Sony’s long-rumored virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4 will be officially announced next week during the 2014 Game Developers Conference, a new report from Edge said today. This tallies with a past report that also claimed Sony would use the annual show to unveil its competitor to the Oculus Rift.
Some third-party developers are already tinkering with a prototype of Sony’s VR headset, the report claims, but it’s not clear which studios are currently working with the device. These developers told Edge that Sony’s VR device is “far superior” to Oculus Rift’s first iteration, though it’s likely to be more in-line with the newly unveiled Crystal Cove unit.
These mystery developers added that there isn’t much software yet for Sony’s VR headset, but Sony is expected to show at least tech demos during GDC next week, they said. Developers speaking with Edge about the device said they were not sure how viable the technology would be as a platform because VR remains a niche market, at least for now.
Sony’s announcement of its untitled PS4 VR device is expected to be made during the company’s “Driving the future of innovation” session at GDC on March 18. Engineers from Sony’s R&D division will give a presentation about the hardware, supported by PlayStation Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida.
The Oculus Rift headset has made significant noise in the VR space since its hugely successful debut on Kickstarter in 2012. But Sony could, at least in theory, eat away at that popularity with its own device. The PlayStation brand already has millions of dedicated followers, not to mention significant marketing power to bring VR from a niche market to the mainstream.
Of course, Sony already has a line of dedicated head-mounted displays. But this new virtual reality headset is believed to be tailored specifically for gaming purposes. Its announcement would come as little surprise, as PS4 lead system architect Mark Cerny said last month that virtual reality could be a major force in the industry over the next decade.
“The impact of virtual reality technologies could be pretty significant going forward in that time frame,” Cerny said at the time.