Sony reveals PS4 VR headset at GDC 2014

Sony's VR headset revealed

Sony has taken the wraps off its PS4 virtual reality headset at GDC 2014. Shuhei Yoshida wasted little time introducing what everyone had come to see at the "cryptic" Sony session.

The headset is called Project Morpheus, and it's destined for PS4. Yoshida said this is a prototype that's far from finished, and the company is looking for help from the developer community to "innovate with us."

Sony noted it thinks VR as a whole needs to hit six areas to succeed: sight, sound, tracking, control, ease of use and content. Sony marched through various products and services it already has that set the stage for a successful VR run. For example, its work with PlaySation Move gives it a leg-up when it comes to control (and you can bet Move is tightly integrated with Morpheus).

Project Morpheus is 3-plus years in the making, and Yoshida said that the headset is designed to "push the boundaries of play." Since it's a prototype, we weren't treated to a price or a consumer release date.

PS headset

Project Morpheus in the flesh

PS4 VR headset specs

The dev kit has a few key specs Sony called attention to. The display is 1080p and it has a 90-degree field of view. The Oculus Rift's field of view, by comparison, is approximately 110 degrees diagonally.

These sight specs aren't final, but are "at a stage we can share" with developers, said Sony's Anton Mikhailov. Tracking is based on PS Move, and the headset uses the same camera as the DualShock 4 and PS Move, Sony said. Both devices can be used to game with Morpheus.

It's equipped with positional head tracking, 1,000Hz refresh rate and enables full 360-degree movement.

The company is staying tight-lipped about its final spec projections. When asked about its frame rate, latency and a release date, Mikhailov replied, "highest frame rate we can get, lowest latency we can get and get out as soon as possible." He added, "for as low as we can get."

As for the name, Yoshida said Sony landed on it last week, which drew laughs from the crowd. Mikhailov elaborated that Morpheus comes from the god of dreams, and the hope is the headset produces another world akin to a dreaming.

VR realized

Yoshida gave a shout out to Oculus VR during his presentation, and said Sony was inspired by how developers responded to Oculus Rift to push virtual reality forward.

The big man at Sony himself acted as a guinea pig for the headset, and he showed a pair of slides in which he was wearing early version of the Project Morpheus. The first, from 2010, was equipped with a Project Move controller.


Shu takes one for the team

Sony said that it needs the support of the development community to realize the full potential of VR.

The company is already working with partners like Unity, Epic, and Havok to develop virtual reality content, and it plans to create a content development and delivery system similar to what it already has in place for PlayStation.

Sony's Anton Mikhailov explained that virtual reality could be used for more than just games, such as virtual tourism and interactive media. That being said, he admitted "games are still the best."

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.