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PlayStation raises possibility of VR compatibility with PC, challenging Oculus Rift

Should PlayStation’s virtual reality headset be made compatible with not just consoles but also computers, the entertainment company could shake up the virtual reality market and offer an even wider range of choice for home enthusiasts.

Sony Computer Entertainment – known as Sony Interactive Entertainment from April onwards – is not ruling out the possibility, and appears positive about introducing PC compatibility in the PlayStation 4 headset if not immediately then certainly further along in its lifespan.

That’s the takeaway from a Japanese newspaper interview with Masayasu Ito, SCE executive vice president, who was speaking as US tech firm Oculus VR prepared to launch its own virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift.

The Rift, whose initial batch of consumer grade kits started shipping on March 28, offers a sturdy virtual reality setup at an entry price of $599, and gives momentum not only to 2016 as a “year of VR,” but also to parent company Facebook as it starts staking out the new sector.

Compared to the Rift, whose visor packs two 90Hz 1080×1200 OLED displays, custom Fresnel lenses, is accompanied by a location-tracking camera and Xbox One controller, and requires a seriously capable (and pricey) computer to power it, PlayStation’s proposed PSVR specification is a little more modest – but then, so is its price.

That could be the crunch factor for those on PC curious about the VR experience in film, games, and social apps, but not predisposed to make the investment required in obtaining the Rift (or even more ambitious HTC Vive, priced accordingly) nor in getting their computers up to snuff.

For now, though, PlayStation is concentrating on launching the PSVR as an add-on for its PlayStation 4 console, with any off-piste augmentations tracking for the future – possibly a hardware revision.

“Right now we are concentrating on games and are not ready to make any announcements at this stage,” Ito said in conversation with Nikkei, which mentioned PlayStation’s plans to bring PSVR to PC as part of a more wide-ranging interview.

“Nothing’s happening straight away,” he said, but noted that there are plenty of internal similarities between the PlayStation 4 and PC, an overlap which would make bringing PSVR to PC much less complicated than it would have been in previous console generations.


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