back to article Virtual reality? Two can play THAT GAME, says Sony: New headset revealed for the PS4

Sony has revealed Project Morpheus, its virtual-reality headset for the PlayStation 4. Project Morpheus was announced in San Francisco at the Game Developers Conference, and will offer a five-inch screen and resolution of 1920x1080 for each eye. Details are scanty for now, with Sony declining to offer dates when the device …

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Devil

Hmmm...

“Morpheus will reproduce the player’s hands and sword within the game so the player feels like they are physically fighting off enemies with their sword in the virtual world.”

So your partner, who has just walked into the living room, just happens to momentarily occupy the real space that is currently virtually-filled by some zombie/robot/gangster who is trying to kill you in-game...

I wonder how long it'll be before the accused in a murder trial comes up with 'I was only playing Zombie Apocalypse 9, m'lord'.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmm...

Red Dwarf?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hmmm...

How long until they release the groinial attachment?

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Re: Hmmm...

@Ketlan

Perhaps I'm taking your comment too seriously but you do realise that the sword isn't real?

So you can't really murder someone with it :-)

On the other hand your hand movements while wielding the pretend sword may result in you hitting the Mrs as she walks in front of you, or one of the kids or knocking some ornament or other on the floor.

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Re: Hmmm...

"Perhaps I'm taking your comment too seriously but you do realise that the sword isn't real?"

That'd be even more fun! :-) No, I was thinking more along the lines of an unlucky punch decking someone coming in to see what all the noise was about.

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Re: Hmmm...

Well I can certainly see the kids using it as excuse to punch and kick one another by "accident".

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Re: Hmmm...

"I'm just gonna walk like this *starts kicking the air* and if you get hit it's you're own fault"

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I can see a flaw in this

Its bad enough holding the move controller, which looks like an ann summers toy with illuminated ball on the end, now they produce a gimp mask to go with it.

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MJI
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Re: I can see a flaw in this

Did ann summers toys come with an assult rifle attachment?

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Paris Hilton

Re: I can see a flaw in this

"Did ann summers toys come with an assult rifle attachment?"

Rule 34 suggests that there's pictures of one at least. And no I'm not searching for proof.

Paris, because, well...

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Re: I can see a flaw in this

I actually have a move controller. Used it once, now it's in a box. The day I can use it as a lightsabre it will most certainly be coming back out of the box though.

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MJI
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Re: I can see a flaw in this

I used mine for 900 hour in just one game.

OK I used it properly for 4 games and a couple of simple games.

4 are first person shooters if you count a portal gun as a gun.

And I never did get the assult rifle attachment.

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MJI
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Re: I can see a flaw in this

More info.

A friend who did use the assult rifle attachment, also played with a projector, I used to jokingly wind him up by saying he used to dress up as well.

Another player I knew kept trying head sets like this so I expect he will buy one.

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A few problems with these things

a) Headsets will be expensive, instantly rendering them a niche product

b) Hardware to generate the images will be expensive. It's probably beyond what a console could push out, including the PS4

c) VR can cause extreme nausea due to motion sickness, disorientation

There's no doubt that VR is cool but whether it is cool enough to overcome these things remains to be seen.

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Re: A few problems with these things

They're working on those points.

a) The benchmark to compare this against will be the Occulus Rift.

b) Dual-1080p tech is already at the consumer level. Now, whether this is at 30 or 60fps, we don't know, but 60 is within the realm of possibility and feasability.

c) That's due to "simulation sickness", the perception of motion when you're not moving. Basically, airsickness in reverse. That's probably why such a big emphasis on head tracking. This will make the motions more natural and less nauseating.

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Re: A few problems with these things

if they're struggling to hit 1080p/60fps on the main screen they've no hope getting that level in the ps4 era

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Re: A few problems with these things

a) The Occulus Rift isn't on sale in its final form so I fail to see how we can know what it will cost at retail. Realistically it's going to be at least $300 but more likely $500. And Sony have never been known for selling kit cheaply.

b) Yeah and it costs a fortune. Look up "oculus rift recommended cheap graphics card" and they're talking of cards which set you back at least $300-500. Then you have the PC which goes around it. It's not cheap. In the context of this story, a PS4 is certainly more affordable, but what does it mean for the resolution, framerate and graphics it can push out? A low framerate exacerbates problems with lag so I would hope it delivers at least 720p60 per eye.

c) And it's still there and it'll always be there. It's caused by a combination of issues - lag, field of view, focus (or lack thereof), jitter, disorientation. Maybe they can minimize the issue but I doubt they will ever do away with it. Some kinds of games may be more amenable to the tech than others.

VR is certainly cool but when it comes with a massive price tag and known issues the question is how many people will bother with it. Look how many people bothered with 3D gaming (not many) and ask yourself why VR should be any more successful.

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Re: A few problems with these things

I'd hope Sony would know better than to promise that which isn't technically acheiveable (remember the hype around the PS2 promising "movie quality visuals"?), but I think the biggest problem with the whole VR-helmet idea is that nobody want one.

Cue flood of comments explaining that they do, in fact, want one. Just remember, if you're wearing a VR-helmet, you'll look like a helmet.

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Re: A few problems with these things

"Cue flood of comments explaining that they do, in fact, want one."

Okay, I'll bite.

Actually, I think everyone wants VR, they just want the Matrix or Caprica. The problem is, you don't get to that in one swell foop. I've played around with some of the HMDs that have come out to date and the FOV and price have been the death knell of every one. The market speak for all of them has been "It's like looking at X size screen from Y distance" which has always translated to "Here, strap this tiny monitor to your face and pretend it's immersive." The excuse has always been the motion sickness issues. Oculus and now, possibly, Sony are finally trying to deal with all these issues and maybe we'll finally move forward with this whole VR thing.

One thing though: Sorry, Sony. I really want VR but this ain't gonna get me to buy a PS4.

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Re: A few problems with these things

Quote: "a) The Occulus [sic] Rift isn't on sale in its final form so I fail to see how we can know what it will cost at retail. Realistically it's going to be at least $300 but more likely $500. And Sony have never been known for selling kit cheaply."

The new 1080p Oculus Rift Dev Kit v 2 can be pre-ordered for $350 (out in July). This is of course not mass manufactured with no large bulk purchases of screens etc.

Once the commercial version is launched, with bulk purchasing of components and mass manufacturing, then I don't see any reason why the targeted < $300 price tag cannot be achieved, they are almost there now!

I'd still like to know when the final version will ship, as I've got a few games, and some on the way, that would be really nice in VR (Elite Dangerous for example).

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@Vector

Yup, something like the Matrix might work, as it removes all that "wearing silly headgear and flailing about" business. Still not convinced that a move to totally immersive gaming is actually desireable, though.

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I'm sure that it'll hit the amazing highs that Sony achieved with 3D gaming on the PS3.

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I'm all for this stuff...

But the Oculus Rift DEVs need to get a product to market ASAP otherwise they will be swamped by the big boys.

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Re: I'm all for this stuff...

They could get into bed with Microsoft, or even Amazon (who are rumoured to be producing some games hardware right now).

It's happened before - the guys who did what eventually became Kinect survived up until this year (when Sony borged them).

Or, a better idea, enter a partnership with Logitec.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'm all for this stuff...

I would suspect Steam being a better bed partner, as many games for oculus are already available on steam, and others just need Linux support adding

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MJI
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Re: I'm all for this stuff...

Apple bought the Kinect team

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Re: I'm all for this stuff...

Good call. Apple it was.

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Re: I'm all for this stuff...

> others just need Linux support adding

Oh, is that all? I'm sure they can do that a spare five minutes /s

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Re: I'm all for this stuff... @ AC (where did the times go?!)

Quote: "I would suspect Steam being a better bed partner, as many games for oculus are already available on steam, and others just need Linux support adding"

I'm all for games running under Linux, and agree that a better partner would be Valve (I assume you mean Valve here, rather than Steam itself?)...

But what does "and others just need Linux support adding" have to do with adding support for Oculus Rift to a game?

Most Oculus Rift games will be Windows PC games, not Linux. Although that may change over time (i.e. in a few years time, assuming Steam on Linux takes off over the next year or so)

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Re: I'm all for this stuff...

They could get into bed with Microsoft

If Sony are producing this (and get it to market in a reasonable state - price, quality, etc), then MS will need to jump into bed with something - unless they're working on VR in secret.

Consumer in supermarket, 'Will I buy PS4 or Xbone?' Store clerk, 'Well PS4 has more future proofing with this cool 3D VR headset at only an extra $??.?? and has cool six axis whatever the heck that is... Xbone just spies on you in your underwear for the NSA, lols.'

As a committed non console consumer, if they threw one of these in with the PS4 I might just uncommit.

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MJI
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Re: I'm all for this stuff...

MS would just use them then close them, best fit for them would be Valve

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MJI
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Welcome to the real world

Was my first thoughts upon seeing the name.

Great film.

And it showed James Cameron how to do DVDs, fancy expecting a no extra, expensive, poor transfer (letterboxed), romantic film to sell better than a well priced, full of extras, anamorphic, sci fi film.

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Correction

It is a single 1920 x 1080 physical display used to present two images of 960 x 1080 each.

This is at the bottom end of acceptable resolutions, and could result in a noticeable "screen door" effect'. Also the suggest 60 fps is less than the 95 fps recommended by Valve.

It remains to be seen whether the use of an LCD display will allow them to achieve a sufficiently low persistence - Oculus Rift switched to AMOLED for that reason.

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Re: Correction

So the PS4 would output 3D in side-by-side mode and the Morpheus automatically accommodates this. I wonder if this means you could use the same device attached to any HDMI 3D output that can do side-by-side mode (given the specs, I wonder if the Morpheus attaches to an HDMI port)?

Perhaps not a game-changer, but it could be a way to get in on the ground floor and make 3D acceptance at least a little easier.

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JDX
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On the plus side

at least they're not trying to use KickStarter to pay for their R&D.

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Re: On the plus side

Isn't that kind of the point of most crowd funded campaigns? A small company asks for money to develop a product that they're hoping to sell, and backers are promised one of the first finished products, it's basically what Pebble did.

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Not an Oculus beater

Trouble is, it's PS4 only, and they will have to turn detail/resolution/texture/physics down to get 60fps in stereo on that platform. "Different optimisations" I think Sony euphamistically referred to what they'd be doing graphics wise.

The LCD screen will cause problems - Oculus went for OLED which made a massive difference.

Sony's effort looks technically slightly better than the Oculus DK1, about on a par with their HD model with added tracking. It's not as technically good as the Crystal Cove prototype which OVR has taken as a bare minimum - the spec for the consumer version is expected to be even higher.

Oculus have their event later today at GDC (18:00 UK time).

Here's Sony's press release for their VR headset along with the tech details:

http://scei.co.jp/corporate/release/140319_e.html

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Today's gaming rigs aren't powerful enough

Sony is probably dreaming if they think they can get a 2 x 1080p at 60fps on the PS4. And Valve are talking about 120fps being necessary for a good experience. And Oculus are talking about going to 1440p or higher resolutions.

I think that the first Oculus Rifts will run well on 2015's or later beast gaming rigs.

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Re: Today's gaming rigs aren't powerful enough

Actually, last I checked, the latest Occulus devices being shown match the Morpheus: 1920x1080 using 3D in side-by-side mode. So resolution-wise, the Occulus and the Morpheus are currently in the same boat.

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Match made in ....

Oculus Rift + RealTouch + Secondlife = death from dehydration.

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so no more gaming point in my brother-in-law's 55 inch 3D capable telly that the PS4 is plugged into?

This sort of technology could be very disruptive to the "Upgrade your Telly Every Tax Return" business model. Way too many people not playing games or watching TV with friends or family, and paired/multiple headsets would satisfy the gaming crowd.

For those who do not interact with the real world whilst imbibing their virtual entertainment, the need for uber screens will fade.

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I have a sneaking suspicion that the oculus rift low persistence technology will be licensed....

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I had a go on an Oculus Rift (running Eve Valkyrie) a couple of weeks ago.

Neither myself nor any of the other punters that I spoke to reported feelings of nausea .

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It depends on the type of scene you're watching, particularly in terms of travel (motion in gross that is not dependent on head motion--for example, going forward). If travel is limited and the head tracking is good, the brain can usually cope, and you don't suffer ill effects. OTOH, if your travel is significant and unusual (such as experiencing a first-person roller-coaster ride), the senses get mixed up. Your eyes say you're twisting and turning, but your ears (which carry organs that help the brain sense orientation) don't agree, saying you're still upright and motionless. As a TV show once put it, the senses are "not singing from the same song sheet." Then you're probably going to start feeling simulation sickness.

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Rhyming?

How in the world does Morpheus rhyme with Oculus? They're not even in the same ballpark!

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