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Sony gets into virtual reality game with PS4-compatible 'Project Morpheus' headset

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Sony revealed Project Morpheus, the Japanese electronics giant's highly-anticipated entry into virtual reality hardware that is expected to become part of the PlayStation gaming empire.

Morpheus
Sony's Project Morpheus prototype. | Source: Official PlayStation Blog


Shown off in prototype form, Sony's futuristic head-mounted display represents the first real stab at virtual reality immersion from a mainstream first-party console maker, reports The Verge.

"VR has been a dream of many gamers since the computer was invented," said President of Sony Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida. "Many of us at PlayStation have dreamed of VR and what it could mean to the gaming community.

The Morpheus system relies heavily on current-generation technology, including external hardware like Sony's PlayStation Move and PlayStation Camera. By harnessing the existing PlayStation ecosystem, Morpheus can track both player movement and head orientation to reproduce realistic visual feedback. In addition, "3D audio technology" re-creates stereoscopic sounds and changes orientation in real-time. The system brings an extra element of freedom by allowing players to simultaneously use DualShock 4 and PlayStation Move controllers.

While Sony claims the final version of Morpheus will support 360 degrees of control, the headset shown off on Tuesday is tethered to a host machine by an HDMI and USB cable bundle. Sony said it hopes to make the device wireless before going to market.

Inside, the headset sports a 5-inch 1080p screen with a 90-degree field of view and a host of accelerometers and gyroscopes. As the dev kit unit on display was a prototype, weight is also unknown, but Sony claims the finalized design won't be uncomfortable to wear.

Morpheus
Source: Sony


Aside from the gaming, Morpheus could represent a step toward the wider adoption of VR systems in general. For example, Dr. Richard Marks from Sony Magic Lab said he has been working on a Mars simulator in concert with a NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab. The idea is to use images and data from the Curiosity rover to immerse users in Mars' environs.

There have been VR analogs in the past, including Nintendo's ill-fated Virtual Boy accessory for the original Game Boy, but a truly responsive HMD with serious developer support has yet to hit market.

More recently, Oculus VR rekindled gaming's virtual reality ambitions with the Oculus Rift, a head-mounted device that can be considered a direct competitor to Sony's Morpheus. Since its debut on Kickstarter in 2012, the Rift has generated significant buzz within the gaming industry and beyond, enough to net the startup nearly $100 million in venture capital financing.

Despite developer support, and the subsequent debut of an updated prototype dubbed Crystal Cove, Oculus VR has yet to announce a firm release date for the Rift. Current expectations put a launch sometime in late 2014 or early 2015.

Cove
Oculus VR's Crystal Cove prototype. | Source: Oculus VR


Like the Oculus, Sony's Morpheus project has been a long time coming as well; the company said it has worked on facets of the system for three years. Although the Oculus Rift is already in the hands of beta testers, Sony may have the upper hand in getting its HMD to market first as the company holds substantial sway in the gaming industry. To that end, Sony has already enlisted the help of big-name game devs like Epic and Crytek to work on pilot products that explore Morpheus' capabilities.

The gaming potential of an immersive VR headset is well recognized, though other tech companies have dabbled in the HMD field as well. Google's Glass wearable is perhaps the most obvious recent example of near-consumer hardware.

Apple, too, has shown interest in VR and went so far as to patent a number of inventions covering optics, design and accessories. The company also owns properties dealing with head tracking and augmented reality, though real-world solutions are unlikely to materialize anytime soon.
post #2 of 16
I like the styling of it. The main thing that spoils the illusion with these headsets is latency isn't it? I thought the Rift guys were the only ones making big strides in this area?
post #3 of 16
Rift was the first to solve latency, and other issues too, I believe. (And the Rift works! Even the low res developer version is something to be experienced--but some game types work better than others.) First, maybe--but not the last!

As a Mac gamer I'm more interested in the Rift than a PS4, but I'm happy to see VR take off in any way it can, after far too many years of waiting for it to work right.
post #4 of 16

I'm sure it will be compatible with all the 10 Mac games.

 

Seriously, though. Why is this here? It's not Apple and PlayStation are competitors

post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterOfWar View Post
 

 

"A Mac" gamer! And? Do you think that makes you better than other gamers? Because you are willing to spend more on overprized, under-powered iCrap?

 

Apple users' materialism, shallowness and superiority complex knows no bound!

Oh **** off. 

 

A mac gamer is 

1. Gaming on high quality hardware

2. Enjoying the benefits of OS X, Windows and even Linux

 

You're on the wrong forum troll.

post #6 of 16
I would imagine the folks at Linden Labs must have been looking at VR for some time now. Now of they could just tap into the dual AMD FirePro GPUs on the nMP, SL might really rock.
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
Long on AAPL so biased
Google Motto "You're not the customer. You're the product."
Reply
post #7 of 16
Not stereoscopic?
post #8 of 16
Can I play StarFox on it without getting a headache?
post #9 of 16

I myself am into mac, apple and everything.. but Apple is not in the same league as Sony when it comes to gaming.. sorry, but thats the truth. They have been in the game since '94, and is now leading again... 

post #10 of 16
I
Quote:
Originally Posted by plexdk View Post

I myself am into mac, apple and everything.. but Apple is not in the same league as Sony when it comes to gaming.. sorry, but thats the truth. They have been in the game since '94, and is now leading again... 

I'm sorry that you're sorry.
post #11 of 16
Originally Posted by plexdk View Post
They have been in the game since '94, and is now leading again... 

 

So has Apple. And so is Apple. This current slew of consoles may very well be the last.

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply

Originally Posted by Marvin

The only thing more insecure than Android’s OS is its userbase.
Reply
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by daveinpublic View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by plexdk View Post

I myself am into mac, apple and everything.. but Apple is not in the same league as Sony when it comes to gaming.. sorry, but thats the truth. They have been in the game since '94, and is now leading again... 

I'm sorry that you're sorry.

I'm sorry that he's posting from a Windows machine. Poor guy. Clearly loves Apple but can't use a Mac to post on the forum.

This article doesn't really have anything to do with Apple anyway. Apple is in mobile gaming, Sony is in console gaming. High-end console gaming seems to be surviving quite well but more and more big studios keep going under. I fear that one day, it'll just be Call of Duty 12, GTA 12 and generic racing games.

The Oculus Rift was paired up with the iPhone here:

http://mashable.com/2013/10/06/oculus-rift-meets-the-iphone-for-neuromancer-inspired-game/

and this would be wireless as you can carry the phone. Perhaps these VR units will one day be standalone computers. I don't think wearing giant goggles is going to take off in a big way though. There was a stand for it funded here with just over 3,000 backers:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1944625487/omni-move-naturally-in-your-favorite-game

It just looks strange when people are running in it. It will hit a niche in the market but it would need to be much less bulky (and expensive) for the mainstream. Oculus stopped manufacturing their devices due to a supplier not making the parts they need:

http://www.lazygamer.net/general-news/oculus-rift-production-has-come-to-a-screeching-halt/

"Certain components used in the Oculus Rift developer kit are no longer being manufactured, meaning they are no longer available to us for production," Rift VR community manager Andres Hernandez confirmed on the Oculus sub-reddit. "As a result, we don’t have the necessary materials to produce additional kits."

"We still have some stock available, but we’re quickly running out. We are looking into alternate sources for the needed components, and we don’t yet have a timeline for when additional units will be available."

I guess Sony must be using different parts or maybe they've bought up the supplier.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin View Post


post

Thanks for these links. I think the reason it's a good idea for AI to keep track of this field is that Apple is no doubt working on a solution to the design problems with these wearable displays. I base this on their patents and on common sense.

The main problem is how much clunky plastic one has to put on one's face with these designs. Oculus is going with major facebox, while Sony is going for futuristic Japanese RobotBoy. Neither is going to be suitable for mass market.

Stereoscopic video display with some degree of immersivity must be done one way or another, and if it can be fitted into a wraparound sunglasses-like device, it might reach some critical mass in communication, gaming, maybe unforeseeables like virtual travel, and of course all kinds of entertainment.

Apple's approach using optical displays seems unusual and promising, and I hope they're working on it, or something equally Apple-like.
Edited by Flaneur - 3/19/14 at 2:27pm
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emes View Post

I'm sure it will be compatible with all the 10 Mac games.

Seriously, though. Why is this here? It's not Apple and PlayStation are competitors

Because its wearable and the troll meme is that Apple is losing the race for wearables.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post


Because its wearable and the troll meme is that Apple is losing the race for wearables.

I wouldn't exactly call it a "wearable", at least not in the same category as Google Glass and smartwatches. No-ones going to be walking around town with this strapped to their head, so I don't really see the problem.

post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post

Oh **** off. 

A mac gamer is 
1. Gaming on high quality hardware
2. Enjoying the benefits of OS X, Windows and even Linux

You're on the wrong forum troll.

Hmm... what is the highest spec-ed graphics card you can get on iMac and MBP these days?

I don't have problem with "high quality hardware" claim, but "high quality gaming hardware" is a whole different beast...
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