yeah $#@! outlast VR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Two4DaMoney View Post
    I have a feeling that Sony is going to price this out of the comfort zone.
    Oculus Rift is aiming for a $300 consumer product.

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    Unlike OR, Sony has their own panel fabrication as well as the rest of the components. So, theoretically speaking, they can make it better for cheaper than someone who needs to get parts from different manufacturers and distributors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisw26308 View Post
    If it was good and had games near finalized I would do it. For them to say it's better than oculus my curiosity is beyond peaked. I can't wait for GDC.

    Ish I don't think they can just retrofit most games. They would pretty much have to be designed for the system. I remember reading one developer saying if you hooked up COD to it you would feel like a 4-foot midget running 80 miles per hour. And yeah $#@! outlast VR.

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    I would gather that sony has informed 1st parties of its existence 2 years ago, and some games that have been released have been designed to accommodate "VR mode" when it arrives via update.

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    It has to be awesome and no more than the price of the PS4.
    And it can't be a flat projected screen either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mickice View Post
    It has to be awesome and no more than the price of the PS4.
    And it can't be a flat projected screen either.
    The VR detection costs should be offset by just having a light on/around the headset as this function is already setup for the PS4 controller through use of the cam.

  19. #16
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    called it 2 years ago that next thing after motion controls will be VR. yeahhhh feels good....success....

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    Very interesting. If they do it at a good price point it'll really take off


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    They're going to have to price it competitively, otherwise it will definitely fail. And with this being a Playstation headset and not a Sony headset I can it trying to target gamers as a whole and not a niche experience for a few.

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    Quote Originally Posted by darky89 View Post
    They're going to have to price it competitively, otherwise it will definitely fail. And with this being a Playstation headset and not a Sony headset I can it trying to target gamers as a whole and not a niche experience for a few.
    Part of me hopes that they potentially make it compatible with PC as well. Though depending on how it interfaces with the PS4 it might not matter. People can just write their own drivers if need be.


    Also had a thought earlier that VR could be a viable reason for 3GB of ram to be sectioned off from the developers. Running a VR headset wouldn't be a cheap process resource wise.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sajuuk Khar View Post
    Part of me hopes that they potentially make it compatible with PC as well. Though depending on how it interfaces with the PS4 it might not matter. People can just write their own drivers if need be.


    Also had a thought earlier that VR could be a viable reason for 3GB of ram to be sectioned off from the developers. Running a VR headset wouldn't be a cheap process resource wise.
    i would not be happy about that...not unless i'm going to get that myself.

  24. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sufi View Post
    i would not be happy about that...not unless i'm going to get that myself.
    Sell your XBone and you can afford one easy ^_^

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  26. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lefein View Post
    Sell your XBone and you can afford one easy ^_^
    lol oh i can afford it. i mean, i wouldn't be happy if they embed VR within the OS a la Kinect (although that probably will still take way more resources than this), if i was getting VR and loved it, i wouldn't mind but meh...they better not standardize it if it's an extra peripheral.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sufi View Post
    lol oh i can afford it. i mean, i wouldn't be happy if they embed VR within the OS a la Kinect (although that probably will still take way more resources than this), if i was getting VR and loved it, i wouldn't mind but meh...they better not standardize it if it's an extra peripheral.
    Yeah can understand that point of view. Hopefully there isn't too much over head resources needed for VR being locked away from game development. chances are we are looking at dual 720p frames being rendered which probably isn't that difficult of a task for the PS4. 720p can be more than enough depending on the pixel size/distance to the small screens in the head set.

    If it isn't stupidly expensive money and resource wise, VR could be a winner for Sony. They seem to be having a pretty good hit rate as of late.

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    i don't think i can really take a 720p game lol. i'd prefer at least 900p...maybe they can do 2x 1080p in indie games...

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    My guess is that this Sony VR will be $199 for the ps4.

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