Standing-based virtual reality (VR) experiences have become viable much faster than many had anticipated thanks to the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD) and its Room Scale user tracking. This feature, provided by partner Valve and its SteamVR system, allows players to walk around the real world in a small area and have these movements replicated in-game. Despite these advances, Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) is still ‘strongly advising’ developers to create seated titles for its PlayStation VR HMD for PlayStation 4 in the name of safety.
SCE Technical Account Manager Vernon Harmon recently explained as much at the 2015 Montreal International Game Summit. As Harmon explained during his ‘Embrace Virtual Reality with Sony PlayStation VR’ talk: “You need to be careful not to direct your players into situations where they might fall over or collide with real life objects because they don’t realise consciously that what they’re interacting with is not there. Because of this we strongly advise PSVR developers to build their games around seated experiences as I mentioned before to maximise player safety.”
PlayStation VR does contain positional tracking with the help of the PlayStation Camera, but this isn’t a substitute for Room Scale tracking, which users another laser-based system known as Lighthouse. This system will also display the limits of the tracked area within the given title when players get close to the edge, or alert them to any obstructions in the way in the real world. That said, PlayStation VR does feature position tracked controllers in the PlayStation Move, which are becoming a standard in major VR HMDs.
PlayStation VR is expected to launch in the first half of 2016 though a specific date and price are yet to be announced. VRFocus will continue to follow the device closely, reporting back with the latest updates on its progress.