With Oculus Rift making waves as a potential future trend in video games (which I firmly believe is an actual possibility), other companies were thought to be moving into the gaming headset market, including Sony’s rumored entry at TGS. Well I’ve got some time to play with Sony’s Xperia headset here in Tokyo and I have to say: it’s not a virtual reality device as rumored.
Managed by an army of booth babes, these Xperia headsets were demoed whilst connected to an Android based smart phone. The device itself can connect to your television, game console, and computer as well as any headphones or earbuds you might have. The device first and foremost, is not a virtual reality device like the Oculus Rift. Rather, it is a personal screen for your face. A widescreen panel is showcased to you up close and personal so that the action is closer to your eyes, but without any of the motion tracking, eyesight wizardry of virtual reality. It is, in fact, just a personal television that wraps around your head and I have to tell you… it’s sorta shit.
Now, you have to understand that I demoed the device under odd circumstances. I was timed, which made me forgo comfort in order to get the whole experience, yet the machine rarely fit my head despite constant adjustments from both myself and the booth assistant lady (who wore only a bra and short-shorts). The screen required adjustments in focus constantly as the sweet-spot for perfect clarity remained constantly elusive, and the volume control disappeared on me about halfway through, so the whole experience was very loud. The front-end of the device, with the screen, kept slipping lower causing the top portion of the screen to become cutoff from my eyesight and so even if the game I was playing (Tokyo Jungle for mobile devices which was fantastic to play) was up close, the discomfort of the device caused me to constantly be bothered by both visual and audio distractions. I will however say that the immersive experience worked to great effect when it reached that perfect balance. Sadly that balance of visual and audio clarity was rare and required some fine-tuning.
Also it smelled funky from the weird disinfectants the assistants used to clean the device after each demo.