Sony announces Project Morpheus virtual reality headset for PS4

Oculus Rift competitor has been in development since 2010
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Sony has announced its competitor to the Oculus Rift – the Project Morpheus virtual reality headset.

The headset was revealed at GDC 2014 by the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida.

Designed for use with the PS4, the headset will support both virtual reality video gaming and non-gaming software.

"The industry has grown by creating technological advancements for video game players," said Yoshida.

"Advancements that people maybe weren't expecting or thought was possible.”

"Virtual reality is the next innovation from PlayStation that will [shape] the future of games."

The technology was demonstrated using a custom-modded first-person version of God of War.

Other existing VR games were said to have support for the headset, including ocean-based thriller The Deep, medieval action game The Castle, EVE Online developer CCP Games' space dogfighting title EVE Valkyrie and a special version of stealth-action reboot Thief.

Multiple evolutions of the headset were also shown, dating back to 2010.

"We believe Morpheus will further enhance the world of PlayStation 4, with seamless integration with PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move," Yoshida continued.

"We will continue to improve on this prototype by gathering feedback from developers. That's why we unveiled it at GDC."

Richard Marks, senior director of research and development at Sony Computer Entertainment America, said that there were six primary areas of focus for Project Morpheus: sight, sound, tracking, control, ease of use and content.

Marks added that audio was critical to the success of the headset, detailing the use of 3D audio technology developed by Sony that provides positional sound, "such as footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or the engine noises of helicopters flying overhead."

Marks said that the use of such 3D audio would create “a highly realistic audio environment within an immersive 360-degree virtual world."

Accurate position tracking was also discussed as a primary concern, as was methods of control – but Marks said that the existing PlayStation Camera would help to provide solutions to both.

Regarding the ease of accessibility and use for consumers, Marks outlined Sony’s hope that "you're going to be able to go to the store, buy one, plug it in and [have it work]."

"We really want it to be easy for people," he explained.

"We want it to be comfortable."

Anton Mikhailov, senior software engineer at SCEA R&D, also took the stage to detail some of Morpheus’ other targeted features, including 1080p resolution, support for custom headphones, over 90-degree field of view, low latency in order to avoid motion sickness and 360-degree head tracking.

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