In a Wired report this morning, Shuhei Yoshida, president of Sony’s Worldwide Studios, let slip that Project Morpheus, Sony’s entry in the great VR race of 2015/2016, would go on sale for “several hundred dollars” in the first half of 2016. That is a frustratingly vague and dependent on the loose definition of what “several” means.
For example, the Oculus Rift DK2 sold for $US350, but Palmer Luckey has said that the Facebook acquisition would (hopefully) bring that price down even further. However, Oculus VR was also silent on how much its headset would cost during its press conference last week.
Luckily, Sony did speak in more specific figures when talking about games that were being developed for the system, saying that Morpheus had about 30 games currently in development — though not all of those would be launch titles.
So is this “several” in the way that “three’s a crowd?” Or would that be “a few” and “several” is like in the $US500 range and above? Who knows! But Wired]
Otherwise, there’s not much more than generalities being tossed around in support of its efforts. Sony has a strong background on optics, which should help with sight. It has some proprietary tech to help with presence. The PlayStation Camera handles the tracking by checking your position a thousand times a second, while PS Move can help with control. And Sony says Morpheus will be a plug-and-play experience, which is easy to say when you’re dealing with a prototype.
Sony also offered up some basic platitudes regarding its overall feelings about virtual reality; that it’s a medium unto itself, that it requires its own kind of game art, that it’s a social experience, that it can do more than games. It all sounds familiar, but in a good way; it would be all too typical of a megacorporation to take everything good about Oculus and turn it into something dead and stale. The dev kit even allows for mirroring the image onto a normal screen, so that multiple players can participate without needing their own headset. Sony appears to get it.
That extends to the more technical stuff too; low latency, renders that don’t get fuzzy, frame rates that are worth a damn. These are the right things to focus on. It’s got a 1080p display, a 90-degree field of view, and will work with people who wear glasses. Sony’s clearly got its priorities in the right place — as long as they actually pull it off.
And that speaks to big honking warning sign with Morpheus. A sleek futuristic ski mask with blue glowing lights smells distinctly of vaporware — especially one that needs to be connected by a five-meter wire to the console. And even if Morpheus does come to fruition, is it a compelling enough alternative to Kinect’s seamless integration into your living room life? PS4 with Morpheus funnels you ever deeper into the gaming ecosystem, while Kinect pushes out into other aspects of your life.
It’s one thing to be able to create a Project Morpheus, even with every expectation of success. It’s another to offer it for a price (that HMZ-T1? $US800) that makes it appealing, with games and apps that people want to play and use, in a way that makes it a viable product over the long haul.
Image credit: Sony