Sony unveiled a new virtual reality headset prototype called "Project Morpheus" this week at the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a move that signals massive competition and development of virtual reality for consumers.
According to Forbes, the new prototype
for the PlayStation 4 promises to be at least as big in the video game world as motion controls were with the launch of the Nintendo Wii, Xbox Kinect, and PlayStation Move.
"Nothing delivers a feeling of immersion better than VR," Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony Worldwide Studios, said Tuesday at the conference. "VR has been a dream of many gamers since the computer was invented. Many of us at PlayStation have dreamed of VR and what it could mean to the gaming community."
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The announcement comes roughly two years after the demonstration of the very similar "Oculus Rift" virtual reality headset at the E3 conference. The company, Oculus VR, has raised over $93 million to develop a consumer version of their product
, which is due out in 2014 or 2015.
Digital video game distributor Valve Corporation is also said to be working on their own headset that "might be better than the 'Oculus Rift,'" according to The Verge
Getting down to the specs, the Morpheus headset employs a 1080p LCD screen, gives users a 90 degree field of vision, and will integrate with the PlayStation Camera for tracking and PlayStation Move for motion control. It also has stereoscopic sound to immerse gamers in whatever worlds developers create.
Richard Marks of Sony Magic Lab joined Yoshida on stage to assist in the presentation, identifying six areas Sony is working on in creating the perfect VR experience: sight, sound, tracking, control, ease of use, and content.
"The thing that makes VR special is really the feeling of being in another place . . . there's no way to explain it to you that will make sense, but it's that feeling of presence," he said. "VR is going to be pervasive, and what I mean by that is it's going to be used for all sorts of things you might not think it would be used for."
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