Whoa! Sony can do VR thanks to Morpheus

sony project morpheusSony is holding out its hand and offering you the blue pill and to jump into the Matrix with Project Morpheus –  a virtual reality gaming headset for the PlayStation 4 that takes on VR rival the Oculus Rift.

Sorry – I know the Matrix/Morpheus puns were easy and expected but on a Wednesday afternoon, I just don’t have the power to resist.

As Sony sees it, there are six key areas they need to get perfect for VR to work: sight, sound, tracking, control, ease of use, and content.

Project Morpheus employs a visor packed with inertial sensors that detect the movement of your head, so when you turn your head you also look around in the virtual game world.

As well as the HD 1080p visuals, Morpheus includes three dimensional sound, so noises sound different depending where you’re standing in the virtual world and which way you’re looking, just like in the real world.

Meanwhile, your PlayStation controller lets you hold things, presumably swords, guns, levers and the like.

Before you shout out that Sony’s just hopping on the VR bandwagon now that the Oculus Rift has sparked a bit of popularity Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, puts the record straight by stating that they’ve been tinkering with VR prototypes ever since they started working on the Playstation Move back in 2009.

Naturally, back in the day, they were literally taping move controllers to their heads. In 2010, they created an internal group just for VR development.

Saying that though, Oculus Rift has done an excellent job in paving the way and getting people excited about Virtual Reality.

Not only has it managed to get many thousands of developers on board it has also garnered the interest of people like John Carmack, and companies like Valve (who has comitted to share the virtual reality research with Oculus). Whatever the case, competition in this area can never be a bad thing. As Nate Mitchell, product of Oculus put it this morning in an interview with IGN prior to Sony’s announcement:

So, as far as the competition goes – we’ll have to see what they announce. We are all about having more people involved in the VR space though. The more developers are excited about virtual reality, and the bigger the audience is, the more likely they are to build VR content. So having a major player get behind virtual reality in a big way opens the door for more devs to build VR content. So, we’re really hopeful that they do it right – anyone that’s doing VR, the main thing is just to do it right.

For now, only developers will be able to try out Morpheus as they build games that take advantage of the VR technology. There’s no word on when you’ll be able to buy a Morpheus headset of your own.

Now that Sony has thrown its VR headset in to the ring with Oculus Rift and the Avegant Glyph, I can safely announce that the Virtual Reality wars have begun.

Here’s a run down of the specs of this prototype:

  • 1080p display
  • 1000Hz motion detection
  • Only one headset at a time is supported
  • Headset is currently connected to the PS4 by a 5-meter wire
  • Positional/rotational head tracking
  • Tracking is handled by the same camera that tracks PS4 Move controllers
  • It works for people with glasses
  • Content pushed to the Morpheus can be mirrored to a TV, but it sounds like it can handle asymmetric gameplay (different things on each screen) as well.
  • An “Open air” design prevents the lenses from fogging up. (It’ll be interesting to see how they prevent light leaking in)

What is real? How do you define ‘real’? If you’re talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then ‘real’ is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.

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