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The PlayStation’s Virtual Reality Headset That Nearly Was


It would seem that the development of Project Morpheus doesn’t actually mark the first time that a virtual reality headset technology flirted with a PlayStation console. It was reported in the May, 1996, issue of GamePro magazine that Virtual I/O’s i-Glasses, which was previously released as an expensive PC peripheral, was being re-designed for use with the original Sony PlayStation.

ps vrNowadays you can get some of the best headsets for gaming for a relatively decent price. However, with the Virtual I/O it would seem that the price of the headset was one of the biggest factors. With a retail price of $800 for the PC headset (over 2.5 times the cost of a PlayStation at the time), it was financially impractical for the console’s user base and therefore was likely never more than a prototype. I couldn’t find any further mention of the PlayStation-compatible version anywhere, but there is a good amount of information on the original unit that was available for personal computers, including this video press kit:

The exuberant price tag seems like a little much to spend in order to stare at simple geometric shapes and watch True Lies on VHS on a dorky headset, but the head-tracking feature in Flight Unlimited does seem pretty awesome.

It’s funny how the features being pitched about this twenty-year-old product are nearly identical to the ones being promised for Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus. Let’s hope that this century’s virtual reality products deliver more results than hype.

Had the product been released for the PlayStation, it probably would have sucked. Still, I can’t help but think that it would have been sort of cool playing a game of Gran Turismo 2 in shoddy virtual reality.

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