Engadget hands on impressions with Morpheus

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#1 Edited by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

Using the PlayStation 4's virtual reality headset, Project Morpheus (update: now with video!)

BY Ben Gilbert @RealBenGilbert March 19th, 2014 at 3:30PM ET 71

The cat's out of the bag and ... uh, on our head? Okay, we can do better than that, but what we're trying to say is that we just used Sony's new Playstation 4 virtual reality headset: Project Morpheus. You already know the specs and all that good stuff, we're here to tell you what it's like using the still-in-prototype-form virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4. Good news: it's pretty great! Surprise!

Join us below for a closer look.

Project Morpheus (GDC 2014)

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20 Photos

Project Morpheus, right now, is a little uncomfortable. In so many words, it feels like a prototype still. As a demo man fit the headset on my generously-sized noggin, he tightened a variety of different adjustments: one that tightened the whole unit on my head, another that brought the display portion forward toward my eyes. When you initially put it on, there's a gap between where you're looking and below -- certainly not a great way to create immersion. Thankfully, that gap closed easily in the two different demos we tried ("The Deep" and "The Castle" -- both of which were more tech demo than game).

I'd love to say it was a sweat-free experience; between gesticulating with PlayStation Move controllers as hands and being surrounded by hundreds of GDC attendees waiting for their chance to try Morpheus, I was relatively moist by the time I'd cut up the dummy model in The Castle with a virtual sword. While uncomfortable, I can get over that -- the issue is that it makes the optics fog up and that's no good at all. Part of the unit's design is based around keeping players cool, so you should expect a better experience as Morpheus goes from prototype to reality.

So, games! What's it like using Morpheus to play games? It's pretty neat! Well, that's to say, "It's a lot like playing games in the Oculus Rift headset, especially the newer versions of the Rift." In The Deep, I took a trip to the bottom of the ocean in a metal cage; when I bent down, my in-game knees bent (as tracked by the PlayStation Camera). When I looked up, my perspective turned skyward and the lamp mounted to my virtual head followed (the lighting was perhaps the most impressive part, with cage bars occluding properly and all).

In The Castle, I picked up two PlayStation Move controllers to act as hands, which enabled me to bend over, pick up a sword and take a dummy down a few notches. If I moved back a few steps, my in-game avatar moved back a few steps. One major change in Morpheus compared with other VR headsets is full-body tracking, which does legitimately add to the immersion effect.

It's not all virtual reality rainbows and dreams, of course. There are still some pretty major issues to overcome in Project Morpheus. Vision blur, for instance, is a much bigger problem on Morpheus than on Crystal Cove/Rift DK2. The screen resolution is also clearly not as high as DK2, making everything a bit muddier, visually speaking. Right now, well ahead of launch (Sony's not even talking about what the final product will be just yet, nonetheless giving it a launch window), Project Morpheus is both extremely promising and clearly not ready for primetime. But it's close!

To put it frankly, we're extremely excited to see what the next few years means for the entire medium of VR, not to mention the efforts of major players like Sony, Valve and Oculus. Morpheus is the second major entry in the field, and, well, that's really thrilling! In case it weren't already clear, this is the week that virtual reality officially goes big.

Awww yeah! Survey says, it's good!

It looks like several press outlets have some actual helmet time with this and are dropping their impressions now. I wanted to share an article that has video so you can kind of judge for yourselves. Check it out! It may not be perfected, but it's definitely solid and close to becoming a real thing.

#2 Edited by StormyJoe (4609 posts) -

@Shewgenja: Interesting tech. Lets hope they get the bugs out of it soon and make it commercially available.

I wonder how much it costs?

#3 Edited by RR360DD (11423 posts) -

Sony peripheral LOL don't need to say any more.

#4 Edited by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

@Shewgenja: Interesting tech. Lets hope they get the bugs out of it soon and make it commercially available.

I wonder how much it costs?

If it comes out under $300, color me shocked!

#5 Edited by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

@RR360DD said:

Sony peripheral LOL don't need to say any more.

Microsoft sure made a big deal out of jocking the EyeToy.

#6 Posted by NoTrolling (97 posts) -

@RR360DD said:

Sony peripheral LOL don't need to say any more.

Only a couple million in R&D and STILL they trounce Microsoft's multi-billion dollar projects.

Gamespot is just one of the many outlets that say PS4 cam destroys the garbage kinect.

RR360DD cry m0ar.

#7 Edited by silversix_ (13669 posts) -

@RR360DD said:

Sony peripheral LOL don't need to say any more.

Don't worry the 720p Edition is coming on your Bone as well.

#8 Posted by tyloss (829 posts) -

@RR360DD: you mad you can't afford this?

Christmas is around the corner don't worry.

#9 Edited by kingtito (4744 posts) -

Be real jokes, how many Sony peripherals have actually succeeded, not just in sales but in dev support as well?

#10 Posted by RR360DD (11423 posts) -

@tyloss said:

@RR360DD: you mad you can't afford this?

Christmas is around the corner don't worry.

This'll be dead and buried by christmas ... just like all Sony peripherals :(

LOL

#11 Edited by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

@kingtito said:

Be real jokes, how many Sony peripherals have actually succeeded, not just in sales but in dev support as well?

You've got a point. The XBone is getting pounded due to being bundled with Kinect/MeTooToy. Good show. Have a cookie.

#12 Edited by lglz1337 (3027 posts) -

yess lemmings imagine playing your titanfall with VR

this gone be good can't wait sony

#13 Posted by CroidX (926 posts) -

What games are supported?

#14 Posted by kingtito (4744 posts) -

@kingtito said:

Be real jokes, how many Sony peripherals have actually succeeded, not just in sales but in dev support as well?

You've got a point. The XBone is getting pounded due to being bundled with Kinect/MeTooToy. Good show. Have a cookie.

What does this have to do with XOne sales cow?

Being out sold by PS4 =/= bad sales. XOne sales are actually good but not AS good as the PS4. You jokes need to learn the difference.

Cows, the true jokes of SWs

#15 Posted by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

@kingtito said:

You jokes need to learn the difference.

Cows, the true jokes of SWs

Is this like a Robert Baker 'sheen' thing you're trying to start here? Cuz, yeah, don't do that. It doesn't end well.

#16 Posted by StormyJoe (4609 posts) -

@StormyJoe said:

@Shewgenja: Interesting tech. Lets hope they get the bugs out of it soon and make it commercially available.

I wonder how much it costs?

If it comes out under $300, color me shocked!

It'd be sweet if they did. Maybe subsidize the cost with games.

#17 Posted by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

It'd be sweet if they did. Maybe subsidize the cost with games.

I have a theory on exactly that. Subsidize the cost with PS4 camera and Move sales.. I can't hate lol

#18 Edited by StormyJoe (4609 posts) -

@StormyJoe said:

It'd be sweet if they did. Maybe subsidize the cost with games.

I have a theory on exactly that. Subsidize the cost with PS4 camera and Move sales.. I can't hate lol

That might work. I just can't see it taking off if it costs more that $200. Which would be a damn shame, because it's cool tech.

#19 Posted by clyde46 (43695 posts) -

For something they had in development since 2010, I'd hoped they further along with it.

#20 Posted by Mr-Kutaragi (1864 posts) -

PS4 kings field with VR, yes.

I just hope will not be such strain supply like ps4 camera.

#21 Edited by Solid_Max13 (3496 posts) -

Im very intrigued and glad to hear it's doing very well and getting good reviews I hope to see some games that can really push this forward if they can get some cool IPs for this they could have a hit and erase the whole move fiasco but here's hoping it does well

#22 Posted by Snugenz (11471 posts) -

The actual headset looks pretty damn good, but what would worry me is the PS4 and if it would have the grunt to render anything but the most basic games twice (which i believe the OR does) at 720/1080p.

#23 Posted by TigerSuperman (1835 posts) -

@kingtito said:

Be real jokes, how many Sony peripherals have actually succeeded, not just in sales but in dev support as well?

You've got a point. The XBone is getting pounded due to being bundled with Kinect/MeTooToy. Good show. Have a cookie.

Self-ownage. Amazing.

Anyway about the CR headset.

This will probably be consumer priced. At least around $600+ since Sony does not seem to be throwing premium amounts of money on it. If they just make the VR quality built with the current materials, they could make a good first step. I Personally think bth this and OR will fail for the same reason that Mattel Failed. Basically, they will price it out of consumer range, and have next to no support.

#24 Edited by tyloss (829 posts) -

@kingtito said:

Be real jokes, how many Sony peripherals have actually succeeded, not just in sales but in dev support as well?

Depends on what you consider 'successful.'

#25 Posted by foxhound_fox (86991 posts) -

@RR360DD said:

Sony peripheral LOL don't need to say any more.

Microsoft sure made a big deal out of jocking the EyeToy.

At least there they put some R&D effort behind it and some serious dollars to make some actual games for it. Not saying it was a success, but clearly more effort than Sony's.

Also, I have a feeling that the Kinect technology is ahead of it's time and we'll be seeing more of it in the coming generations when the lines between game and reality blur.

#26 Posted by kingtito (4744 posts) -

@tyloss said:

@kingtito said:

Be real jokes, how many Sony peripherals have actually succeeded, not just in sales but in dev support as well?

Depends on what you consider 'successful.'

Good question. The original kinect sold something like 24m out of 82+m user base and it was considered some what of a success. I guess the peripheral would have to around 25% give or take a few % for it to be successful and for devs to make an effort to support it. This is just my guess though.

#27 Posted by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

All I know is this..

If they make Elder Scrolls Online or the next Shenmue work with this thing, my life as I know it is fucked.

#28 Posted by Antwan3K (2308 posts) -

interesting tech, i'm really curious to see where this can go.. The true potential all depends on price and developer support of course but the tech looks impressive..

as a side note, cows pretend that an extra $100 for the tech in Kinect 2.0 (all fanboyism, PR gaffs, and lowered console sales aside, the tech in the device is very impressive) is waaaayy too much to ask but potentially paying $300~ for this add-on is justified?..

I know, I know, "I want the OPTION of Kinect 2.0 instead of being forced to buy it".. fair enough.. but making it optional makes it an "add-on" and add-ons tend to fail in terms of consumer support, developer support, and actual innovation in core games.. So I can see the pros and cons to both sides of the argument, no need to rehash the usual fanboy battle cries..

i'm just curious though, full-body motion tracking packed with the Xbox One is a "useless gimmick", but if you strap on a $300 helmet and hold two PS Move controllers in your hands, it becomes awesome and "I can't wait"?..

#29 Posted by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

@Antwan3K said:

interesting tech, i'm really curious to see where this can go.. The true potential all depends on price and developer support of course but the tech looks impressive..

as a side note, cows pretend that an extra $100 for the tech in Kinect 2.0 (all fanboyism, PR gaffs, and lowered console sales aside, the tech in the device is very impressive) is waaaayy too much to ask but potentially paying $300~ for this add-on is justified?..

I know, I know, "I want the OPTION of Kinect 2.0 instead of being forced to buy it".. fair enough.. but making it optional makes it an "add-on" and add-ons tend to fail in terms of consumer support, developer support, and actual innovation in core games.. So I can see the pros and cons to both sides of the argument, no need to rehash the usual fanboy battle cries..

i'm just curious though, full-body motion tracking packed with the Xbox One is a "useless gimmick", but if you strap on a $300 helmet and hold two PS Move controllers in your hands, it becomes awesome and "I can't wait"?..

You know what is also not an option with the XBone? 1.1 TFlops.

#30 Edited by pelvist (4485 posts) -

Only possible because of XBOX Cloud.

#31 Posted by FoxbatAlpha (5917 posts) -

This will go up in flames like the MOVE and soon to be dead PSN Now.

#32 Posted by Heil68 (42747 posts) -

SONY pushing the industry forward with cutting edge technology and innovation yet again.

#33 Posted by SakusEnvoy (4123 posts) -

@Antwan3K said:

interesting tech, i'm really curious to see where this can go.. The true potential all depends on price and developer support of course but the tech looks impressive..

as a side note, cows pretend that an extra $100 for the tech in Kinect 2.0 (all fanboyism, PR gaffs, and lowered console sales aside, the tech in the device is very impressive) is waaaayy too much to ask but potentially paying $300~ for this add-on is justified?..

I know, I know, "I want the OPTION of Kinect 2.0 instead of being forced to buy it".. fair enough.. but making it optional makes it an "add-on" and add-ons tend to fail in terms of consumer support, developer support, and actual innovation in core games.. So I can see the pros and cons to both sides of the argument, no need to rehash the usual fanboy battle cries..

i'm just curious though, full-body motion tracking packed with the Xbox One is a "useless gimmick", but if you strap on a $300 helmet and hold two PS Move controllers in your hands, it becomes awesome and "I can't wait"?..

Without the virtual reality element or a controller, the whole experience on Kinect devolves into just flailing your body around. Even after 4 years on the market, developers haven't been able to utilize Kinect in a truly convincing way to enhance traditional hardcore games. That's the problem.

Full body tracking - the technology - is awesome. Combined with other things like virtual reality and a controller, it could make a big difference to hardcore gaming. Unfortunately, it's not enough just by itself.

#34 Posted by Jankarcop (8871 posts) -

So worse than Rift in every way....yeah sounds like the usual console vs. pc end result.

#35 Edited by BattleSpectre (5952 posts) -

Am I the only who's scared of this virtual reality technology? Every time I hear analysts or people claim this will be the last generation of the consoles I cringe. I love the fact of playing with a controller and I don't want to play my games any other way. This worries me, maybe I'm not open minded but just stick to making awesome games. I don't want this to be the future, I'm only getting started with home consoles.

Sony and Microsoft want to push this cloud, streaming service on everyone in the future, but guess what? Not everyone has the internet to do that or even use that sort of technology yet. I know I don't, I'm only on 100GB per month but my internet speed is good at least. This upsets me, greatly. I guess if this is the last generation of consoles I can always go back to strict PC gaming, at least no asshole can change that, only improve it.

#36 Posted by donalbane (16150 posts) -

@RR360DD said:

Sony peripheral LOL don't need to say any more.

Don't worry the 720p Edition is coming on your Bone as well.

Actually they are going to come out with project Forteleza... it's a different, but equally interesting idea involving augmented reality. I love these kind of things... will most likely be getting both if not cost prohibitive.

#37 Posted by iloveatlus (248 posts) -

Will this VR be strictly for gaming or will we be able to use it for watching TV and other shit?

#38 Posted by Boddicker (2291 posts) -

It better be priced at $200 or I can see it going the way of the VirtualBoy.

Hell, even at that price point it might be too much without almost universal support.

#39 Posted by I_can_haz (6506 posts) -

@Heil68 said:

SONY pushing the industry forward with cutting edge technology and innovation yet again.

#40 Posted by lbjkurono23 (12544 posts) -

Can you imagine walking through raccoon city?

#41 Posted by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

Can you imagine walking through raccoon city?

That would be a trip. Or a good Silent Hill. MAN!

#42 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38172 posts) -

It's not all virtual reality rainbows and dreams, of course. There are still some pretty major issues to overcome in Project Morpheus. Vision blur, for instance, is a much bigger problem on Morpheus than on Crystal Cove/Rift DK2. The screen resolution is also clearly not as high as DK2, making everything a bit muddier, visually speaking. Right now, well ahead of launch (Sony's not even talking about what the final product will be just yet, nonetheless giving it a launch window), Project Morpheus is both extremely promising and clearly not ready for primetime. But it's close!

All I needed to read. The current model is worse than the newer Rift and the retail model (which will be much better than this prototype of course) doesn't sound like it's gonna launch anytime soon. Even though the Rift doesn't launch for about a year either at least the newer 1080p model is coming this year for me to play with

Hard to get excited for Sony's when it's still so very far away

#43 Posted by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

It's not all virtual reality rainbows and dreams, of course. There are still some pretty major issues to overcome in Project Morpheus. Vision blur, for instance, is a much bigger problem on Morpheus than on Crystal Cove/Rift DK2. The screen resolution is also clearly not as high as DK2, making everything a bit muddier, visually speaking. Right now, well ahead of launch (Sony's not even talking about what the final product will be just yet, nonetheless giving it a launch window), Project Morpheus is both extremely promising and clearly not ready for primetime. But it's close!

All I needed to read. The current model is worse than the newer Rift and the retail model (which will be much better than this prototype of course) doesn't sound like it's gonna launch anytime soon. Even though the Rift doesn't launch for about a year either at least the newer 1080p model is coming this year for me to play with

Hard to get excited for Sony's when it's still so very far away

With PS4 supporting VR as well as OR, I think at least there's going to be a reason for developers to jump on board with VR. I think they help each other rather than hurt.

#44 Posted by stationplay_4 (442 posts) -

pretty cool. will be interesting to see what they do with it.

#45 Posted by seanmcloughlin (38172 posts) -

@seanmcloughlin said:

All I needed to read. The current model is worse than the newer Rift and the retail model (which will be much better than this prototype of course) doesn't sound like it's gonna launch anytime soon. Even though the Rift doesn't launch for about a year either at least the newer 1080p model is coming this year for me to play with

Hard to get excited for Sony's when it's still so very far away

With PS4 supporting VR as well as OR, I think at least there's going to be a reason for developers to jump on board with VR. I think they help each other rather than hurt.

Oh yeah for sure, competition of any kind is good. It will only drive the market forward

#46 Edited by lbjkurono23 (12544 posts) -
#47 Edited by Shewgenja (7984 posts) -

@Shewgenja: silent hill would be insane.

I like the way you think, stick around.

@seanmcloughlin Not just competition, though. Almost a symbiotic relationship. Think of how similar the PS4 is to PC in architecture. If Sony's tools are good enough, then developers will have every reason to run their OR games on it and double dip into the money. If VR is going to become a thing, then the technology needs to be accessible and affordable to developers/publishers. In a way, both Move and Kinect sucked ass last gen because they were so different and the development environments were so dissimilar. There was also not a whole lot on PC that was similar to either motion controller.

VR, as a whole, needs to be well thought out if it is going to become a thing. Morpheus and OR are joined at the hip whether either company likes it or not. The gamers win, though, if it's done right.

#48 Posted by GTSaiyanjin2 (5700 posts) -

a boxing game with VR... I'd imagine that would be really good. I've never had any experience with any type of VR, but I'm interested in it.

#49 Posted by Vecna (3322 posts) -

Without a high powered pc, all your going to get from the PS4 and VR is PS3 graphics.

Sony should just leave VR to the platform that will be able to do it justice. We all know what that is.

There is no way they could make this quality built and not have it rival the cost of their console. That would be a massive fail.

#50 Posted by cainetao11 (15989 posts) -

Looks good. Pricing will be key. Also, playing with this on may do away with the resolution war