Sony is reportedly gearing up to reveal its own custom-built head-mounted display (HMD) during TGS 2013 later this month. The device was originally scheduled to be showcased during Gamescom, but sources claim those plans fell through at the last minute. As it stands now, it looks as if Sony will only market this device as a PlayStation 4 peripheral, but it's unknown if the HMD will be promoted as a key differentiator, or as a non-essential add-on.
Development of the unannounced HMD has been complicated by the growing industry support for Oculus Rift. That seemingly indicates Sony may also be considering support for Windows-based desktops given that Oculus really isn't targeting the console crowd with Rift: it's a desktop-focused device that may eventually support tablets and smartphones.
Then again, with the industry leading towards an ideal hardware set such as the Oculus Rift, it may be quite difficult to produce a similar yet different "competitor." Sources claim that Sony and Oculus have actually sought out a partnership over the last several months. Given the PC-based design of the PlayStation 4, it wouldn't be surprising if Sony licensed the Rift tech out and implemented its own PlayStation-focused features.
An unnamed games developer close to Sony's HMD project claims that Evolution Studios is already working with the device to simulate a cockpit view for the PlayStation 4 game Drive Club. Another unnamed developer claims the device resembles the 3D headset Sony first revealed back in January 2011. The HMD will be sold separately like the new PlayStation Eye so that the base console price remains low.
Back in August, Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida hinted to CVG that the company was currently working on an HMD. "Y'know, we're Sony, so we have lots of different things and different ideas in R&D," he said. "When it comes to researching things, we are doing a lot of things that we can't talk about."
This device is not to be confused with Sony's HMZ series of Personal 3D Viewers that are just that: personal viewers for watching 2D and 3D content. The HMZ-T1 currently retails for over $670 USD, not a price point Sony will want for an HMD focused solely on game immersion. Users of this device see the equivalent of a 150 inch screen from 12 feet away, and are engulfed in 5.1 channel surround sound. Head tracking doesn't seem to be part of the equation.
The PlayStation 4 is slated to arrive in North America and Canada on November 15, and on November 29 in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.