Sony PlayStation VR May Make Its Way to PC

Over the years, there has been some hardware movement from consoles to PC, with things like the Xbox controllers moving over. In what might be the biggest hardware interoperability move, Sony is considering making the PlayStation VR work with PCs. This will allow gamers to use the upcoming VR headset on not only their PS4 but also their PC if they have one.

“Since PlayStation 4 shares a lot of its components with PCs, the possibility is there. At the moment we are focused on games and we are not ready to make any announcements at this stage, but I’d say there will be an expansion into various fields.”

The PlayStation VR currently sits a bit below the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, sporting a lower resolution display. However, the Sony display is significantly cheaper than its competitors and should still allow for an enjoyable VR gaming experience. It also sports a higher refresh rate at 120Hz, more than the usual 90Hz. Furthermore, there will be synergy between the PC and PS4, with users being able to enjoy a VR experience on both platforms with a single purchase.

Furthermore, there will be synergy between the PC and PS4, with users being able to enjoy a VR experience on both platforms with a single purchase. By expanding their potential market without having to do too much extra work, Sony will be able to invest more into VR with relatively lower risk.

Sony Details PlayStation VR Launch Titles

For a new piece of technology to pick up traction, it’s important to have a decent amount of launch content available. The same is true for VR, especially given the hefty cost of most of the headsets releasing this year. Oculus was the first to detail their launch lineup with a slew of VR ready titles for launch. Not getting left behind, Sony has made known a number of titles which will be launching with PlayStation VR, with 50 more to come between launch and the end of the year as well.

The first up is a series of 5 VR minigames made by Sony in-house as a part of PlayStation VR Worlds. These are The London Heist, Into the Deep, VR Luge, Danger Ball and Scavenger’s Odyssey. One may well expect that these titles may be bundled with the VR headset for sale.

Other titles include Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and Tumble VR from Supermassive Games. Sony Japan Studios will be making The Playroom VR while Guerrilla Cambridge is releasing Rigs. Of these, Rigs is my favourite as who wouldn’t want to battle it out in mech suits in VR? Given the VR requirements though, don’t expect any of these titles to have superb graphics or physics. Even with PlayStation 3/3.5 like graphics, these titles should still be enough to entice earlier VR users to pick up a headset.

 

Sony PlayStation VR to Launch October for $399

Yesterday, the focus of VR news was from AMD with their Capsaicin event and many announcements. Today, Sony is taking their turn and has announced their own VR solution for the PS4, the PlayStation VR. Priced at a relatively moderate $399, the VR headset will also require the PlayStation Move camera in order to work and may require PlayStation Move controllers as well, making the final cost higher to just under $500.

Originally announced as Project Morpheus, the VR headset was previously expected to launch in the first half of 2016 so this October launch constitutes a few months delay. The headset has a  5.7″, 120 Hz OLED display with a 100-degree field of view, running at 1920 x 1080 resolution (960 x 1080 per eye). This is somewhat lower than the 2160 x 1200 resolution the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift sport but it does have a higher refresh rate.

Even at $500, the PlayStation VR has a lower cost of entry compared to the $599 for the Oculus Rift and $799 for HTC Vive. The requirements to run the PC based solutions also cost more, with the graphics card required like the R9 390/GTX 970 costing nearly as much as the PS4 alone. The PC solutions will probably have better graphics fidelity, though.

Finally, Sony revealed that 230 developers are already lined up and working on content for the PlayStation VR. For what it’s worth, Sony also revealed that they have sold 36 million PS4s to date.

 

Oculus Admits to Conversations About Xbox One Support

Virtual reality headset makers Oculus has established a strong relationship with Microsoft recently, with the retail version of Oculus Rift to include an Xbox One controller, streaming support for Xbox One games, and official support for Minecraft next year. Now Oculus has admitted to “conversations” regarding official Xbox One support, but don’t expect it any time soon.

“It has been a conversation, but I can say we’re not so close,” Oculus’ Vice President of Product Nate Mitchell admitted.

“What we were finding is that it’s hard enough to deliver a great experience reliably on Windows, never mind adding OS X and Linux to that, which are different beasts entirely,” explained Mitchell. “Because of that, we’ve been laser focused on getting Windows in awesome shape. No one is really thinking right now about bringing the Rift to a console, especially when the spec is so different from what we’re targeting right now.”

Microsoft, of course, is launching its own Xbox-compatible VR headset, the HoloLens, which is expected, in the form of developer version at least, by 2016. Sony is also joining the party with Project Morpheus for PlayStation 4, also due next year.

“That’s the thing, you can absolutely deliver a great VR experience on Xbox One, what I should say is with the hardware that’s in the Xbox One,” Mitchell added. “We’re not really focused on it right now. It really depends on the content you want to put there.”

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Ars Technica.

PlayStation VR Could Cost More Than a PS4 Console

PlayStation VR, formerly known as Project Morpheus will be priced “as a new gaming platform” according to Sony’s CEO, Andrew House. While a specific price wasn’t mentioned, it’s possible the device will cost more than a PlayStation 4 give the console’s age. If I had to estimate a figure, PlayStation VR could retail around the $350-450 mark which is a massive investment and bound to deter many console gaming fans. In an interview with Bloomberg, House said:

“VR rewrites the rule book on how you can create games,”

“You’re seeing a large amount of interest and work happening among smaller teams, because it’s possible to create something in VR that is very simple but still very magical.”

Apparently, the device will be bundled with 10 games, which could help shift units and make the headset appear a more valuable proposition. Another question to take into account is, does the PS4 have enough power to cope with virtual reality? I highly doubt it as a GTX 980 is recommended for the Oculus Rift to function optimally. Whatever the case, it seems like the PlayStation VR headset will be very expensive, and I’m not entirely sure console players will pay so much for something that could be perceived as an accessory.

Thank you Bloomberg for providing us with this information.

Sony Open PlayStation Vacancies in the UK

Virtual Reality is very much on its way, there’s no denying it. From the likes of the ‘founder’ of VR that we know today, the Oculus Rift; many other manufacturers have jumped on board to soak up some of the hyper. We know that HTC and Valve are working on a collaboration for a headset and today we are learning that Sony’s Project Morpheus is becoming a reality.

Sony has posted eight job listings for senior animators, level designers and a few other necessary roles to create a functional VR team here in the UK who will be focusing on producing VR games. “Based in the North West of England, we aim to build a small but highly experienced team who want to build great games to showcase this exciting new immersive technology,” the advertisement states. As reported by Eurogamer, the North West Studio will likely be located in Manchester, fortunately where some former Evolution staff are based.

The Evolution team, who are responsible for maintaining the Sony exclusive racing service, was cut down in staff numbers due to a number of layoffs. At the time Sony stated they wanted to relocate those members throughout the Worldwide Studios network. Reports state that the Evo studios were already working on VR games; with the new VR studio setup, those games could be finished.

Something that we’ve learnt with VR over the past few weeks and months is that VR requires an average FPS of 90 to aid in the prevention of nausea. We all know consoles tend to only push around 60FPS, so will current generation consoles be powerful enough to provide the ‘sweet spot’ for VR?

What are your thoughts on Sony officially joining the VR race? If you think you have what it takes to join the team, why not take a look at the Sony vacancy pages.

Thank you to Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

Sony Setting Up Game Studio for Project Morpheus

Sony has a video game development studio is in works. It was confirmed recently and is mainly focused on Project Morpheus, the PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset. The Virtual Reality headset it said to be fully compatible with Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita game systems. The game studio is being established in the northwest of England. According to this job vacancy (posted a week ago), Sony has begun hiring developers.

“The creation of this studio allows us to build a small but highly experienced team who can utilize their skills to showcase this exciting new immersive technology,” said Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE) spokesman Sousuke Kamei via email to PCworld.

The headset is nowhere near final stage, it was demonstrated at Game Developers Conference in San Francisco in March, 2015 and boasted 5.7″ LED 1920×1080 display with an RGB subpixel matrix, and developers can render their games in 60 frames-per-second but it will be capable of displaying content at 120 frames-per-second. It also features a high FOV, 6DOF head-tracking, stereoscopic 3D, and unwarped output to a TV for others to view what the user sees as mentioned here.

Sony says Morpheus Headset will be released in the first half of the next year, probably before June 2016. We currently do not have any more information about the launch date, but we’ll keep you up to date as soon as we do.

Thank you PCworld for providing us with his information.

Will 2016 Be the Year of Virtual Reality?

With quite a few announcements reaching us about VR hardware and software, 2016 is shaping up to be the year of virtual reality. Promises of retail units of headsets from Oculus, Sony, HTC and others, not to mention software from studios such as Ubisoft; your virtual reality dreams may be about to come true.

The Oculus Rift may have let the world know that virtual reality could be a mainstream technology, but nearly 3 years after its announcement and a change of ownership, the Rift is not the only runner in this VR race. Facebook owned Oculus say that their retail version will hit stores in Q1 of 2016, but will this be too late? The HTC Vive is said to be being released by the end of 2015 and that isn’t the only VR offering that will be around next year.

Sony’s Project Morpheus also has a slated release date of 2016 and will go up against the Rift with similar spec and predicted price point. The main thing separating the two headsets would be the aesthetics. I think that most of you will agree that Sony’s offering will be the one taking home the beauty pageant ribbons, but as the saying goes; beauty is only skin deep.

Other potential rivals in the VR marketplace include the Samsung Gear VR, which uses Oculus Rift technology, Microsoft HoloLens and probably everyone first steps in the virtual reality, the Google Cardboard.

But what is the use of all this new technology if there isn’t anything that uses it? Apart from the slew of indie studios that adapt their creations to work with VR headsets, in an attempt to create a unique selling point for their otherwise empty games, there hasn’t been many big studios willing to jump on the virtual bandwagon, at least until Ubisoft announced that they will release a number of titles in 2016.  Let’s face it, who wouldn’t want to induce vertigo with a virtual reality fuelled leap of faith?

Image courtesy of Overclock3D

So, with the gaming side of things taken care of by Ubisoft, not to mention the other big studios that will surely follow in their footsteps, there is still room in the entertainment schedule for more. This has been realised first by Discovery Channel, according to adweek.com they are already filming a number of shows in VR, including Mythbusters. Adam will be rejecting your reality and substituting it with his own for real now.

Image courtesy of Discovery UK

Ubisoft Franchises Are Scheduled to Get a Virtual Reality Upgrade Next Year

We haven’t seen a lot of big names associated with VR gear since virtual reality actually became a reality. Most developers willing to exploit the tech have been from indie companies trying to draw curious eyes to their titles. However, all of this is about to change early next year, as sources indicate.

Ubisoft stated that it is willing to take on the challenge and release an unconfirmed number of titles in early 2016, but it first needs to figure out how to get around the main downside found in the tech. If you don’t already know, using VR Gear for an extended period of time is confirmed to give the user nausea, sometimes even after just a quarter of an hour of using it.

However, not all VR technology out there has this downside. Valve’s HTC Vive seems to have fixed it as reported a couple of months ago and Ubisoft is keen on trying it out first. They also won’t forget about Oculus or Sony’s Project Morpheus, but the company stated that the headsets “would need to sell at least one million units to be viable for development.”

Ubisoft believes that a lot of players will join the world of video games, drawn in by the beauty of what VR has to offer. They also revealed that the titles rolling out in early 2016 are just the start of VR-enabled games they plan on releasing. Should they be successful with the first roll-out, I think even more big name companies may join in and we will see an even larger number of VR-enabled titles hitting the stores by the end of next year.

Thank you Arstechnica for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Rifty Business

Project Morpheus for PS4 Photos and Demo Screenshots Revealed

Sony Computer Entertainment has revealed photos of its sleek new Project Morpheus model for PlayStation 4. The device could be the best-looking virtual reality headset yet, putting the bulky, blocky lines of the Oculus Rift to shame.

As well as photos of the headset, Sony has included screenshots from in-development demos, The DeepThe London Heist, and Magic Controller.

Source: DualShockers

Apple Job Vacancy Suggests Virtual Reality Development

Virtual Reality (VR) is widely considered to be the next frontier for technology companies. With touch-screen technology being perfected and implemented within various devices and 3D displays becoming increasingly common, the next piece of Sci-Fi tech awaiting to escape the confines of fiction is doubtlessly VR.

Various forms of this technology – which would allow users, via a headset, to be surrounded and situated within a virtual world – have been in development for some years but has yet to reach beyond prototype stage. With internet technologies quickly accelerating and virtual locations like online casinos and movie-streaming websites becoming more popular, there has never been a better time for VR to become a reality. Imagine being actually surrounded by the glowing slot-machines of Supercasino – which can be viewed here – or being fully immersed within the climatic battle at the end of The Avengers via Netflix. There is a growing market for this technology and an equally expanding variety of websites that could implement it. Considering this, it is unsurprising that the race to releasable VR technology has heated up significantly in recent years.

Various VR projects , from Google Cardboard to Sony’s Project Morpheus, have been announced and subsequently stalled. However, today hopes for the practical realisation of this technology were again raised with the discovery of a telling job advertisement on the US’s Apple website. This advertisement outlined a new role, for a software engineer, that would involve the creation of apps integrated with VR technology. The need for the development of compatible apps not only suggests that Apple is developing VR technology but that it is nearing completion. Furthermore, the jobs requirements, of the prospective employee, were familiar to anyone interested in VR. The needed familiarity with VR components as 3D Graphics programming and Virtual/augmented reality development being particularly telling.

This inadvertently announced development is the first piece of information regarding Apple’s entry into the VR arena since last December. During this month, an Apple patent for a head-mounted goggle display, from 2008, was revealed. This device, which is suspected to look like ski goggles, would be designed to allow people to be immersed within media – such as films, televisions shows etc – whilst travelling. If this design ever became physical, it would be directly competing with the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR.


The way for Apple to surpass these rivals would be for its variation of VR to be able to neutralise the intrinsic nausea that other prototypes have caused to human test subjects. The full integration offered by VR, which is essentially its primary selling-point, confuses the brain’s perception of motion and therefore can lead to a form of sea sickness. Whilst this does not effect everyone, its threat of occurring has been sighted as one of the main stumbling blocks in bringing VR to the mainstream market. Therefore if Apple can solve this problem, the future VR market would be there for the taking.

Tekken Team ‘Summer Lesson’ Project Morpheus Demo Revealed

Oculus Rift is already a big thing, there are loads of developers around the world already creating some truly breathtaking experiences for the hardware. Now Sony are entering the playing field with their Project Morpheus VR headset and early demos are starting to roll in, but the latest one from the team that brought us the Tekken series is a little…. strange.

While my first thought was first person fighting game, that really isn’t the case here. Summer Lesson puts you in a typical Japanese schoolgirl’s room, and from what we can tell, your only objective so far is to hang out. All innocent enough, but I can see how this could seem a little creepy to some (myself included).

The game will be on demo for people to try out at TGS 2014, so we’re expecting some interesting feedback from that, but for now I suspect this won’t see a launch in European or American markets and on the other hand I’m not sure if it’s even going to launch at all, perhaps this is just a demo to show off the interactivity of the device.

Check out the video below to see what it is all about, skip to 56 minutes if it doesn’t do so automatically.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/5D-Wr_3-E5U[/youtube]

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.

Epic Games Preps ‘Cool Surprises’ for Unreal Engine 4

Epic Games’ Unreal Engine 4 received a lot of appreciation when it was first released, having its presence grow as it entered the VR community recently. The company has added support for Oculus Rift a few months ago, followed by the more recent Project Morpheus VR headset integration. The company has also stated that it will provide constant updates to the tool set and will improve support regularly

However, nobody seems to know what will happen later on. The question arose when the developer stated that some ‘cool surprises’ are planned in the following months. Nick Whiting, Lead Engine Programmer, revealed that the company has something special prepared in the future, but it seems his statement was vague. He has emphasized that some “cool suprirses in the coming months in the VR scene.”

Looking at the company’s announcements, Epic Games will be releasing the Couch Knight demo next month at the same time as Oculus Rift launches its second development kit, namely the DK2. This could mean that Epic Games would release a fully fledged video game with support for both Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus. On the other hand, Epic Games might use the timing in order to tease the development tools at hand. Nevertheless, whatever it might relate to, it will most certainly be ‘Epic’.

Thank you VRFocus for providing us with this information
Images courtesy of VRFocus

Sony Announces Specs for Project Morpheus VR Headset

With all the buzz regarding Virtual Reality gear, Oculus Rift seems to take the prime stag, having released a lot of information, plans and what consumers would expect from it once it will be released as a final product. However, there is still Sony’s Project Morpheus to take into account, but given that nothing but rumours were heard about it, focus was still on the Oculus Rift. That is, up until now.

Sony apparently has officially announced some of its VR headset specs, teasing fans with what should they expect when the manufacturer’s headset finally hits the market. The manufacturer apparently points to a 5″ panel, boasting a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, 60 frames per second and a field of view of up to 100°, though most likely it will be 90° as a start.

However, considering that the headset will most likely be used for the PlayStation 4, things don’t quite add up. The majority of games for the next-gen consoles are not even playable on full HD, yet alone at a frequency as high as 60 Hz. Not to mention the FOV, which most likely will require a lot of processing power in order to render.

Anton Mikhailov, an engineer from the Magic Lab in the PlayStation R&D could shed some light on this problem with the following statement:

“Frame rate and latency should have really high priority, much more so than […] now when you make a game, you can sort of say, ‘Oh, I’m going to choose to do a 30fps game because it’s more cinematic,’ or whatever, or, ‘I’m going to cram more graphics into it. In VR, it’s not really a choice. You have to go at least 60, preferably higher. It’s kind of a new bar. There are new rules you should obey as a developer. Frame rate and latency are really, really important. […] There is definitely a graphical limit that you can’t go lower than”.

From the following statement, it seems that game developers are required to focus more on frame rate and smooth gameplay rather than detail. The question is whether virtual reality at the expense of stunning detail would really be worth it.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of TweakTown