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Sony Brings Oculus Rift Competition to CES 2014 with HMZ-T3Q Headset
Wearable Tech World Feature Article
January 07, 2014
Sony Brings Oculus Rift Competition to CES 2014 with HMZ-T3Q Headset
By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer

The race for head-mounted displays just got a bit tighter with Sony's keynote address at this year's Consumer Electronics Show (CES (News - Alert)), and Sony's newest entry into the head-mounted race. The name may bring a little scoffing and derision, but the HMZ-T3Q headset looks to offer some rather exciting new possibilities to the field, and leave the Oculus Rift with a little potential trouble afoot.

Indeed, the HMZ-T3Q is a pretty substantial new addition to the field of head-mounted displays, offering up what many products before it have posed: a virtual screen that can boast as much as a 750 inch—62.5 feet, or just a hair over 19 meters—screen that floats directly in front of a user's perspective. It sits on top of a user's head, and essentially allows the user to take a big screen most anywhere, particularly in places where a screen that size isn't feasible, including places—as noted by Sony Electronics' president and chief operating officer Michael Fasulo, who delivered Sony's keynote at CES—like airplanes. Resolution on this giant screen, however, isn't currently being discussed either on several fronts.

While this is certainly a great prospect for movie buffs, gamers get significant advantages here as well. The headset is actually able to pinpoint where a user's head is located, and can react accordingly in the presentation. That's a huge boost to gaming, since gaming uses can use the head tracking functions to augment usability. This is also where the Oculus Rift may have some big concerns.

Right now, this doesn't mean so much. Reports suggested that the Oculus Rift was looking to come to PC users first, and maybe expand to consoles later. But if Sony's bringing out its own head-mounted display system in the form of the HMZ-T3Q, there's a fair chance it's going to be immediately usable with the PlayStation 4. It's hard to imagine circumstances in which Sony would bring out a head-mounted display that's useful with gaming applications but can't be used with its own gaming platform, and that's a hefty chunk of the market that the Oculus Rift won't be able to get in on without further incentives to the potential buyers.

Of course, it's not yet quite clear when the HMZ-T3Q will release, or at what price it will release at—some reports indicate that the HMZ-T3Q is an update on the HMZ-T3W, which is currently selling at $999. If the Oculus Rift can undercut that, it will likely not only have a shot at Sony gamers, but also at gamers who jump between consoles and PC if it can get the device to easily work on both platforms. Since the HMZ-T3W was at last report a 720p model, it's a safe bet the HMZ-T3Q will at least match that if not hit 1080p.

Half the fun of CES is seeing new products and considering what kind of impact these products will have on the wider market. Sony may well have something noteworthy to interject here, but if it can really compete with the Oculus Rift remains to be seen. Still, it should be a very exciting year coming up for gamers, with new head-mounted displays on the way to match a new generation of gaming systems.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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