The Virtual Reality race just got interesting. Like, really interesting, with the release of Sony’s ‘Project Morpheus’ prototype. Set for an early 2016 launch, the upgraded headset was revealed at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
First, let’s talk details.
Complete with a larger screen, higher resolution and an enhanced field of view, the ‘Project Morpheus’ has developed into a ‘nearly market-ready’ product. Aside from the spec advancements, Sony also announced a new feature called ‘Social Screen’ which lets users share their headset gameplay via a TV for others to enjoy. This feature, not too dissimilar to the rollout of social features accompanying the PS4’s launch, is an attempt to enable a more living-room friendly experience.
Okay, it’s still very much ‘Robocop’, but the latest design is both modern and beautiful. The new prototype is undeniably sleeker, boasting a single head-strap and quick release button for slick changes between virtual-immersion and the real world.
So, where does this put Sony in the Virtual Reality race?
Its most notable competitor is the ‘Oculus Rift’, which Facebook acquired in 2014. Though advancements have been made, ‘Oculus’ remains a largely passive experience with little to no engagement available in early demos.
‘Project Morpheus’ is certainly the most interactive VR offering yet, with three fully immersive demos. One of which, ‘London Heist’, is a first-person shooting game in which you duck behind desks, pop up to shoot, and use PlayStation Move controllers to reload.
In addition to this latest release of product features, ‘Project Morpheus’ has one other, rather large advantage against its competitors — An ecosystem.
The existing PlayStation Network is a key component in Sony’s battle for VR superiority. Integrating seamlessly with PS4 games, controllers and its store could prove to be the determining factor in reaching critical mass. In fact, Sony stated that the device wouldn’t launch until there’s a big enough library of games — lesson learnt from PlayStation Move, then.
We’ve definitely got a long way to go before we’re all donning a headset and commando rolling around the lounge, but for Virtual Reality gamers, the future might just look like ‘Project Morpheus’.