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After a year of token statements without much substance, we suppose that it made sense for Sony to return to the scene of its virtual reality reveal with new information about Project Morpheus. Speaking as part of a private press conference at the Game Developers Conference this week, the Japanese giant announced that its ambitious PlayStation 4 headset has been overhauled, and now boasts a better screen, less latency, and even more lights peppered around its exterior.

These improvements have been positively received by the press. As we're not in San Francisco right now – more's the pity – we're working off second-hand reports from our esteemed colleagues, but the general reaction appears to be that the organisation's headset is pretty darn impressive. Of course, that was already the case a year ago, when the platform holder surprised many with the mature state of its peripheral – but it's supposedly even better now.

And the software that it's showing – while it's still very much tech demo stuff – supports that, with London Studio's heist concept attracting plenty of plaudits. Inspired by a Vinnie Jones-esque gangster movie, this sees you strapped into a chair and berated by a local hooligan – before engaging in a firefight in a regal setting. Despite largely being on-rails, the intuitive nature of the action sounds like a perfect fit for virtual reality, as you inspect drawers searching for firearms, and look around for ammunition clips on a nearby antique dresser.

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But the technology's never really been a concern. Sony proved over a year ago that it's capable of delivering a convincing experience, and while any under-the-hood improvements that it's made are certainly welcome, there are still so many question marks hanging over the unit. How much is it going to cost for starters? With the PlayStation Camera and two PlayStation Move controllers more or less required, as well as a PS4, it's going to need to concoct a pretty sizeable bundle to ensure that everyone has the kit that they need to get started.

And this was the problem with its motion control initiative in the previous generation: there were just too many moving parts. Those of you that were paying attention will remember that some games used two PlayStation Move wands, while others could be played in conjunction with the DualShock 3. The end result, though, was that publishers just ignored it; there weren't enough people with one controller to justify development costs, but exclusively appealing to those with two illuminating sticks was suicide.

Even if we ignore the fact that some people might already own some of the parts – this author has access to two PlayStation Move wands and a PlayStation Camera already, for example – the sheer number of components means that the price of entry is increasing all of the time. The headset alone is packing enough technology to put it in $200 territory, but when you throw in all of the extras, the cost goes up again. And when you consider that the PS4 will probably drop to $299.99 this year, it's insane to think that Project Morpheus may retail around the same mark.

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Of course, we all know what happens when a peripheral launches late and with a high price: publishers ignore it. Even the Kinect, which was a resounding success on the Xbox 360, struggled to attain any real meaningful support from third-party developers – and that sold like hot cakes. This, of course, leads to a chicken and egg situation: consumers won't bite without software, and developers won't invest without consumers. Everybody loses.

In a strange way, Sony may be banking on the Oculus Rift and Valve's recently announced virtual reality headset to help it in this department; if a developer makes a game for either of those devices, it could theoretically be ported to the PS4. But even if it does build up a reasonable catalogue of software, the average consumer is not really going to understand the appeal of the hardware until they try it for themselves – and getting the word out is going to be another costly endeavour.

It's cool that the format holder's at the forefront of this emerging space; even more impressive is that it's constructed a product that exceeds expectations. However, if it thought that perfecting the hardware was a challenge, we think that it's going to find actually selling it even more difficult. Project Morpheus sounds incredible – but Sony's going to have its work cut out getting people to purchase the darn thing. And at the end of the day, that's the most important part.

Will you be buying Project Morpheus when it releases, or do you have concerns about the peripheral as well? What do you think is the ideal price for the device? Strap yourself in courtesy of the comments section below.

Will you be purchasing Project Morpheus for your PS4? (65 votes)

  1. Yes, I’m already fully onboard regardless of specifics26%
  2. Hmm, I need to know how much it’ll cost first46%
  3. No, I have very little interest in virtual reality right now28%

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