The rumors were true, Sony is working on a virtual reality headset for the Playstation 4, and it appears to be named after Laurence Fishburne’s character from The Matrix.
Tentatively titled “Project Morpheus,” the virtual reality headset was revealed during Sony’s “Driving the Future of Innovation” discussion at this year’s annual Game Developers Conference.
Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida had this to say regarding the new headset:
“Many of us at PlayStation have dreamed about VR and what it could mean for the games that we create”
Sony has been developing virtual reality tech for at least four years now, Yoshida revealed in the talk. Early prototypes were shown via slides in the panel, some as early as fall 2010 and March 2011. Yoshida even showed God of War III running on the Morpheus headset.
Sony R&D head Dr. Richard Marks said that the experience the Morpheus headset delivers “is going to be pervasive, and what I mean by that is it’s going to be used for all sorts of things you might not think it would be used for.”
Marks has been working with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to craft a totally new Mars demo that makes you feel as if you’re walking around on the surface of the red planet. Marks said that virtual reality is made up of six main challenges: sight, sound, tracking, control, ease of use, and content. Thankfully, the content will be coming via some big names like Unity, Havok, Wwise, Gigantic, Autodesk and Autodesk Gameware Scaleform, DDD, Criware, Epic Games, Silicon Studio, Bitsquid, Crytek, and FMod.
Sony R&D software engineer Anton Mikhailov made the point that games are only one of the forms of entertainment that the Morpheus headset can provide. Going by the aforementioned Mars demo, virtual reality can be used for exploration, media, and even tourism. However, Mikhailov did go back to games in saying that “games are still the best.”
Morpheus works with the Playstation Eye, the Playstation Move, and the Playstation 4 console as a home base. It’s clearly not a final product, it’s still in the prototype phases. The current developer kit runs at a native 1080p resolution and a 90+ degree field of vision, and it even supports position and rotation tracking of your head (1000hz, 3 meter working volume, full 360 degress), forward prediction, and it even lets you use the Dualshock 4 and Playstation Move with the same camera. The Morpheus is poised to give true spatial sound, and you can even use custom headphones and glasses with it.
If you’re at GDC this year, you’ll be able to get your hands on the Morpheus headset starting tomorrow, and the demos that are currently available are: The Deep, The Castle, EVE Valkyrie, and Thief.