Project Morpheus

As anticipated, Sony has announced its rumoured PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset. Elaborately dubbed Project Morpheus, the wearable peripheral is the culmination of years of research, which dates all the way back to the origins of the PlayStation Move project. As a consequence, the device — pictured above — takes advantage of both the PlayStation Camera and the platform holder's popular motion tracking technology in order to transport you to different worlds, which you'll be able to examine in real-time by simply moving your head.

Mighty morphin'

Speaking during a panel at the Game Developers Conference to a packed out crowd, Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida revealed that the device merely represents the next step in the platform holder's pledge to "push the boundaries of play". The firm has been working with NASA on the unit, as well as engine developers such as Crytek and Epic. According to the organisation, the device will not just work great with games, though, but it'll also allow you to virtually scout out real-world locations.

According to Dr. Richard Marks, the man behind the ill-fated PlayStation 2 peripheral EyeToy, the device has been designed around six key attributes: sight, sound, tracking, control, ease-of-use, and content. The manufacturer's longstanding experience in various audio-visual fields apparently puts it in an ideal position to innovate, and the current unit boasts a 1080p display with a 90 degree field of view. Naturally, it also supports full 360 degree head tracking, and features an audio module that simulates the sound of 60 different speakers. These specifications, however, are not final.

Current Specifications (Subject to Change)

Component: Processor unit, head-mounted unit
Display Method: LCD
Panel Size: 5 inches
Panel Resolution: 1920×RGB×1080 (960×RGB×1080 per eye)
Field of View: 90 degrees
Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Connection Interface: HDMI + USB
Function: 3D audio, Social Screen

In its present guise, the unit will be compatible with both the PlayStation Move controller and DualShock 4. There'll be a handful of demos on display at Sony's booth during GDC, including an underwater taster by London Studio tentatively titled The Deep, as well as a medieval combat game, CCP Games' intergalactic space sim Eve Valkyrie, and a special demo of Thief. The Japanese giant stressed that it had opted to announce the unit in front of developers in order to spark their imagination.

You sociable so-and-so

One of the big issues with previous virtual reality devices was how unsociable they felt. Sony's aiming to solve that with a new feature that will output images on a television screen while you're wearing the headset. This will enable some unique asymmetrical multiplayer games, as those not using the peripheral will be able to craftily alter the experience for those with it on.

Much like PlayStation Now earlier in the year, it's clear that the platform holder is looking to the future with this headset. However, there are still a number of question marks hovering over it. For starters, considering the sheer amount of technology that the manufacturer's packed into the device, the cost of the setup may prove a big barrier to its success. Currently, a PS4 console and camera is not an insignificant purchase, and you'll need both of those in addition to the peripheral itself and potentially a Move controller to get started here.

The more practical questions about whether it actually works, and — crucially — how it compares to competitor Oculus Rift will be answered imminently, as Sony is set to let the press go hands on with a prototype of the unit this week. Are you looking forward to learning more about the accessory? What are your initial impressions of the device? Are you also concerned by the price? Strap into a different dimension courtesy of the comments section below.

What are your thoughts on Project Morpheus? (60 votes)

  1. It looks absolutely amazing, I will buy one at launch25%
  2. It seems really cool, but I want to know a price first33%
  3. Hmm, I need a lot more information18%
  4. I'm intrigued, but I'm not convinced it's right for me17%
  5. I'm honestly not interested in virtual reality at all7%

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