The entertainment business inched one giant step towards a virtual reality future on Tuesday when Sony Corp. showed off a new virtual reality headset for its PlayStation 4 game console.
"It's something which we believe will push the video-game industry forward," said Shuhei Yoshida, president of worldwide studios at Sony Computer Entertainment, at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. "This is the culmination of our work for three-plus years and realizes our vision for VR for games."
The headset, which Sony has code-named Project Morpheus, will rely on motion-tracking technology that enables players to pan their view around and have an immersive high-definition, 3-D experience.
Companies such as Sony are scrambling to catch up to Oculus VR, the start-up which developed a prototype virtual reality headset through a Kickstarter campaign. Oculus VR, which raised more than $75 million in financing last year, has sold more than 50,000 of its headset for developers, but has not said how much it will cost or when it will be available to the public.
Yoshida said that Sony was "inspired and encouraged" to pursue its own virtual reality headset project after developments by Oculus VR and Valve, another game company working on a virtual reality headset.
Sony will rely on its 3D audio technology that recreates positional sound, "such as footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or engine noises of helicopters flying overhead," according to Polygon. As players move their heads, sounds will change, "creating a highly realistic audio environment within an immersive 360-degree virtual world."