Type Virtual reality headset
Manufacturer Sony Computer Entertainment
Platform PlayStation 4
Display Technology OLED
Resolution 1920×1080 px (960×1080 per eye)
Refresh Rate 120 Hz
Release Date 2016
PlayStation VR, previously known by the codename Project Morpheus, is an upcoming virtual reality headset produced by Sony Computer Entertainment. It is designed to be fully functional with the PlayStation 4 video game system. It is currently a prototype and has no confirmed release date, although Sony has scheduled its launch for the first half of 2016.
The prototype revealed at GDC’15 included an OLED 1920×1080 pixel display (providing 960×1080 px resolution per eye) with an RGB subpixel matrix, and is capable of displaying content at 120fps. It features a FOV of 100°, 6DOF head-tracking, stereoscopic 3D, and unwarped output to a TV, either for others to view what the headset wearer sees, or a separate display to compete against the headset user using a standard PS4 controller.
Sony’s interest in head-mounted technology dates back to the 1990s. Its first commercial unit, the Glasstron, was released in 1997. One application of this technology was in the game MechWarrior 2, which permitted users of the Glasstron or Virtual I/O’s iGlasses to adopt a visual perspective from inside the cockpit of the craft, using their own eyes as visual and seeing the battlefield through their craft’s own cockpit.
In early 2014, Sony Computer Entertainment research and development engineer Anton Mikhailov said his team had been working on Project Morpheus for more than three years. According to Mikhailov, the PlayStation 3 Move peripheral, itself revealed in June 2009, was designed with unspecified, future head-mounted technology in mind. “[W]e specced it and built it to be a VR controller, even though VR wasn’t a commodity. As engineers, we just said it was the right thing to do. […] At the time, we didn’t have a consumer-grade project that we could work on, but it was definitely designed with that vision in mind.” Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony’s worldwide studios, also said the project started as “grassroots” activity among engineers and programmers, which came into focus in 2010 once the Move controller had been released.
Project Morpheus was first announced at The 2014 Game Developers Conference. Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida introduced the device on March 18, 2014 and stated Project Morpheus was “the next innovation from PlayStation that will [shape] the future of games.”
On September 15, 2015, it was announced that Project Morpheus has been named PlayStation VR.
On October 8, 2015, Sony acquired SoftKinetic, a tech startup whose focus includes visual depth-sensing gesture recognition, for an undisclosed amount.
As of November 2, 2015, Sony has confirmed that they are still shooting for a release in the first half of 2016. While they have not released a specific price, many speculate that it will cost around the same price as a new gaming platform. For comparison, Sony announced the PlayStation 4’s $399 price tag five months before launch, with the official launch date in multiple regions announced three months ahead of time.
PlayStation VR is capable of rendering two separate displays simultaneously: one display for the headset and a completely different display for television. The purpose, Sony say, is to prevent VR from invariably being a solitary experience.
Japan Studio has made a new demo called Monster Escape. So that’s a five-player game; one versus four. One being the person wearing Morpheus [Playstation VR]. And if you’re in Morpheus, you become the Monster. And the four people holding the DualShock and looking at the TV and playing the game like a regular game [are] against the monster. … And actually, third-party devs were ahead of us in terms of making the game called Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes. … One person is wearing Morpheus and that person looks at the bomb, like a time bomb. And in order to stabilize it, the other person [watching the television] who is not wearing Morpheus, has an instruction manual. And that person has to tell the person wearing Morpheus how to do the job. But that person doesn’t see what the person wearing Morpheus sees. So they have to communicate. … So that’s a social experience.