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Appeared on: Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Sony Introduces "Project Morpheus" Virtual Reality Headset For PS4

Sony on Tuesday unveiled "Project Morpheus", a prototype for a new virtual reality headset accessory for its Playstation 4 games console, as it bids to further acceptance of the concept.

"At SCE we view innovation as an opportunity to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play," said Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios. "Project Morpheus is the latest example of innovation from SCE, and we're looking forward to its continued development and the games that will be created as development kits get into the hands of content creators."

The current prototype for Project Morpheus features a head mounted display with 1080p resolution and a 90 degree field of view. Accelerometer and gyroscope sensors built into the head mounted unit as well as PlayStation Camera tracks head orientation and movement, so as your head rotates, the image of the virtual world rotates in real-time. Project Morpheus also features a new 3D audio technology that re-creates stereoscopic sounds in all directions and changes in real-time depending on your head orientation. Furthermore, in supporting games, you will be able to use a PlayStation Move (PS Move) Motion Controller as an object, such as a sword. Morpheus will reproduce your hands and sword within the game.

Sony hopes that the prototype will serve as the first development kit for PS4 developers. Sony says the Morpheus dedicated SDK is currently under development and will become available when ready.

During the Game Developers Conference 2014, attendees can enjoy technology demo such as EVE Valkyrie (CCP), a multiplayer dogfighting shooter that uses virtual reality to give the player the sense of being a real pilot in an EVE Online spaceship, Thief (SQUARE ENIX Co., LTD.), which allows players to explore the dark shadowy world of the stealth action title, "The Castle" (SCE) that shows various VR interactions utilizing PS Move, and "The Deep" (SCE), where players can observe the waters from inside a shark proof cage.

The VR concept has been gaining momentum ever since startup Oculus VR showed off its first headset, the Rift, in 2012. The company demonstrated a more refined Oculus Rift prototype, codenamed Crystal Cove, earlier this year, with more contenders set to join the fray. Valve is working on similar VR technology of its own, and Microsoft has explored augmented reality glasses, known as Project Fortaleza, that would work with the Xbox One's Kinect sensor.

Sony had sold 6 million units of its Playstation 4 as of March 2, speeding ahead of its target of 5 million for the fiscal year to the end of this month. Rival Microsoft's Xbox One was released topped 3 million units at the end of last year.

Project Morpheus Protoype features

Component: Processor unit, head-mounted unit
Display Method: LCD
Panel Size: 5 inches
Panel Resolution: 1920xRGBx1080 (960xRGBx1080 per eye)
Field of View: 90 degrees
Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope
Connection interface: HDMI + USB
Function: 3D audio, Social Screen

Support For The Independent Development Community

Sony also today announced that it would further strengthen its support for the independent development community by introducing more tool and middleware solutions for the PlayStation 4.

SCE has entered into a partnership to bring native solutions from popular middleware vendor GameMaker:Studio from YoYo Games, and the company also announced that MonoGame would become available for the PS4 software title development. The company also announced that fully integrated solutions for Unity from Unity Technologies are now available for the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita systems, with the early access version for PS4 coming in April 2014.

Jointly developed by SCE and YoYo Games, a GameMaker:Studio native solution for PS4 is now available free for all SCE-licensed developers, making it even easier for developers to bring their 2D games to PS4 systems.

MonoGame makes up the C#-based open sourced engine suite available for licensed developers. MonoGame was first used in the development of indie darling Matt Makes Games' Towerfall: Ascension for PS4 and will also help to bring titles Mercenary Kings by Tribute Games and Transistor by Supergiant Games to PS4 in the upcoming months.

For more information about developing games for PlayStation platforms visit us.playstation.com/develop.

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