PS4's Project Morpheus VR device won't launch in 2014, $1000 price point unlikely

PlayStation president of Worldwide Studios rules out 2014 launch date for head-mounted display, says you shouldn't expect to pay $1000.

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Sony has ruled out a 2014 launch for its virtual reality headset Project Morpheus. PlayStation president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida told GameSpot today that this won't happen because Sony engineers are continuing to iterate on the device and they won't have a feature-complete version ready anytime soon.

We asked Yoshida directly if a 2014 launch date for Project Morpheus had been ruled out and his response was: "Yes. That we can say comfortably because we are still making changes to the hardware."

The current iteration of the Project Morpheus headset is a non-final prototype. Sony has pledged to continue to improve the device over time to boost its ability to deliver a feeling of "presence." However, the company has not laid out a specific roadmap for what changes are the highest priority.

Oculus VR is also keeping the release date for the Oculus Rift consumer version under wraps. A second iteration of the development kit will launch this summer, with the consumer version to follow, though it's not clear when that will be.

GameSpot editor Peter Brown trying out Project Morpheus today at GDC

Also in our interview with Yoshida today, the PlayStation executive addressed the matter of pricing for Project Morpheus. He wasn't ready to talk firm pricing plans, but he did say that you won't have to spend $1000 to get your hands on the device, as is the case with Sony's HMZ head-mounted display line.

According to Yoshida, the HMZ line is priced in such a way that Sony makes money on every unit sold. This model doesn't normally apply to game hardware, though, as consoles are often sold at or below cost, and become profitable with the sale of games, accessories, and services.

Yoshida said Sony often prices its gaming hardware lower than other non-gaming Sony devices and explained that he doesn't expect this to change with Project Morpheus. As such, Yoshida explained that a $1000 price point "doesn't necessarily indicate the pricing that we're gonna have" for Project Morpheus.

As for the competition, Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey said this month that the device will be "affordable" because he doesn't want it to be a "rich person's toy."

Check back in the days ahead for even more GameSpot coverage of Project Morpheus, including a breakdown of the differences between Sony's device and Oculus Rift.

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and you can follow him on Twitter @EddieMakuch
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Discussion

137 comments
smokeywillow
smokeywillow

Why are people so negative about this? This is amazing technology and I'd rather see them make this now with its minor flaws than to wait another 10-15 years to make a product that will still need much needed improvement because the sooner they sell the headset and get feedback on it from the public, the sooner they can work out all the problems and make a greater and bigger improvement on the next version within the next year or two after this comes out.

andy72184
andy72184

It better be less than $1000 or I'm a kick Yoshidas asshole in another dimension.

deathstream
deathstream

This is not a console.  It isn't going to drive software sales that much.  Selling it at a loss could be the final nail in the Sony financial coffin.  

tightwad34
tightwad34

I honestly thought the very first VR sets available to the public would cost a lot more than it appears they will. Really don't know if that's a good thing. This will definitely be a wait and see approach.

hadwell
hadwell

Sony's problem is no cross platform, the rift just uses standard dvi/hdmi, so technically can work on anything with a digital video out, even displayport if you get an adapter... and when it comes to PC, 300$-500$ is how much a half decent, not even fully decent gaming monitor costs, so to get non-interpolated 3d + head tracking for that price is a steal

rarson
rarson

A few educated guesses:


Sony's Morpheus is somewhat of a competitor to Rift, but also may not really be after all. If the device is a PS4 exclusive, and PS4-only, then it's basically Morpheus or nothing. So Rift gamers who want the same experience on their PS4 will have to buy it regardless. I think it gets interesting though if Sony plans on supporting other formats, because then it starts to step into Rift territory. The obvious choice would be PC games, although I doubt Sony will use technology that is compatible with the Rift, so now you're talking about creating another development environment for PC devs, and this makes that option seem less likely. Depending on how easy they can port their tools from the PS4 to the PC, however, that may make it more viable.


What I'm almost more intrigued about is the non-gaming possibilities, VR video, 3D movies, all the stuff that Oculus is talking about besides gaming. That could push the device into the hands of non-gaming consumers. Again, though, the question of development and deployment of content arises. I have little doubt that Oculus will have trouble providing content, given the enthusiasm shown for the current iteration and the press it has received so far. With the affordability being a main focus, Sony would have to provide a very competitive product in order to match Oculus in this area. One thing to keep in mind about Sony, always, is the power of their movie studios. Sony is constantly sitting on a ton of content that they can tap into on a moment's notice, so if they really wanted to, they could easily push this device into the non-gaming crowd. I really have no idea what Sony plans on doing with the technology beyond gaming. (Something to point out is that if they did position it for non-gaming content, it would start encroaching upon the HMZ's territory, although that's really intended for something different, a personal theater-sized movie screen, not an immersive VR experience. But it's hard to imagine a decent VR movie-capable device NOT cannibalizing HMZ sales.)


As far as price points are concerned, it sounds like Oculus is targeting $300. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being a bit more expensive, given the quality of the device, but I can't imagine them trying to sell it for more than $400. THE price point for them, I think, is $300 and I think they're going to do everything they can to sell it for that. Sony, on the other hand, will probably charge a premium. Not necessarily more than hardware cost, but I think "less than $1000" means $500 in this case. They will sell it as a high-end add-on for their console, and it will probably either exceed the Rift specs in some way or offer a sleeker form factor to justify the higher price. I suspect that adoption of Morpheus will be lower than that of Rift both due to price and platform restrictions (PC gamers will be buying the Rift).


Regarding release date, it sounds like Oculus is aiming for this year. I suspect that it'll be Q4, or maybe late-Q3 at the absolute earliest. I do think they'll have something this year. It seems that Sony has looked at what Oculus is doing and where they're at and they're probably betting that the Rift is not coming until late 2014, so they probably figure that they don't have to release this year. I'd rather them take the time to get it right anyway, so not rushing it is a good thing. And PS4 gamers are have only recently laid out $400 for their systems, so waiting a bit does make some sense. But if they wait too long, then I think gamers will see little reason to cough up another big chunk of change for a device that may only be supported by half of the platform's titles. So I can't see them releasing a device after 2015. I would guess they'll release sometime around Q2 2015.

Raeldor
Raeldor

Better to wait and launch it cheap with some killer titles.  This kind of device is only as good as the experience the software offers.

bourne714
bourne714

I'm willing to bet it will be somewhere in between  $199 and $399.  If there smart though, they will price it at $99 to $150.  That is if they want it to sell.

lonesamurai1
lonesamurai1

Relax guys Sony knows that console gamers are incredibly cheap, so they'll price it cheap like they did their console and it'll be weak, because console gamers are cheap, kinda like the snake eating it's tail.

Boddicker
Boddicker

Even at $500 this will be a bigger flop than the VirtualBoy.  Maybe at $200 this will be a success, but seriously who sees that happening?


Ugh, I love ya Sony, but this may be the end.

JoInfo
JoInfo

I can see this being a hugely unpopular fail.

lhughey
lhughey

This tech wont see light of day till 2016-2017 when it will be 199.99 or a PS4 + Morp will be 429.00.  There's no way people are going to pay a ton for an add on product.  

StHapns247
StHapns247

I commented on this article last night, this was not posted an hour and half ago.

force_user1975
force_user1975

$599 US dollars confirmed. I'm sure we might see a headset standalone for $400 or so, but they'll also need to offer a bundle with the camera and Move controllers for $550-$650. This thing is a niche product, not sure why they're wasting time on this and not making games. 

IndremaLover
IndremaLover

$299.  Anything higher will never sell enough to create a hardware base sufficient to attract software.

kargion
kargion

I could see when these first come out being some where around 250-500 bucks.  Hard sale for early adapters, in time it will come down.  But time will tell if it is even worth it.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

It's good they don't expect me to pay $1000.

Cuz that ain't happenin'.

kane6911
kane6911

This has fail written all on it already. 

sampson3121
sampson3121

if they don't make this affordable for the average gamer, it will flop. if they were smart they would price it around 200-300$ and watch ps4 sales rocket=games sold=ps+ and ps now subscriptions bought=domination of the gaming market.

nigelholden
nigelholden

Yoshida explained that a $1000 price point "doesn't necessarily indicate the pricing that we're gonna have"


The word "necessarily" kind of makes me nervous for this project. Anywhere near that, and it won't have workable customer base. 

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

The only reason $1000 was mentioned is because of the HMZ. Sony knows what price point their VR headset needs to launch at. I'll probably end up getting the Oculus too, but I'm definitely more interested in what Sony's offering. I wanna play The Last Guardian in VR!

kujel
kujel

$999.99 price tag confirmed.

draign
draign

I dont expect to pay anything for it.

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

get the new sony VR headset only $999.99

Solace427
Solace427

Given that the full potential of motion controlled gaming is not exactly realized, what makes them think VR is going to take off and become something solid? I see this as just another peripheral that will collect dust. Also, the comparison of $1K to their head mount HDTV was a very poor choice of words.


So no thanks, I'm still looking forward to what else can be done with the PS4s potential. 

TacoTuesdays
TacoTuesdays

"shouldnt" that's not a very confident word to use

duffman124
duffman124

Now we just wait and see what Microsoft has up its sleeve.....

rarson
rarson

@bourne714

This is a VR headset. There's no way in hell that they're going to make a quality device AND sell it for less than $299.

andy72184
andy72184

The rift on a PC is flawless

rarson
rarson

@lonesamurai1  

The PS4 is the most powerful hardware you can get in a device of that size for only $399. In fact, you can't even build a PC of any size for $399 that will match the PS4.

And I say this as a PC gamer who builds custom PCs for a living.

rarson
rarson

@sampson3121  

It's an add-on. It's not required for the games. So unless they've got a bunch of killer apps that require it (not impossible, but "a bunch" is probably unlikely), it doesn't make any sense to lose much on the hardware. Regardless of what the Sony guy said, I doubt they'd price it at a loss, unless they really do have some killer software. Consoles sales spur software sales, so this has to do the same thing, or they're not going to throw away money on it.

rarson
rarson

@nigelholden  

The HMZ is basically a high-end option in a very niche market. There aren't very many people looking to buy a personal theater display. So the markup on a product like that is way higher than something intended for a much broader audience like this would be. I agree, the wording is worryingly vague, but it doesn't make sense to seriously research this project if you're not intending to hit a $500 price point, I think. Sony is smart enough to realize that they're not going to sell at $1000.

PixelAddict
PixelAddict

@PS2fweak  I was on-board with your comment until you mentioned The Last Guardian.

Because I think Project Morpheus will be out before the PS6!

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@Solace427  The problem is you haven't seen it. The people who have, sound very different than you. And you're being unfair to what VR is. It's a completely different experience. Motion controls tried to make us play our games differently. VR can/will literally create an entirely new industry and artistic medium. 


A virtual time machine would be enough for me.

ti2xgr
ti2xgr

@duffman124  Knowing Microsoft and it's current course, they'll come up with a less powerful version and charge $100 more for it...

kane6911
kane6911

@duffman124  

something cheaper and better than parlor tricks. my guess Microsoft will come in around 250.00 for theirs.  

beastmodeactive
beastmodeactive

@rarson @bourne714 A VR headset?  Really?  Damn, I had no idea.......Did you read the article where Sony said that this product will not be priced in line with the rest of their products?  The price will follow the same route they take with consoles by pricing it cheaper, where people will buy it with Sony taking a loss at first but as time goes on manufacturing cost drop and they start to profit.  "So yea, there actually is a good chance it will be in the $199 range. 

Kiaininja
Kiaininja

@PS2fweak @Solace427  VR gaming have been trying to crack the market since the early 90s and have continuously failed, so it's natural for people to be critical about it. Hopefully this time the price is right and Sony releases it with a strong number of games that makes great use of the technology.

Solace427
Solace427

@PS2fweakk

Know what, you are absolutely correct. I don't even know why I just took an overly critical and ignorant approach to this. Power naps are powerful things.

rarson
rarson

@kane6911

And why exactly would you expect that? Their console is $100 more expensive.


What do you mean by "parlor tricks?"

rarson
rarson

@beastmodeactive

Yes, I read that article, which implied that the Sony VR headset wouldn't be priced similarly to the HMZ. Which is great, because the HMZ is currently priced around a thousand dollars. Which means that this headset could still easily be priced above $299 and below the rest of their products.

$199 range? No way. You're a moron.

rarson
rarson

@Kiaininja

VR was always a great idea, it just wasn't market-ready back then. Displays sucked, graphics sucked, prices sucked, and content sucked. I think the technology is finally there. The displays don't suck anymore, the price doesn't suck anymore, the graphics power can easily handle it, and the content isn't all that difficult to create. The average person won't be getting sick from using it or feeling pain after ten minutes. If these products turn out even half as good as the press has been, then they're going to be awesome for a person like me, who has been waiting 20 years for a decent VR device.