Sony has announced a new virtual reality headset they’ve been prototyping since 2010. The current version for the PlayStation 4 dubbed “Project Morpheus” has probably been in development for the last 2-3 years according to sources. Sony chose the working project code name “Morpheus” which represents the Greek God of Dreams and not the character in the movie The Matrix.
Sony’s VR headset shown at the Game Developers Conference 2014 in San Francisco according to the company, “is by no means” the final version of its new gaming technology. More iterations of Morpheus will ‘morph’ several times before becoming available to PS4 owners. Similar virtual headsets have been in development for years by Sony and other companies for movie viewing, but VR headsets for gaming were no more than novelties until now because of high costs and limited technology. In today’s world high-tech components and innovations have caught up with the consumer. The most notable headset to date is the Oculus Rift VR headset for PCs which rivals the best lab developed military visual hardware. Oculus has made great strides and has brought VR to the forefront of industry and consumer attention.
Project Morpheus promises to be the next big innovation in gaming since the advent of the HDTV and Blu-Ray. Sony’s president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida said, “Nothing elevates the level of immersion better than VR.” According to the company, Project Morpheus development kits afforded to developers making games and tools for VR include the following specifications:
- 1080p display
- 90+ degree field of view
- 1000hz tracking
- 3 meter working volume
- Full 360 degrees
- Supports forward prediction
- Works if you wear glasses
- Current iteration is wired
- DualShock 4 and PS Move detection with same camera
- Fully adjustable
- It’s name is not reference to The Matrix, but rather the Greek God of Dreams
- Supports custom headphones and wireless headsets
Clearly Sony has their work cut out for them as they still have several issues to resolve with the project. Sony’s VR headset in its current form is wired to the PS4 console and uses tracking technology currently used by the PlayStation Eye and DualShock 4 controllers. The road may be long before a final product reaches the consumer as the rules for VR are drastically different. The technology sector in its current state has been described as the “wild west”, but several company partners like Unity, Havok, Crytek, Epic Games, Wwise, and Criware have seen the future and clearly envision this as the next logical step in the evolution of games.
As of late Microsoft has announced it has been working on a VR prototype for the Xbox as well, along with announcements from a few other companies at GDC 2014. The real question is the price for these PC and console accessories that consumers are willing to pay. The PC Oculus Rift development kit currently costs $300 and has sold over 60,000 units to date so that price point may offer us some clue. The new Oculus Rift development kit 2 is available now for pre-order and is ready for release soon for $350. Get ready for a wild ride in gaming hardware as VR grips the industry for the foreseeable future. Hopefully more software companies take notice and begin developing games for the burgeoning technology. I personally believe first person shooters, flying, and racing simulators to naturally arrive on the virtual reality scene first.
For those of you who are interested here are the latest specifications for the Oculus Rift development kit 2 which is being sold as a development product and not a consumer device for PCs:
- Resolution - 960 x 1080 per eye
- Optics - 100° Field of View (nominal)
- Camera and Device Interface - USB 2.0
- Internal Tracking and Sensors - 1000 Hz, Gyroscope, Accelerometer, Magnetometer
- Position Tracking - 60 Hz, Near Infrared CMOS Sensor
- Accesories - HDMI to DVI Adapter, DC Power Adapter, International Power Plugs, Nearsighted lens cups, Lens cleaning cloth
The official website for the kit is HERE.
Fans of fantasy role-playing games rejoice. The upcoming Dragon Age: Inquisition looks absolutely incredible per the new environmental video below. Just look at the glorious lighting and beautiful weather systems! Pure graphical candy generated by the latest Frostbite 3 engine will surely please the most discerning of Elder Scrolls player. The environment build crafted by developers at famed studio BioWare are aiming their talents directly at fans of Skyrim and Witcher 2 games. If this new Dragon Age plays half as great as Mass Effect 3 then Dude will surely be pleased.
BioWare are masters at making great RPGs with great story and this large, lush, and realistic open world of Dragon Age: Inquisition will surely be a big step in a new direction for the Edmonton studio. As a matter of fact, Dragon Age: Inquisition is BioWare’s first next-gen game for this new round of consoles and gaming PCs.
Dragon Age: Inquisition will arrive on the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, and PC sometime this Fall 2014. The Fall cannot arrive soon enough!
When we started Dragon Age: Inquisition, one of our earliest goals was to bring the world to life and let you decide who you want to be in this vast and complex world. We accomplished this by using the Frostbite engine, which supports massive areas, destruction, and the most advanced next-gen technology we’ve ever seen.
Dragon Age: Inquisition is BioWare’s first next-gen game. It’s also our most ambitious game to date! Nowhere is this more visible than in the incredible size and diversity of locations, life, and hidden places you’ll discover on your journey.
Our new “Discover the Dragon Age” video highlights only some of the locations you can choose to visit during your adventure. Each area in the video has its own realistic ecosystem with predators, prey, factions, and opportunities to expand your Inquisition.
The world’s population is based on an emergent system that adjusts what you’ll encounter based on how your actions tip the balance in the area. You’ll see towns attacked by bandits, deer fleeing from wolves, giants feeding on bears, and countless other scenarios.
The artists, designers, programmers, animators, audio and VFX specialists and many others are the most talented I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. They are the people bringing the world of Dragon Age to life for you to discover. They’ve built incredible graphics systems like weather that creates naturally-formed puddles, spider webs that blow in the wind, and huge amounts of various materials that look more realistic than anything we’ve ever created in a BioWare game!