We'd heard rumors that Sony would be unveiling this at every major trade show for the past two years - so I was more than a bit cynical when the rumors began circling prior to GDC. Lo and behold, here it is. Say hello to Project Morpheus.
• Component - Processor unit, head-mounted unit
• Display Method - LCD
• Panel Size - 5 inches
• Panel Resolution - 1920xRGBx1080 (960xRGBx1080 per eye)
• Field of View - 90 degrees
• Sensors - Accelerometer, Gyroscope
• Connection interface - HDMI + USB
• Function - 3D audio, Social Screen
All are subject to change in the final version. Press release!
"Sony Computer Entertainment today announced the development of "Project Morpheus" − a virtual reality system that takes the PlayStation 4 system to the next level of immersion and demonstrates the future of gaming. SCE will continue development of Morpheus looking towards a future commercial launch.
"At SCE we view innovation as an opportunity to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play," said Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios. "Project Morpheus is the latest example of innovation from SCE, and we're looking forward to its continued development and the games that will be created as development kits get into the hands of content creators."
Morpheus enables developers to create experiences that deliver a sense of presence - where players feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game. Presence is like a window into another world that heightens the emotions gamers experience as they play. Morpheus features a visor style head-mounted display and works seamlessly with PlayStation Camera to deliver a unique VR experience right before the player's eyes. Inertial sensors built into the head mount unit and PlayStation Camera accurately track head orientation and movement so as the player's head rotates, the image of the virtual world rotates naturally and intuitively in real-time. Furthermore, in supporting games, the player can use a PlayStation Move Motion Controller as an object, such as a sword. Morpheus will reproduce the player's hands and sword within the game so the player feels like they are physically fighting off enemies with their sword in the virtual world.
Morpheus adopts 3D audio technology uniquely developed by SCE. In addition to sounds coming from front, behind, left and right, Morpheus re-creates stereoscopic sounds heard from below and above the players, such as footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or engine noises of helicopters flying overhead. Sounds that players hear change in real-time depending on their head orientation, creating a highly realistic audio environment within an immersive 360-degree virtual world.
Along with PlayStation Camera, Wireless Controller for PS4, and PS Move, Morpheus will deliver immersive breakthrough entertainment experiences to gamers through the PS4 system, leveraging SCE's expertise across key areas for VR – including display/optics, audio, tracking, control, ease of use, and content.
Developers will be able to create Morpheus content for PS4, a platform which has sold over 6 million units only after 3 months and a half of its launch, and is continuing to show strong momentum. The Morpheus dedicated SDK is currently under development and will become available when ready.
During the Game Developers Conference 2014 held in San Francisco from March 19 through March 21, attendees can visit the Sony Computer Entertainment America booth to have a hands-on experience with Morpheus, which will be exhibited for reference. Attendees can enjoy exclusive technology demo such as EVE Valkyrie (CCP), a multiplayer dogfighting shooter that uses virtual reality to give the player the sense of being a real pilot in an EVE Online spaceship, Thief (Square Enix), which allows players to explore the dark shadowy world of the stealth action title, "The Castle" (SCE) that shows various VR interactions utilizing PS Move, and "The Deep" (SCE), where players can observe the waters from inside a shark proof cage."
Now, the big question will be price.