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Before PSVR: Sony’s PS2 VR headset, the PUD-J5A

takoyaki

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Feb 23, 2013
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In September 2002, Sony released an official VR headset for the PS2 with the catchy name ‘PUD-J5A’.
Back then, it was referred to as a HMD (Head Mounted Display) and Sony sold it exclusively online in Japan for ¥59,800.
While I can’t find any sales numbers for it, it’s probably fair to assume that it bombed pretty hard.






  • Hardware:

    old unboxing video: link

    view of one HMD screen: link

    scans of the manual (interesting when compared to the PSVR manual): link

    some of the specs:
    LCD 0.44/18×2 LCD 0.44-/ about 180.000 pixels × 2

    Horizontal angle of about 25 degrees virtual screen size equivalent to 42 inches (virtual visual distance of about 2m)

    Body Weight: 340g

    Head-action Tracker function: to reflect the image sensor to detect movement of the side of the head

    The headset uses stereoscopic technology, projecting two slightly different images to each eye to simulate 3D vision (in games)
  • Software:

    6 games with full support for the HMD and its limited tracking capabilities were released.
    The games let you experience flying a fighter-jet, riding a rollercoaster or being a train conductor from a 1st person POV:

    • Energy Airforce
    • Energy Airforce: Airstrike!
    • Air Force Delta: Blue Wing Knights
    • Sidewinder V
    • Simple 2000 Vol.33: The Jet Coaster
    • The Keihin Kyuukou: Train Simulator Real





    A very limited number of PS2 titles supported another feature of the HMD, called FOURTHVIEW.
    Compatible titles included a Ayumi Hamasaki concert disc and a title that allowed you to be a voyeur in the dressing room of bikini-models (because of course that was a thing …).



    FOURTHVIEW was a way of watching 2D 360° video on the HMD which had been recorded with huge, special cameras.
    A limited version of this feature was also available if you connected 3(!) PS2 consoles and connected them to TVs.



  • Sources/Additional Info:

    German games magazine Mgames! (Nov. issue)
    digitalgamemuseum
    virtual-reality-shop
    playstationcollecting
    edwinbush
    sony.co.jp (offical website)

I knew that Sony tried a couple of times to release a successful HMD for videos that would also work with games, but I'd never heard of this PS2 accessory before seeing it mentioned in a gaming magazine. Thought it was an interesting piece of gaming history (and a good reminder of old, crazy Sony) now that PSVR is out and doing pretty well.

Probably a long shot, but has anyone on GAF every owned/tried one of these and can post some impressions? Vomit-Comet 2k2?
Or has anyone ever seen one of them in a retro store/knows how much they go for these days?

EDIT: Impressions in post #85
 

Muzicfreq

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Dec 16, 2014
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Sony was ahead of its time. Now all the oculus people cannot claim that sony only was following a trend.
 

takoyaki

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Feb 23, 2013
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Headsets like this have existed for ages dude.

What set this thing apart imo is the tracking capability. And judging from the manual there’s a couple of interesting similarities with the PSVR. Like the small control box with the ON/OFF switch, how you hook it up to your TV or the way you adjust the displays by sliding the googles in or out.

edit: this is what the HMD can track:



And this thing even seems to have a dedicated button for resetting your POV (like holding 'Option' when using PSVR)
 

gossi

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Feb 18, 2013
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What set this thing apart imo is the tracking capability. And judging from the manual there’s a couple of interesting similarities with the PSVR. Like the small control box, how you hook it up to your TV or the way you adjust the displays by sliding the googles in or out.

Yeah, it's a really good find takoyaki. I hadn't realised PS VR is basically PS VR 2, in actual fact.
 

ymgve

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Sep 5, 2005
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What's up with the 18x2 million pixels? Even if you assume they mean each pixel is one RGB component, that's still 3 million RGB pixels for each eye, which is 50% more than 1080p.
 

takoyaki

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Feb 23, 2013
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What's up with the 18x2 million pixels? Even if you assume they mean each pixel is one RGB component, that's still 3 million RGB pixels for each eye, which is 50% more than 1080p.

yup, you're right. I took those translated specs from one of the sources, it's actually 180.000 x2 according to the Sony website. fixed the OP, thanks!

0.44型/約18万画素×2
 

LelouchZero

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Feb 25, 2016
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Wow, I knew about a couple of other headsets and even some of Sony's own designed for viewing videos but not this.
 

Skel1ingt0n

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Apr 25, 2011
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Wow, I consider myself very knowledgeable about video games and video game history - was super into the hobby long before the PS2 released - and had no idea this existed.

Thanks for sharing, OP!
 

120v

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Mar 14, 2013
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i know it wasn't meant for mass market but the thing must've been pretty mediocre. you'd think it'd have a niche in collector's circles at least
 

Anteater

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hmm wasn't there one that you can use for Gran Turismo (not sure if it was specifically made for it) on the ps2 too? Or was that a different thing
 

novabolt

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May 15, 2016
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This really makes those users from that thread yesterday something, huh?

I can't believe Sony was producing stuff like this in the early 2000s. They really have a good eye for detail and upcoming trends. I kinda wish the device succeed, it would have change the gaming scene very early. I wonder what state gaming would be in right now it the device was success?
 

Tripolygon

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May 6, 2012
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Bahahahaha.

Eurogamer Article from 2002, and as usual comment section is wonderful to read.

Christ imagine the size of the jaggies!
Well, pardon my cynicism, but this strikes me as being as useful as the recently announced GBA steering wheel (full size)

Still, I'm sure some berks will pay for it.
/sings under breath/ I'm walking awaaaaaaaaay.

Nothankyouverymuch. I'd rather, er, just watch the TV if it's all the same

http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/article_46651
 

Bad_Boy

time to take my meds
Jun 15, 2006
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This thread keeps going deeper. Next youll tell me the NES had a camera.