Sony announces PS4 virtual reality initiative Project Morpheus

PlayStation maker reveals virtual reality initiative at Game Developers Conference; current devkit has 1080p display and 90+ degree field of view.

Today during a special Game Developers Conference presentation in San Francisco, Sony announced a new PlayStation 4 virtual reality initiative that the company hopes will "push the game industry forward."

The head-mounted display prototype is currently called Project Morpheus. It is "by no means" the final prototype, Sony president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida said. Sony will continue to improve the device over time, he said.

"Nothing elevates the level of immersion better than VR," Yoshida added.

The current Project Morpheus devkit includes the following functionality:

  • 1080p display
  • 90+ degree field of view
  • 100hz 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

Of course, Sony's Morpheus device will compete with Oculus Rift. Yoshida said Sony has "nothing but respect" for what that device has achieved so far. He also congratulated Valve on their own efforts in the virtual reality space.

Dr. Richard Marks, of Sony's R&D department, said virtual reality will become the "preferred medium" and will even extend beyond games to other industries. Sony has also partnered with NASA to create a demo that allows the gamer to feel like they are standing on the surface of Mars.

If Sony's Project Morpheus is to succeed, it needs to be easy to use, Marks said. He envisions a future where the device is sitting on your coffee table and you are able to pick it up and quickly get into "VR mode." Marks also said that Project Morpheus will be comfortable and might even be able to automatically adjust to the size of your head.

Project Morpheus will be on display at Sony's booth at GDC this week. Demos at Sony's booth include a special re-working of Square Enix's Thief, as well as a game called The Deep from Sony's London studio, a game called The Castle, and EVE Valkyrie.

Another Sony R&D engineer, Anton Mikhailov, said virtual reality is an entirely new medium and "the rules are different." He also touched on the issue of motion sickness, saying head motion "is law" when designing virtual reality experiences.

List of initial partners for Project Morpheus

Mikhailov also said that virtual reality must keep latency slow, keep frame-rate high, calibrate well, render clean images, and "seal the deal" with 3D audio. He also said that Project Morpheus can work with online multiplayer and local couch multiplayer. "The multiplayer aspect of [VR] is really cool," he said.

Some of Sony's first partners for Project Morpheus include Epic Games, Unity, Crytek, and Autodesk, among others.

Sony has been exploring virtual reality technology for more than three years, even enlisting the help of God of War studio Sony Santa Monica to create multiple prototypes, Yoshida said. One prototype even allowed the user to become Kratos.

Early prototypes used Sony's own HMZ head-mounted display in conjunction with PlayStation Move controllers.

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

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Discussion

1346 comments
Adam802
Adam802

Here is my theory as to how Morpheus' reveal actually validates Xb1's Kinect. 

Everyone seems to have not noticed that the PS Camera will be required to use Morpheus...Shu Yoshida confirmed it here: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2014/03/18/introducing-project-morpheus/  (Scroll down to his answer to comment 12)  Its needed for the actual head tracking.  Its why there are blue lights on the headset.

Now its pretty obvious that Microsoft is working on a VR headset for XB1.  Im sure the kinect will be used to track it and give kinect its first actual good use.  Its more powerful than the PS Camera and is already included with every console.  This is why it was a good idea for MS to invest in a good camera, and could possibly give a competitive edge when PS users will apparently have to purchase the PS Camera as well as the Morpheus headset separately. 


This could make XB1's VR a good competitor and validate kinect's inclusion with every XB1.  And before anyone flames me just for defending xbox, just know that I do own both an XB1 and Ps4 and you should be happy that both consoles are doing good and that xb1 is getting better and pretty much on par with ps4 at this point.(after the xb1 console updates, and news of 1080p coming to xb1 soon, the xb1 is legitimately a great console to play games)   It just good for the games industry and everyone in it, including all of us. 



ZanderDF
ZanderDF

why is everybody complaining. before any1 goes on a OMG VIRTUAL BOY FAILED BLUHH BLUHH. also look at the technology back then. So why shouldnt this stuff be experimented with. if game developers want it ( which they have prototypes) and want to make AAA games with it, then why fucking complain. Its been like 4 videogame generations since the last time this has been considered in the industry. I think its good timing. If it fails again we will have to wait another 20 years for some1 else to try. But i have a feeling it will do alot better this time and good games can be made for it. Most of the criticisms here are weird and unfounded.

lilflipp
lilflipp

And it's the virtual boy all over again! Over hyped terms. Look here, this is not virtual reality alright. This is a screen that you tie around your fucking head and detects motion. Virtual Reality is like Matrix type of shit and we are not ready for that yet. So keep your panties on. So enough with this sensational bullshit.

How fucking immersive can this get with a sky camera. What about RTS, or even third person games. What happens to anything that isn't FPS.


This is just a gimmick and you all know it. It's a sexy concept and idea. But I don't think this is what virtual reality will be like. I have a feeling this will give headaches and just isn't good. I don't want to have something tied around my fucking head and having to move, my house isn't that big and I don't want to be playing on a fucking treadmill.

They can't even figure out motion detection properly. Tell me when was the last time you played a good motion detectable game that worked well, with good gameplay. I know you didn't. They all suck!


People bitch about the Wiimote price and now you want this. You know internet, sometimes I just don't get you. Sometimes I'd just want to punch you right in your stupid virtual fucking face.

Bigjoe275
Bigjoe275

This thing will be far worse than the kinect

CybaCowboy
CybaCowboy

Considering Sony already have extensive experience with headsets (they're up to the third generation of their "Personal 3D Viewer" series of products) and 3D technologies (most commercial 3D cinemas use Sony equipment), this should be pretty impressive.


As always, Sony is leading innovation and is at the cutting edge of technology - this will take the gaming industry that one step further... Perhaps this is even the first step towards making the famous "Holdeck" from Star Trek a reality.

Deaho
Deaho

Support the ps move first before you get this to us. I bought the ps move controller and it's  collecting dust now, since there are no games to support it.You made people buy the ps4 camera because you told them that you were going to support the ps move controller, but almost nothing!

SPBoss
SPBoss

Wouldn't constantly focusing your eyes to a screen less than a few inches from your face eventually cause some damage to your eyesight? That's my only worry at the moment

sayOHbrad
sayOHbrad

It seriously baffles me the amount of people that lack the imagination to see that this new approach to VR is going to be the future of gaming and not even JUST gaming. Everybody that's saying that it's going to flop and that nobody is going to buy it unless its under $299... you're an idiot and you have no imagination.

People amaze me.

waxcriminal
waxcriminal

"Project Morpheus". They are doing a good job being cheesy and unimaginative 

OneStrong2
OneStrong2

Sony's disclaimer -- claiming it's not a reference to the matrix -- is interesting, given the fact Neo's mentor is drawn from the same source. The Greek deity of sleep. Personally, I prefer the controller to a virtual headset. This feels as though gamer protracted tolerance is getting the better of them. There comes a point at which you should stop, go outside, and get a breath of fresh air -- take in the world around you. There's only so much you can do in a video game. What's next, agent smith? 

dadoesch
dadoesch

How long before you think someone is able to put adult content on Oculus or this?

rickman33
rickman33

It's sad that someone asked during the conference if it was a reference to The Matrix.  Idiot.  Yes, Sony is going to name their VR headset after a character in a lame movie distributed by Warner Brothers (that's sarcasm).

Granatar
Granatar

Wait, we need something that blocks all forms of communication in the real world.  Parents good luck getting your teens attention now.  

Boddicker
Boddicker

I think it would have been cooler if the name was a Matrix reference. 


Now take the blue pill damnit!!!!!!

DestinyStarX
DestinyStarX

 I just want Dot Hack 'The World' to become true.

akuya32
akuya32

Were one step closer to being a VR world like in an episode of sliders. 

V3rciS
V3rciS

FInally... movies are becomming reality. Welcome the new age! VR soon will become a standard...

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

once again Sony's idea of innervation has been around for years. What next Sony motion sensor controls like th Wii

shiss27
shiss27

A gimmick but love Sony though. Just filler until the REAL next big thing is announced.

snaketus
snaketus

VR... I wasn't interest in the early 90's. I'm not interested now. It may have some nice applications like virtual car showrooms or that... yeah that.. YOU KNOW IT, YOU thought about it, but not games.

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@Adam802  True, but the there's still the fact that a PS4 + PS Eye + VR headset is still cheaper than an XB1 (which includes Kinect) + VR headset, unless of course Microsoft's VR is significantly cheaper than Sony's, which I couldn't really see being true. The Kinect camera is a higher quality camera than the current PS4 PS Eye but when we're talking about something simple like head tracking the quality difference goes out the window as there are very low requirements needed to do such a simple task.


I can't speak for others, but I've never had a problem with the fact that Kinect came with the XB1. My issue is more with some of the forced functionality. It should all be completely optional, but yeah getting that hardware into the hands of every XB1 owner was not a bad thing at all, and this is coming from a Sony and PC gamer.

gordanchoong
gordanchoong

@lilflipp  Virtual reality was a thing of the past, now they're trying to bring it back again? That is just pathetic!

CybaCowboy
CybaCowboy

@Bigjoe275  

Are you kidding?

Unlike Kinect, "Project Morpheus" has the ability to create a truly immersive experience, and there is plenty of potential for other applications... Given Sony's extensive experience in head-mounted displays, 3D content display and 3D data capture, this is bound to be flawless when it launches, too.

lilflipp
lilflipp

@sayOHbrad Yeah. We have no imagination. That's why we need a fucking screen 2 inches from my face. Because having it a bit further is not immersive enough. I just can't imagine myself being a dragon slayer properly unless the screen is right there in front of my face and covers my peripheral vision.

Also wtf are you going to do with anything that isn't FPS. This technology is not ready yet. You guys are silly. I rely on good story, characters and art style to immerse myself in a world. Yeah that's right! Imagination!

noncasualgamer
noncasualgamer

As long as nintendo doesn't do it. Because then it would be a gimmick.

canvis_melo
canvis_melo

@OneStrong2  God your dumb... You might as well say you prefer index cards over water... How the fuck can you campare or make a preference when they have no relation.... VR are to TV's as gaming consoles are to gaming PC's.

NetGod
NetGod

@OneStrong2  


A virtual headset is not a controller, it's a display. So to compare it to one is crazy. 


The correct statement would be 'I prefer my 60" LED HDTV to a virtual headset. 

swantn5
swantn5

@dadoesch  wait till it hits japan when it does i say at month tops

streetz_86
streetz_86

@rickman33  The Matrix wasn't lame.  It was mind-blowing & awesome, especially when they slowed everything down in super slow motion!

budwheizzah
budwheizzah

@Granatar And your friends will be able to pull awesome pranks on you if you're using VR. We keep joking at my place... "Soooo I could basically steal everything but the computer in your place, being careful not to make any noise, and you'd just sit there and keep playing your game, unaware... right?" LOL If there's a real downside to VR... you may get robbed by very talented thieves while playing a game... but they do have to be REALLY silent and not unplug the system you're using :-)

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@kovaras1984  Do not use the "English isn't my first language" excuse. You simply made a confusingly stupid comment. No offense...

budwheizzah
budwheizzah

@shiss27 This is it. Open your eyes and stop saying gimmick. Try it then form a real opinion.

PS2fweak
PS2fweak

@snaketus  Yeah, I mainly think about going to different places with VR. This is why I'm curious to see what Sony and NASA come up with, but I can't see using it for most games. A good in-car/cockpit view could be nice though. 

lilflipp
lilflipp

@gordanchoong @lilflipp It was never a thing. It was marketing gimmick, "hey guys look this fancy shit that you strap on your face is like reality but virtual". That shit, does not look like reality. It looks like a god damn video game. It's like those 3D glasses.

The virtual boy was the equivalent of the "red and blue" 3D glasses, remember those? This is an upgraded version of it. Sure it's better, still not it, so quit the bullshit. Want to bring it back and try and advance in that type of technology, please by all means go ahead, innovation is always good. But stop lying and over hyping it. Yeah it's a cool piece of technology but let's calm the fuck down.

sayOHbrad
sayOHbrad

@lilflipp  


Okay.. I'll admit that calling everybody an idiot for lacking the imagination it takes to see the extraordinary possibilities that VR could make happen was douchey and rude.. but c'mon.. imagine that you're a game developer and you have to come up with ways to make VR gaming work besides a first person shooter that everybody seems to be play. >.>


They already showed an instance of a game where it's like you play God from a birds eye view in which you control the characters below you. I dont see how VR gaming would limit you from playing a game from a third person view point. Perhaps they will have a game in third person where you're constantly checking behind, the sides, above, ect of your character to avoid approaching enemies. Idfk. Use your imagination idiot.


Just kidding. 

OneStrong2
OneStrong2

@canvis_melo @OneStrong2  


Really, so what's the difference between you're and your?  The concept behind VR is deeper immersion, not resolution or display. A game must have some interface, or it's a movie. I prefer having a controller as opposed to necessarily being it.

OneStrong2
OneStrong2

@NetGod  

Where did I say it was? I said, I prefer a controller to a virtual headset.

kovaras1984
kovaras1984

@PS2fweak @kovaras1984me no carer what you think MR weak. kovaras love sony long time ps3 500 dorra but they haver no idea what innervation is.

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@gordanchoong @CybaCowboy @Bigjoe275  That's more a failing of the development community more than the hardware. The Wii Motion Plus would be the exception as that thing did very little to up the experience over the regular Wiimote. Skyward Sword was an awkward playthrough and most of the time I was wishing that I could just flip back to a classic controller setup. The other hardware mentioned were just horribly botched opportunities.

CybaCowboy
CybaCowboy

@gordanchoong @CybaCowboy@Bigjoe275 

Google Glass has potential if implemented correctly... The others, not so much (which I have always said anyway).

That's not to say PlayStation Move, Wii Motion Plus and Kinect don't have potential - they have plenty of potential... It's just that few developers have ever utilized this.

But if any of those technologies reckon they could create a TRULY" immersive gaming experience, they're dreaming!

PlayStation Move will - for the moment  serve as a logical input device when used with Project Morpheus, but on its own it could never compete with this...

OneStrong2
OneStrong2

@budwheizzah @OneStrong2 @NetGod  
So, there's no point at which it becomes futile to immerse yourself in a game?

LucentWolf
LucentWolf

@kovaras1984 Innervate: Causes the target to regenerate mana equal to 50% of the caster's Spirit(excluding short - duration Spirit bonuses) every 1 sec for 10 sec.  Total mana gained will never be less than 8% of caster's maximum mana.