Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. have announced the development of their new VR headset system called “Project Morpheus” (Morpheus). The new VR headset will no doubt remind many of you of devices such as the Oculus Rift, but with the Rift and many other devices still seemingly a long way from retail, there is still plenty of room on the market for competition, especially in the world of games consoles.
“At SCE we view innovation as an opportunity to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play,” said Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios. “Project Morpheus is the latest example of innovation from SCE, and we’re looking forward to its continued development and the games that will be created as development kits get into the hands of content creators.”
Morpheus will enable games developers to create experiences that deliver a sense of presence, and anyone that has tried the development kit of the Oculus Rift or any of the rival products will know that the overall sensation and effect these headsets can provide is nothing short of mind blowing.
The visor headset style head-mounted display works in conjunction with the PlayStation Camera and some inertial sensors that give accurate 360 degree head tracking, while a 1080 display gives a 90-degree field of view through high frame rate displays right in front of your eyes, effectively giving you full immersion to look around your surrounding and be more involved with the game environment like never before. Furthermore, in supporting games, the player can use a PlayStation Move Controller as an object, such as a sword. Morpheus will reproduce the player’s hands and sword within the game so the player feels like they are physically fighting off enemies with their sword in the virtual world.
Morpheus adopts 3D audio technology uniquely developed by SCE. In addition to sounds coming from front, behind, left and right, Morpheus re-creates stereoscopic sounds heard from below and above the players, such as footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or engine noises of helicopters flying overhead. Sounds that players hear change in real-time depending on their head orientation, creating a highly realistic audio environment within an immersive 360-degree virtual world. Simulating 60 speakers around the user, or of course you can also use your own headphones with this device, if that is what you prefer.
“Developers will be able to create Morpheus content for PS4, a platform which has sold over 6 million units only after 3 months and a half of its launch, and is continuing to show strong momentum. The Morpheus dedicated SDK is currently under development and will become available when ready.” Said Sony in a recent press release.
During the Game Developers Conference 2014 held in San Francisco from March 19 through March 21, attendees can visit the Sony Computer Entertainment America booth to have a hands-on experience with Morpheus, which will be exhibited for reference. Attendees can enjoy exclusive technology demo such as EVE Valkyrie (CCP), a multiplayer dogfighting shooter that uses virtual reality to give the player the sense of being a real pilot in an EVE Online spaceship, Thief, which allows players to explore the dark shadowy world of the stealth action title, “The Castle” that shows various VR interactions utilizing PS Move, and “The Deep”, where players can observe the waters from inside a shark proof cage.
At the moment, this device is a proof of concept, with lots of development ahead of it. Sony have given a release date of “as soon as possible”, but as we’ve seen with other VR devices it’s not going to be quick, I’d put a safe bet at another 2 years before this is on the retail market.
Excited? I know I am, personally I’m still holding out for the Oculus, but that doesn’t mean someone like Sony might not be able to do a better job, only time will tell.
Thank you Sony for providing us with this information.
Image courtesy of Sony.