At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016, there was one notable VR gear maker absent — Sony. Almost every other major smartphone maker revealed its VR plans at the MWC this year. Even Alcatel announced the packaging of its IDOL 4S would double as a VR headset while LG stunned its fans with a super lightweight smartphone powered VR headset. Sony totally ignored the PlayStation VR at the MWC. No trace of promotional videos, posters or even a word was uttered about the PlayStation VR during Sony’s press conference.
Kazuo Hirai and Hiroki Totoki, Sony CEO and Sony President of Mobile Communications respectively, unveiled quite a number of Sony products at the event. Among them is a new line of Xperia phones (Xperia X, Xperia Performance and Xperia XA) alongside the Xperia Eye (first-person camera), Xperia Ear (Smart, Bluetooth-like ear piece), Xperia Projector (Interactive standalone projector) and Xperia Agent (smart home personalized assistant). Weirdly, still not a semblance of recognition for the PlayStation VR was seen.
After missing a second major tech convention in 2016, a second missed opportunity for the company to give fans an update about the PlayStation VR. Sony has quietly revealed that its giving more upate on the PlayStation VR in a March 15 event. The company is holding a PlayStation VR-focused event on March 15th at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The event will comprise a presentation and some hands-on demonstrations of the VR gear.
Sony first revealed its plans for virtual reality technology on the PlayStation 4 two years ago under the code name “Project Morpheus”. The face-covering headset completely takes over a user’s sense of sight. The PSVR’s built-in display offers a resolution comparable to a high-definition TV and a 100-degree field of view, slightly more than the normal human range. Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, first showed off a prototype headset at a Game Developers Conference 2014 event.
“Nothing delivers a feeling of immersion better than VR,” “….VR has been a dream of many gamers since the computer was invented. Many of us at PlayStation have dreamed of VR and what it could mean to the gaming community.” Yoshida said.
Joining Yoshida on stage for the presentation was Sony’s Magic Lab Richard Marks. Marks highlited Sony’s VR target, how it intended to achieve it and the progress so far, at least as at then. Marks identified six areas his company needs to “get right” in order for its Playstation VR to work. He highlighted sight, sound, tracking, control, ease of use, and content. For sight, Marks refers to Sony’s considerable weight in optics and imaging technology. For sound, mark said Sony is working on 3D binaural tech to aid presence and immersion. For tracking and control, Marks says the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move are ready-made solutions. For ease of use, Sony plans to make it a comfortable, plug-and-play experience. And for content, Marks said the project boasted a number of successful software partners, while showing a long list of software partners including Epic Games, Crytek, Autodesk, Unity, and more. Now, five years on, it seems the tech giant has nailed most of its targets. The Asian company has done quite an impressive work with PlayStation VR that it might actually compel a lot of die hard gamers to go extra miles for a consumer version. Sony is yet to annouce the price or release date for the PSVR. PlayStation chief Andrew House had earlier reportedly said that the headset will be “priced as a new gaming platform” without giving any numbers.