What was the Nintendo Virtual Boy? There’s a pretty good reason why you may not know. Or even if you do know, you never saw one. It looked kind of like the all new Sony Personal 3D Viewer… but cost less.
The Nintendo Virtual Boy was something way ahead of its time. A game console you wore like goggles which deposited the user into a black and red 3D world. It was released in 1995 and was labelled by TIME as one of the worst inventions of all time. The audience just wasn’t ready for it and gaming was something that people liked to share, or at least watch others taking part in.
Flash forward to 2012 and there is the Sony Personal 3D Viewer (HMZT1). It’s not a games console, but the idea is somewhat similar. Equipped with the newly developed 0.7-inch (diagonal 18.0mm) high definition (HD) OLED (1280 x 720) panel, you wear it like goggles and use it instead of your TV screen to view 3D content. It uses dual-panel 3D, which is separate panels for the left and right eye which should mean better 3D with no cross-talk or flickering.
The device also comes with 5.1 surround sound through built-in headphones and it’s compatible with a range of devices, such as Sony Vaio laptops or your PlayStation 3.
However, 3D still hasn’t taken off, and it’s largely blamed on two things: lack of good content and the fact that you have to wear those stupid glasses. Even when LG launched its Cinema 3D with thin, light and cheap 3D glasses, the take up hardly set the retail world alight.
With the Sony Personal 3D Viewer, whatever you do with it you’re going to be doing alone. You can’t share any of the content you’re viewing on it practically. For your man cave, this may not be an issue but for any other time, it is. Add to that you will look like Geordi LaForge from Star Trek and the picture isn’t too appealing.
We’re sure Sony is looking at this device like Toyota looked at the Rukus. It knows the Personal 3D Viewer will not sell in bulk. Its more about perception. The perception that Sony is out there, being original, creating products that no one else would think about, and being cool. Let’s hope Sony has a bit more luck with this than Toyota did with the Rukus.
At $899, it’s an expensive gamble. But for those willing to roll the dice, you can pre-order it this Friday.
Damian Francis has previously edited Australian T3 and F1 Racing magazine and wrote for GQ Australia and Men’s Health. Unlike Nick and Trev, he has no kids, no mortgage and no wife, but lives happily on Sydney’s North Shore with his girlfriend.