PlayStation 4 Virtual Reality Headset In Development By Sony
March 19, 2014

Sony Introduces Virtual Reality System For PS4

Peter Suciu for - Your Universe Online

Video games could get a lot more real – or at least virtually real. On Tuesday Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. (SEA) announced that it is developing a virtual reality (VR) system for its PlayStation 4 (PS4) video game system, which was released last November.

Dubbed “Project Morpheus,” the system will enable developers to create experiences that deliver a sense of presence to gamers Sony said in a statement. This could provide players with a feeling that they are physically inside the virtual world of a game.

Project Morpheus – or simply Morpheus – is being demonstrated to attendees of this week’s Game Developer Conference 2014 in San Francisco. Attendees at GDC can experience the system with four games including diving cage simulator “The Deep,” medieval combat game “The Castle,” sci-fi dogfighting simulator “EVE: Valkyrie,” and the stealth action game “Thief.”

“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, which is still very much in the development phase and has no scheduled launch date, is according to Sony, built around a visor style head-mounted display that could work seamlessly with the PlayStation Camera to deliver a VR experience to the player. Inertial sensors are built into the head unit and with the PlayStation Camera can accurately track head orientation and movement so that as the player’s head rotates the image of the virtual world rotates both “naturally and intuitively in real-time.”

The Morpheus system could also be compatible with the PlayStation Move (PS Move) Motion Controller to add a further element of immersion for the players.

In addition Sony noted that Morpheus will adopt 3D audio technology that has been developed by SCE, where the sounds can come from the “front, behind, left and right” and can re-create stereoscopic sounds heard from below and above the player. These sounds could change in real-time depending on the player’s head orientation.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the current version of this technology will be tethered to the game console unit by a 15 foot long cord, and that the users’ virtual perspectives could be simultaneously broadcast on the TV screen.

“The experience can be shared, and that’s only going to allow it to spread,” Anton Mikhailov, a senior software engineer working on Project Morpheus, told the Washington Post. “I think that’s going to be the key. Once people see someone else interacting in VR, they’re going to want to put it on and try it next.”

This is the first major hardware add-on for the PS4 since it was launched last fall. To date sales of the PlayStation 4 have topped 6 million units worldwide.

Sony is not the only company looking to develop a VR system for gaming. Irvine, Calif.-start up Oculus VR has been developing its “Oculus Rift” system for two years, and has garnered the support from industry veterans including “Doom” creator John Carmack.

Last year Oculus VR received $16 million in Series A venture funding from Spark Capital and Matrix Partners to further develop the VR headset..