JAPANESE GAMES CONSOLE MAKER Sony has unveiled Project Morpheus, a virtual reality (VR) headset for the Playstation 4 (PS4) games console.
Announced at the Games Developer Conference (GDC) in San Francisco on Tuesday, the Project Morpheus system offers a 5in LCD panel with 1920x1080 resolution that yields 960x1080 pixels per eye with a 90 degree field of view.
There's also a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope hooked up to the console via HDMI and USB, which suggests that it will not be wireless.
"Morpheus enables developers to create experiences that deliver a sense of presence - where players feel as though they are physically inside the virtual world of a game," Sony said. "Presence is like a window into another world that heightens the emotions gamers experience as they play."
Morpheus features a visor style head-mounted display and works with the Playstation Camera and built-in sensors to ensure that as you move your head, the game world you're seeing moves the same way.
"Inertial sensors built into the head mount unit and Playstation Camera accurately track head orientation and movement so as the player's head rotates, the image of the virtual world rotates naturally and intuitively in real-time," Sony added.
In supporting games, the player will also be able to use the Playstation Move Motion Controller as an object, like a sword or a torch, with Morpheus reproducing the player's hands within the game.
But it's not just a visual experience. Morpheus also supports 3D audio technology, re-creating stereoscopic sounds heard from below and above the players to make the 3D gaming world more realistic, such as footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or engine noises of helicopters flying overhead, Sony said. The sounds that players hear will change in real time depending on their head orientation, "creating a highly realistic audio environment within an immersive 360-degree virtual world".
Sony said it will continue development of Morpheus "looking towards a future commercial launch", but it didn't even hint at any release date. The firm is now looking to developers to help create content for the VR gaming headset, but said that the Morpheus dedicated software development kit (SDK) is still "under development", so it might be a long time before we actually see it on shop shelves. µ
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