At Game Developer Conference happening this week, Sony has announced is getting into the VR gaming. Actually Sony has wanted to do this for years but the tech just wasn’t ready. Apparently they think now it is.
The headset will have its position and orientation tracked 100 times per second in a full 360 degrees of rotation within a three cubic meter “working volume.” Tracking will make use of high-fidelity inertial sensors in the unit itself, tiny tracking markers on the surface of the headset, and the same stereo PlayStation Camera that tracks the DualShock 4 and PlayStation Move. Sony R&D engineer Dr. Richard Marks wryly noted at the panel that the PlayStation Camera “almost seems as if it was designed for VR, actually,” to laughs from the audience.
The stats they list seem good but beyond the hardware is the fact the device runs on the PS4. This is important because that system has a whole ecosystem behind it that lets users share videos, and connect with other players. It also is a fairly powerful console which will drive the visuals.
If there was one overarching theme to Sony’s Project Morpheus announcement, it was the potential for virtual reality to achieve a sense of “presence” for the user. Marks defined this as “that feeling of being somewhere else,” saying how well Sony can achieve this will determine how well VR will do with a wider audience.
All of this adds to to a system that could be very cool to use on virtual field trips. Watching a video on a topic is good, but VR might be better from a retention of information perspective. Being able to actually experience an environment like this may be the next best thing to actually going there.
As a former VR developer, I am really looking forward to this new technology!