Sony just let the cat out of the bag, and in this case the cat is a VR headset akin to the Oculus Rift. And while the Oculus looks like what you’d expect a virtual reality headset to look like, the Morpheus kind of looks like a space-aged mixer. Let’s just hope that it comes with a recharging station named the Nebakanezer.
From the official press release, we can get some details:
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 in 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 (PS 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.
I’m going to stop you right there, press release. We have had Wiis and PlayStation Moves for years now, and hard as you might try, no one “feels like they are physically fighting off enemies” when they swing controllers around. Until you figure out how to add meaningful resistance to the controller, we’ll all still be just swinging in the air.
HOWEVER, the rest of that sounds fairly interesting. Where the Rift is poised to be a thing that is pretty much only for PC users, Morpheus will allow console gamers a chance at nauseating themselves. Where it goes beyond the Rift, it seems, is with audio.
Morpheus adopts 3D audio technology uniquely developed by SCE. In addition to sounds coming from the 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.
Just think of the horror titles that could take advantage of this 3D audio business. Or don’t think of them, that’s scary. Instead, read these specifications:
|Component||Processor unit, head-mounted unit|
|Panel Size||5 inches|
|Panel Resolution||1920 X RGB X 1080 (960 X RGB X 1080 per eye)|
|Field of View||90 degrees|
|Connection interface||HDMI + USB|
|Function||3D audio, Social Screen|
No word yet on the things you really would like to know: price and release date. If you don’t have a PlayStation Eye already, then add that cost. The SDK is still in development, so it may be some time before any games actually feature the unit.
Still, it is certainly interesting. And now you know.