Sony Computer Entertainment’s President Shu Yoshida has unveiled the company’s latest technological development – a virtual reality headset compatible with the PS4. Project Morpheus, as the product is codenamed, will feature a 1080p display and a 90 degree field of vision, tracking the player’s head movements to put them ‘in the game’. It also uses technology that will appear to move the origin of stereo audio depending on the position of the user’s head.
The device was unveiled at the Game Developer Conference 2014, and is so far the most major announcement. The first announced VR games for PS4 are Eve Valkyrie, Thief, The Deep & The Castle. Sony’s venture into the world of virtual reality will make it the first serious competitor to the Oculus Rift. The Rift is another VR headset for PC and is expected to launch in late 2014. It raised $2.4 million dollars for its development using crowdfunding service Kickstarter, and development versions have already been sent out with positive responses.
On the US PlayStation blog, Mr. Yoshida said: “I have long dreamed about VR and the possibilities it brings in regards to game development. This new technology will deliver a sense of presence, where you as the player actually feel like you’re inside the game and your emotions feel that much more real.”
Sony already launched a high-end head mounted display in mid 2013. Named the Sony Personal 3D Viewer, it features twin OLED screens capable of 3D display, but was hampered by a high price point (almost £1000 for the basic wired version) and a lack of marketing, and did not track head movement or create a ‘virtual reality’ as the new device will. While no price range has yet been announced for Project Morpheus, it will presumably attempt to compete with the Oculus Rift, which currently sells for $300.