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Sega VR


Type: Headset (audio visual / virtual reality)

Originally thought to be a separate console, the Sega VR is a virtual reality headset that was intended for use with Sega Mega Drive/Genesis consoles. The headset was to be mounted on the head to immerse the player in a video game environment.

Sega and Ideo worked together on the unit. Ideo was responsible for the industrial design while Sega developed the mechanical and electronic design. The system was made up of two LCD screens for the video display and headphones for the sound. The internal sensor could detect the player's movements and display corresponding movement on the screen as if the player was really in the virtual world.

A working prototype was built and showcased at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show (Winter CES) of 1993 where it was said to be planned for release in North America in fall of 1993 at a price of US$200. Four launch games, including a port of the arcade game, Virtua Racing, were also to be released at this time. Sega later announced a delayed release for spring of 1994, but the Mega Drive/Genesis peripheral ultimately never saw public release. Further announcements were made for a Sega Saturn version, but this, too, never eventuated. Similar technology was, however, introduced into arcades, for example through Sega's VR-1 system.

Failture to release the product was attributed to safety concerns over its use. Sega claimed that the immersion effect was so realistic that users may move too much while using the headset and injure themselves. A more plausible explanation for the project's termination was that prolonged could lead to headaches and motion sickness in users.

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