Talking tech since 2003

Today at the Game Developers Conference (GDC), Sony lifted the curtain on a new product that’s been rumored for a while now: a virtual reality headset codenamed Project Morpheus made for use with the PlayStation 4 console. It’d be easy to point and say that it was inspired by the popular Kickstarter project, the Oculus Rift—easy and correct, as a post on GameInformer quotes Sony Worldwide President Shuhei Yoshida as saying as much.

A post on the Verge explains that the announcement came at an event called Driving the Future of Innovation, during which Yoshida explained Sony’s attitude toward virtual reality:

“Nothing delivers a feeling of immersion better than VR. VR has been a dream of many gamers since the computer was invented. Many of us at PlayStation have dreamed of VR and what it could mean to the gaming community.”

The Project Morpheus headset pictured above is a prototype, “the culmination of our work over the last three years to realize our vision of VR for games,” said Yoshida, “and to push the boundaries of play.”

Initial reports from GDC say that Morpheus will work closely with the PlayStation Camera peripheral for the PS4.

The GameInformer post also offers up some more details about how Project Morpheus might work. The PlayStation 4 console will render the headset’s video, and the motion-tracking tech featured on the headset’s display will be handled the same way as the PlayStation Move, by utilizing the PlayStation Camera peripheral. Also involved will be the Move itself, as well as DualShock 4’s light bar. In short, it seems as though if you want to get going with the PS4 virtual reality, you’re probably going to want to plunk down money for all of the peripherals and gadgets you opted to skip when you bought the thing last November.

The post further describes the Project Morpheus devkit as sporting a 1080p display “with a 90+ degree field of view.” The headset will also include “sound rendering that mirrors the way our ears hear for an immersive experience that mirrors 60 virtual speakers around the speaker.” It’ll be really interesting to see whether or not the headset can actually live up to such a claim—but we’ll probably get some more insight on that very soon.

That’s because Project Morpheus will be available for GDC attendees to try out starting tomorrow, so expect to hear even more news and impressions about the experience then. Chances are good that it’ll be pretty impressive, since Sony wouldn’t have bothered letting people try it out if it weren’t ready for prime time. And considering that so many of the people at GDC are probably already fans of the Oculus Rift, Sony must be feeling pretty confident about its chances to wow the press.

It’d be one thing if Sony had simply pointed at a picture of Morpheus and packed up and went home. It’s quite another to let people actually try it out. It’s going to be an interesting week.

[Sources: The Verge, GameInformer]

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