Sony has finally officially revealed their virtual reality project at GDC 2014. It is called Project Morpheus, and Polygon reports that Sony Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida was the one to reveal the details at a panel.
Pictured above, Sony see the device as the future of their gaming. “The industry has grown by creating technological advancements for video game players,” Yoshida said. “Advancements that people maybe weren’t expecting or thought was possible…it’s this focus that drives how we innovate and create the experiences we deliver to gamers.”
“Virtual reality is the next innovation from PlayStation that will [shape] the future of games.”
To touch on the PS4 reveals at the console’s launch event back in November, Sony’s head of R&D Richard Marks reveals that the Project Morpheus virtual reality device could be viable in his work with NASA in developing a “Mars Demo” that has participants feel like they’re on the surface of Mars.
Sight, Sound, Tracking, Control, Ease of Use, and content are the core concepts to Sony’s view of VR with Project Morpheus. The device will utilize Sony’s advancements in cameras to boost their attempts at a high resolution and framerate. Sound will be adapted to provide an immersive experience, becoming much more important in development than before. PlayStation Move and the Camera are essential to bringing precise tracking for the device to make sure players are situated properly. In addition to the device, players can use the DualShock 4, PlayStation Move controller and the PlayStation Camera to interact with the VR product. Finally, Sony will be working with developers to bring a variety of first and third-person games to Project Morpheus.
Already on board with Sony and their concept of virtual reality are Epic Games, Havok, Unity, Crytek, Silicon Studio and more.
Speaking more to the development of the device in conjunction with content, fellow Sony R&D staffer Anton Mikhailov spoke more about the capabilities of Project Morpheus. He speaks about placing players within the game, not viewing the game. For example, VR can be used not only to view inside a vehicle, but also to simulate driving with the pedals and a steering wheel. By having multiple controllers have access to VR allows the player to tailor their experience to what works for them.
What is most intriguing is the non-gameplay aspects. While Sony speakers are strong to remind listeners that gameplay comes first, Mikhailov also discussed virtual tourism. You can visit places throughout the world, but only through virtual reality devices like Project Morpheus can you be immersed into a fictional world. This could be a very important market being developed, one that can be explored by creative minds and imaginative designers.
In the same aspect, the idea that those inducted within VR would be sectioned off from civilization has been removed. The Sony team also revealed couch and online multiplayer, allowing more than one player at a time.
The current devkit running Project Morpheus is running at 1080p with an above 90 degree field of view. Supports 360 degree view, running at 1000 Hz, 3 meter working volume and forward prediction, to remove latency. Currently, Sony is working on demos with Sony London (“Deep”), their own castle demo, Eve Valkyrie, Eidos Montreal (VR demo of “Thief“) and more. The demos will be live at GDC 2014 this week on a first come, first serve basis.
And with that, the Sony team has opened up to questions and answers. While they won’t go specific on the vague details on framerates, games or a release date for Project Morpheus, it is an exciting time for fans of virtual reality gaming. Sony really wants to enter this realm with gusto, which may be of concern to the established competition in Oculus Rift and the possible VR programs going on at Microsoft. Competition breeds innovation, with gamers being the victors.
(Additional information provided by IGN)
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