Sony Unveils a $399 PlayStation VR Headset

Slated for release in October, the new VR headset will bring deep virtual-reality gaming to Sony's PlayStation entertainment system.

Sony PlayStation, PlayStation VR headset, VR, VR headsets, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, virtual reality

Sony is bringing virtual-reality game play to its PlayStation entertainment systems with a new $399 PlayStation VR headset that will go on sale starting in October.

The company's VR headset was announced by Andrew House, president and global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, at the 2016 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on March 15 and in a post on the PlayStation Blog.

The October release is later than the company previously expected, House wrote in his post. The VR headset was originally called Project Morpheus when it was first unveiled as a prototype two years ago at the 2014 GDC event.

Sony ultimately delayed the debut because it "wanted to take the time needed to launch with a broad variety of content and a sufficient supply of hardware," he wrote. "We are beyond excited to deliver to consumers the amazing experience that PS VR offers."

In the meantime, more than 230 small to large developers worldwide are creating games and other content for the PlayStation VR headset, wrote House. "We expect to have more than 50 games available from launch in October 2016 until the end of the year," he wrote. "Of course, the full promise of PlayStation VR will continue to grow over time as talented developers create new experiences and new genres that wouldn't be possible outside of VR."

Buyers of the VR device will be able to download The Playroom VR application at launch for free, which will give them six games that they can play immediately, he wrote.

"With PlayStation VR, the future of gaming is almost here," wrote House. "We're excited to share more with you as we head into launch later this year."

The VR headset marketplace has been getting more active in recent months as vendors have been introducing a wide range of new products aimed at VR fans.

In February, Oculus announced that its Rift virtual-reality headsets are being bundled with specially built PCs from several manufacturers to give VR fans the right gear to get started in the world of virtual reality, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The bundles, which will include an Oculus-ready PC and a Rift VR headset, are built around special PCs to be produced by Asus, Alienware and Dell. The PC and Rift bundles are available for preorder from Best Buy, Amazon and the Microsoft Store and start at $1,499.

Each bundle includes an Oculus-certified PC and a Rift and its accessories, including a sensor, a remote, an Xbox One controller, and the EVE: Valkyrie Founder's Pack and Lucky's Tale games. The bundles are expected to ship in limited quantities to select countries and regions from retail partners starting in April, according to Oculus.

In January, Oculus began taking preorders for its $599 Oculus Rift virtual-reality headsets, which will ship starting in May. The Rift will be equipped with dual active-matrix organic LED (AMOLED) displays that are designed to provide users with incredible visual clarity as they explore virtual worlds with the device. The Rift also uses an infrared LED constellation tracking system that provides precise, low-latency 360-degree orientation and position tracking for users for accurate and fluid control and operation when playing games and simulations.

Oculus technology is behind the Samsung Gear VR headset, which sells for $100 since going on sale last fall. The Gear VR headset allows users to view video games, movies and more in immersive new ways, according to an earlier eWEEK story. The Samsung Gear VR is a consumer version of virtual-reality headsets made by Oculus. The Gear VR works with Samsung's most recent smartphone models, including the Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge—with their Super AMOLED displays giving users a richer virtual-reality experience. It will also work with the latest Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge smartphones.

Earlier this week, Sony also announced that it is now offering its PlayStation Vue Internet-based streaming television services in 203 markets across the United States, expanding its footprint after offering the services in seven U.S. cities since March 2015.