Sony Corp. considers the release of their virtual-reality headset on Thursday as the company's attempt to bring back lost magic.
A long time has passed since one of Sony's products grabbed the world's attention and imagination. That time is possibly when the first PlayStation videogame machine went on the market in 1994.
According to Wall Street Journal, Sony's income statement resumed to the black following trimmed underperforming units. Moreover, it has become increasingly unclear whether Sony's legend will ever come back.
As an action, the company devoted thousands of staffers to its virtual-reality project during the past four years. The project was led by a pair of 30-year Sony veterans.
Sony decides to launch the $399 PlayStation VR on store shelves Thursday around the globe.
The headset works together with the PlayStation 4 game machine, but Sony sees videogames as just one use. Using virtual reality, travelers could show highlights of their trip and students could even time-travel to the age of the dinosaurs.
"Virtual reality is a door to worlds you have always dreamed of," says Shuhei Yoshida, one of the two Sony veterans, who holds the title of VR ambassador.
However, Sony must first convince consumers that they need a virtual-reality headset. There are reports that some people consider the device as tiring or awkward to wear, and executives at rival Nintendo Co. say headset technology isn't mature enough to reach the mainstream.
For others, the technology revisits memories of 3-D televisions, another technology advertised by Sony and others that didn't achieve mass appeal.
These are just some of the many blows fired to Sony's image as an innovator during the past two decades. The most cruel was the success of Apple Inc.'s iPod and iPhone. It was Sony's specialty before - music players and portable electronics. However, Apple seized the market with its combination of hardware and software.
Virtual reality gives an opportunity for Sony to make a comeback. "Sony is best positioned to take a leadership role in the virtual-reality industry because it still is a powerful conglomeration of electronics and entertainment," said Minatake Kashio, director of the research firm Fomalhaut Techno Solutions.