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The Sega VR is a unreleased
virtual reality headset A virtual reality headset (or VR headset) is a head-mounted device that provides virtual reality Virtual reality (VR) is a Simulation, simulated experience that employs pose tracking and 3D near-eye displays to give the user an immersiv ...
developed by
Sega is a Japanese multinational corporation, multinational video game and entertainment company headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo. Its international branches, Sega of America and Sega Europe, are headquartered in Irvine, California and London, r ...
in the early 1990s. Planned as a add-on peripheral for the
Sega Genesis The Sega Genesis, known as the outside North America, is a 16-bit Fourth generation of video game consoles, fourth generation home video game console developed and sold by Sega. It was Sega's third console and the successor to the Master Syst ...
and only publicly showcased at a number of trade shows and expositions, its release was postponed and later cancelled outright after Sega ran into development issues. At least four in-progress games for the hardware were in development before its cancellation. The project was largely driven by Sega of America; a more successful, separate, and officially released attempt at a virtual reality headset, the Mega Visor Display, was overseen by Sega's Japanese amusement divisions and United Kingdom-based collaborators
Virtuality Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience that employs pose tracking and 3D near-eye displays to give the user an immersive feel of a virtual world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (particularly video game ...
, and would be used in the VR-1 theme park ride and the ''Dennou Senki Net Merc'' arcade game. The similarly titled VR-1 is not to be confused with the Sega VR.


Features

The Sega VR's design was based on an
IDEO IDEO () is a design firm, design and consulting firm with offices in the U.S., England, Germany, Japan, and China. It was founded in Palo Alto, California, in 1991. The company's 700 staff uses a design thinking approach to design products, serv ...
virtual reality Virtual reality (VR) is a Simulation, simulated experience that employs pose tracking and 3D near-eye displays to give the user an immersive feel of a virtual world. Applications of virtual reality include entertainment (particularly video g ...
head-mounted display A head-mounted display (HMD) is a display device, worn on the head or as part of a helmet (see Helmet-mounted display for aviation applications), that has a small display optic in front of one (monocular HMD) or each eye (binocular vision, bin ...
containing
LCD A liquid-crystal display (LCD) is a flat panel display, flat-panel display or other Electro-optic modulator, electronically modulated optical device that uses the light-modulating properties of liquid crystals combined with polarizers. Liqui ...
screens in the visor and stereo headphones.
Inertial sensor An inertial measurement unit (IMU) is an electronic device that measures and reports a body's specific force, angular rate, and sometimes the Orientation (geometry), orientation of the body, using a combination of accelerometers, gyroscopes, an ...
s in the headset allow the system to track and react to the movements of the user's head.


Development

Sega of America, flush with funds from the success of its Mega Drive/Genesis, announced the peripheral in 1991. It was later seen in early
1993 File:1993 Events Collage.png, From left, clockwise: The Oslo I Accord is signed in an attempt to resolve the Israeli–Palestinian conflict; The White House (Moscow), Russian White House is shelled during the 1993 Russian constitutional crisis; Cze ...
, at the Winter
Consumer Electronics Show CES (; formerly an initialism for Consumer Electronics Show) is an annual trade show organized by the Consumer Technology Association, Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Held in January at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Winchester, Nevad ...
(CES). The magazine stated that the headset was planned to use the Genesis hardware and would be released in late 1993 at with four
launch game This list includes terms used in video game Video games, also known as computer games, are electronic games that involves interaction with a user interface or input device such as a joystick, game controller, controller, computer keyboard ...
s, including a port of
arcade game An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are presented as primarily game of skill, games of skill and in ...
''
Virtua Racing ''Virtua Racing'', or ''V.R.'' for short, is a Formula One racing video game developed by Sega AM2 and released for arcade game, arcades in 1992. ''Virtua Racing'' was initially a proof-of-concept application for exercising a new 3D graphics pl ...
''.''
Electronic Gaming Monthly ''Electronic Gaming Monthly'' (often abbreviated to ''EGM'') is a monthly American Video game journalism, video game magazine. It offers video game news, coverage of industry events, interviews with gaming figures, editorial content and product ...
''
Video Game Preview Guide
1993
Sega later announced its release schedule for early 1994, according to ''
Electronic Games An electronic game is a game A game is a structured form of play (activity), play, usually undertaken for enjoyment, entertainment or fun, and sometimes used as an educational tool. Many games are also considered to be work (such as pro ...
''. Because of development difficulties, the Sega VR headset remained only a prototype and was never released to the general public. Then-CEO
Tom Kalinske Thomas Kalinske (born July 17, 1944) is an American businessman, best known as having worked for Mattel Mattel, Inc. ( ) is an American multinational corporation, multinational toy manufacturing and entertainment company founded in January 19 ...
stated that the system would not be released due to it inducing motion sickness and severe headaches in users. It was last seen at the 1993 Summer CES, where it was demonstrated by Alan Hunter. It vanished from release schedules in 1994. Four games were apparently developed for the system, each using 16 MB cartridges that were to be bundled with the headset. The company claimed to have terminated the project because the virtual reality effect was too realistic, so users might move while wearing the headset and injure themselves. The limited processing power of the system and apparent difficulties faced in converting it for use in
PAL Phase Alternating Line (PAL) is a colour encoding system for analogue television. It was one of three major analogue colour television standards, the others being NTSC and SECAM. In most countries it was broadcast at 625 lines, 50 fields (25 ...
territories make this claim unlikely, although there were reports of testers developing
headache Headache is the symptom of pain in the face, head, or neck. It can occur as a migraine, tension-type headache, or cluster headache. There is an increased risk of Depression (mood), depression in those with severe headaches. Headaches can occu ...
s and
motion sickness Motion sickness occurs due to a difference between actual and expected motion. Symptoms commonly include nausea, vomiting, cold sweat, headache, dizziness, tiredness, loss of appetite, and increased salivation. Complications may rarely includ ...
.
Mark Pesce Mark D. Pesce ( ; born 1962) is an American-Australian author, researcher, engineer, futurist Futurists (also known as futurologists, prospectivists, Foresight (futures studies), foresight practitioners and horizon scanning, horizon scanners) ...
, who worked on the Sega VR project, says
SRI International SRI International (SRI) is an American nonprofit organization, nonprofit scientific research, scientific research institute and organization headquartered in Menlo Park, California. The trustees of Stanford University established SRI in 1946 as ...
, a research institute, warned Sega of the "hazards of prolonged use".


Games

Only four original games were known to be in development. * ''Nuclear Rush'': A simulation in which users pilot a hovercraft in a futuristic war. * ''Iron Hammer'': In this helicopter simulation, gamers pilot a flying gunship as in EA's popular ''Strike'' series. * ''Matrix Runner'': Reported to be a
cyberpunk Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian Futurism, futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of low-life, lowlife and high tech", featuring futuristic technological and scientific achievements, such as artificial in ...
adventure game An adventure game is a video game genre in which the player assumes the role of a protagonist in an interactive story driven by exploration and/or Puzzle video game, puzzle-solving. The Video game genres, genre's focus on story allows it to draw ...
inspired by
Hideo Kojima is a Japanese video game designer, director, game producer, producer and writer. He is regarded as an auteur of video games. He developed a strong passion for Action-adventure film, action/adventure cinema and literature during his childhood an ...
's '' Snatcher''. * ''Outlaw Racing'': A vehicle racing and combat game. Sega also announced a
port A port is a maritime law, maritime facility comprising one or more Wharf, wharves or loading areas, where ships load and discharge Affreightment, cargo and passengers. Although usually situated on a sea coast or estuary, ports can a ...
of
Sega AM2 previously known as is a video game development team within the Japanese multinational video game developer Sega. Yu Suzuki, who had previously developed arcade games for Sega including ''Hang-On'' and ''Out Run'', was the first manager of th ...
's hit
1992 File:1992 Events Collage V1.png, From left, clockwise: Riots break out across Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; es, Los Ángeles, link=no , ), often referred to by its initials L.A., is the largest city in the state of California C ...
arcade game An arcade game or coin-op game is a coin-operated entertainment machine typically installed in public businesses such as restaurants, bars and amusement arcades. Most arcade games are presented as primarily game of skill, games of skill and in ...
''
Virtua Racing ''Virtua Racing'', or ''V.R.'' for short, is a Formula One racing video game developed by Sega AM2 and released for arcade game, arcades in 1992. ''Virtua Racing'' was initially a proof-of-concept application for exercising a new 3D graphics pl ...
'' as a launch game for the device, though it is not known how far this reached in development.


Legacy

Since the cancellation of the Sega VR, few attempts have been made by the company to develop virtual reality technology. A similar peripheral was reportedly made, but never seen, for the
Saturn Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second-largest in the Solar System, after Jupiter. It is a gas giant with an average radius of about nine and a half times that of Earth. It has only one-eighth the average density of Earth; h ...
. While Sega of America undertook development on the Sega VR, Sega of Japan endeavoured to create their own separate virtual reality project. After creating an initial agreement to collaborate with the pioneering Virtuality Group on a then-unspecified arcade project in August 1993, the two companies entered higher negotiations to make a new, highly advanced headset by combining their previous development assets in the field of VR. The result of the agreement was the Mega Visor Display, publicly released for the first time in July 1994 as part of the VR-1 attraction installed at Sega's flagship Joypolis indoor theme parks in Japan, as well as
SegaWorld London SegaWorld London was an indoor theme park opened by Sega in the London Trocadero, London, in September 1996. At 110,000 square feet, it was claimed to be the largest indoor theme park in the world. It was Sega's flagship venue in Europe and the ...
and Sega World Sydney. Alongside the attraction, the MVD was praised in reviews at the time for its advancements in ergonomic design and graphical output, and was supposedly not fully matched in performance until the 2010s. A second project to utilize the Mega Visor Display, the ''Dennou Senki Net Merc'' arcade game, was later demonstrated at Japan's 1995 AOU (Amusement Operators Union) show, using the Sega Model 1
arcade system board An arcade video game takes player input from its controls, processes it through electrical or computerized components, and displays output to an electronic monitor or similar display. Most arcade video games are coin-operated, housed in an arca ...
to produce its 3D graphics. ''Net Merc'' subsequently received much more muted reception, with the game's flat-shaded graphics compared unfavourably to the Sega Model 2's textured-filtered graphics when showcased.


See also

*
Virtual Boy The Virtual Boy is a 32-bit tabletop portable video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. Released in 1995, it was marketed as the first console capable of displaying stereoscopic "3D" graphics. The player uses the console like ...
* VR-1


References


External links


Source code
at Video Game History Foundation {{DEFAULTSORT:Sega Vr VR VR Vaporware game consoles Virtual reality headsets Fourth-generation video game consoles