PUD-J5A, Sony’s first VR headset for PS2

So I won’t be blasé, but I really don’t feel like I learn anything about “retro” video games anymore (anecdotes, obscure hardware, etc.), but here for once I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this stuff, and I feel that this is the case of many people: only one wiki page talks about it (in German), on the PS2 pages I never saw many references to this device, etc.

So, contrary to popular belief, I was well aware that Sony were pioneers in the field of video games, I knew for example their work on the PS Move prototype for the PlayStation 2 (even before the announcements of the Wii and its Wiimotes), but in level of VR, I didn’t know they were pioneers either. Long before Palmer Luckey’s first hacks to make the Oculus Rift, which I consider the start of “modern” VR, which rekindled the interest of Virtual Reality for investors as well as the public, Sony had sold in Japan a helmet VR for his PS2 in 2002! Yes, a real VR headset, not the “HMZ-T” 3D headset/viewer like those released between 2011 and 2014

Sony PUD-J5A Virtual Reality Headset
Written by Judith // December 29, 2015 // At the museum

Released in 2002 and only available in Japan, the Sony PUD-J5A headset introduced virtual reality to the Playstation 2. The headset uses stereoscopic technology, which projects two slightly different images to each eye to simulate 3D vision, as well as a system of head tracking based on motion sensors to capture players’ head movements. It was originally sold for ¥598,000 (about $500) on Sony Japan’s website.

The helmet is equipped with adjustable over-ear headphones, an adjustable head-mounted display, manuals and a control box with video, USB and power inputs.

Only 6 games support the PUD-J5A, which explains its lack of popularity in Japan and why it was never released in the United States:

– Energy Airforce and its sequel Energy Airforce aimStrike! (flight simulator)
– SideWinder V (flight simulator)
– AirForce Delta: Blue Wing Knights (air combat simulator)
– Simple2000 Vol. 33: The Jet Coaster
– Virtual view: RCT Eyes Play (picture)

Additional photos and scans of some manual pages can be found in our collections database. You can find great photos, including the technology Sony used to create the VR images, at PlayStation Collecting.

The headset and games only work in a Japanese PS2 region; thanks to our anonymous donor for bringing a Japanese PS2 and a compatible flight sim game for us to try out. (Dave was pretty good, but Judith went off the track. Watching in the booth was great though). All packaging and hardware are in Japanese, which made installing the devices difficult.

DGM is always looking for volunteers, including Japanese speakers to translate our artifacts into Japanese. Come help us!

Source: https://www.digitalgamemuseum.org/sony-pud-j5a-virtual-reality-headset/

If you’re going to see this resource, don’t click on the link at the end of this sentence: “An additional photograph plus scans of some manual pages are in our collections database. Some excellent photographs, including the technology Sony used to create the VR images, are in The PlayStation Collection. “, this forum link is no longer valid and instead you will get stupid popups and your antivirus will panic too.

Source: https://www.digitalgamemuseum.org/collection/items/show/2600

Video of PUD-J5A demoing some games

Source (in German): http://spiele-maschine.de/spiele-maschine-newsfeed/pud-j5a-in-der-mgames/

German helmets wiki page: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/PUD-J5A

An old news item announcing the helmet: http://ixbtlabs.com/news.html?01/20/76

When we remember the history of video games, we immediately think of legendary brands such as Nintendo, Sega, Atari, Magnavox, SNK, Nec etc… And even if the Playstations are a bit newer, and looking at video games these past 30 years ( Almost 30 years of Playstation 1! Damn it), Sony has largely earned its place in the video game pantheon. Thank you for all these years, these consoles, these peripherals and consoles that have more or less worked, but this is where we see the real risk and innovation, thank you Sony for making us dream all these years and meeting in less than a month for PSVR2

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