March 19, 2014
Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit.
“There’s positional head tracking, a 3-meter working volume with full 360-degree tracking that works with the PlayStation Camera, and games can recognize the PS Move controller as a virtual object,” reports Engadget. “In terms of audio, the device has ‘true spatial sound’ using binaural audio — pretty neat! It’s also apparently ‘highly adjustable’ and supports custom headphones if you’d prefer your own audio choice (it plugs right into the headset).”
Engadget lists the following Morpheus specs:
- 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
Shu Yoshida, president of SCE Worldwide Studios, posted news of Morpheus on the PlayStation Blog: “Accelerometer and gyroscope sensors built into the head mounted unit as well as PlayStation Camera accurately tracks head orientation and movement, so as your head rotates, the image of the virtual world rotates intuitively in real-time. Project Morpheus also features our new 3D audio technology that re-creates stereoscopic sounds in all directions and changes in real-time depending on your head orientation.”
“Especially important is that Sony’s got the muscle to make Morpheus a reality; while the Oculus Rift is popular, it’s also relatively niche, and has run low on components recently,” suggests Gizmodo. “If Sony sees enough interest in Morpheus, it would be able to scale up the project relatively quickly. And combined with PlayStation Move and the PlayStation Camera, it could create a potent virtual environment.”
Sony explains that Morpheus will be a plug-and-play experience, and the company already has a number of software partners lined up, including Autodesk, Epic Games and Unity.