Sony’s Project Morpheus Brings Virtual Reality to PlayStation 4

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Virtual reality video games may be the future of gaming based on the headset prototypes coming out for game developers as seen at this year’s Game Developers Conference.

Sony (NYSE:SNE) recently unveiled its Project Morpheus, a virtual reality headset designed to be used in conjunction with the PlayStation 4, a DualShock controller, and other PlayStation accessories to create the immersive experience of a virtual reality game that encouraged lots of motion.

Sony has been working on the technology for more than three years before officially announcing it at the Game Developers Conference this week. Participants at the conference got to take the headset for a test run with demo games developed for the device.

Sony’s President of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, presented the new technology at the GDC conference. He said that the controller is designed to work in sync with other PlayStation 4 accessories. ”We believe Morpheus will further enhance the world of PlayStation 4 with seamless integration with PlayStation Camera, DualShock 4, and PS Move,” said Yoshida.

Reporter Ben Gilbert of Engadget attended the conference and got to try the new controller. He tried out the Project Morpheus headset and reviewed the experience in a recent article. Gilbert had a generally favorable opinion of the device. “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!”

Beyond the San Francisco-based conference, the prototype controller will soon be available to developers so that they can develop the virtual worlds that will fill the screens of the headsets. Sony had two demos for participants, but with the prototype becoming available to developers the stage is set for a new generation of games that could use this newly available technology.

Virtual reality is not a new technology, the concept is about a half-century old. It is used for military and astronaut training in the form of flight simulators. It is also used in theme parks. But, bringing the technology to the home gamer is a step beyond the occasional arcade headset or simulation at Disney World. Also, Sony is not the only company looking to expand into the virtual reality market.

Oculus VR, a start-up company with the mission is to create virtual reality technology that will be “wearable and affordable,” has introduced the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset designed for PC gaming was also up for participant tryouts at the conference. It also was featured at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The funding for the prototype came from a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $2.4 million for the company.

Many gamers and reporters are starting to compare the two, with Oculus often receiving higher praise than Sony’s Project Morpheus, which was introduced later than the Oculus Rift, setting it up for comparison. From conference to developer-ready prototype to eventually the marketplace, virtual reality may be the next Kinect for gamers.

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