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Sony’s HMZ Virtual Reality Headset Impression – Tokyo Game Show

By Janelle | October 10, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Two different virtual reality headsets get two different impressions.

(At the Tokyo Game Show, we messed around with two different types of virtual reality headset. Here’s Janelle’s impression of the HMZ, and you can find a link to Heath’s Prototype-SR impression below.)

Sony’s HMZ headset has two projectors that can be shifted left or right to accommodate the position of one’s eyes. The picture it projects is colorful, and, when in the sweet spot, crisp and clear. But, much like the 3DS, finding and keeping that sweet spot can be a bit of a challenge.

My sweet spot for viewing the screens was in a position that, because
of the shape of my face, head, and nose, was impossible for the device
to maintain on its own. Since a controller needs to be used to actually play the game, you can’t hold the picture in your sweet spot yourself, binocular-style. The weight of the device caused it to slump forward on my face, permanently blurring the edges of my display.

The first, unexpected thing I noticed about the HMZ is that it’s heavy. If you don’t have the unit tightened properly on your head, it’s going to slip all the way down your face. Watching a booth attendant put the device on other people was like watching somebody suit up for a robot battle. It took a lot of fiddling and adjusting by another person to get the personal headset adjusted just right, which seems to defeat the purpose of a device you can only play alone.

A personal headset for watching movies and playing games is great, assuming it actually fits your head. I thought my nose was going to bruise.

Short of plastic surgery or an epic fistfight, my nose is shaped the way it is and there really isn’t much I can do to change that. At NIS America’s lunch event, I sat at a table with several other journalists who had similar problems with fitting the headset onto their faces, and that cursed nose piece came up in conversation again. One writer claimed to still something resembling a sinus headache, despite having played his demo two hours prior to this lunch.

Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational was a fine enough game. I mean, it’s Hot Shots Golf, come on, you know this is fun. Due to the headset fitting difficulties, I managed to finish one hole of the three that I was promised at the start of the demo. I may not have even done that, had I not just said “Screw it” and played along with a fit that was less than ideal. It’s not really a game that benefits from the HMZ, but since it’s so early in the device’s lifetime, we won’t know for a while what sorts of games will benefit from its technology and display. And if the shape and size of the device never changes, I might never be able to find out what makes the concept really shine.

The Prototype-SR, according to Heath, was much more comfortable, although that headset is not used for playing games. He said:

My guide left the room and introduced a violinist who would play a tune for me. I watched, enjoying the music, as she played while standing directly in front of me. She began to walk around the room while playing, and began to do the ghost thing that my guide had done a minute earlier. The music continued without interruption, but the violinist would disappear and reappear in different parts of the room, still in constant motion as she played it.

It. Was. Bizarre.

Read his full impression here.

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Topics: Sony, Tokyo Game Show, Tokyo Game Show 2012