Sony plans to launch Project Morpheus, the virtual reality headset powered by PlayStation hardware, sometime during the first half of 2016 (which is pretty much what we’ve expected for VR’s consumer availability). Confirmation comes from a PlayStation Blog post penned by SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida that also runs down some of the headset’s key technical specifications.
The latest Morpheus prototype sports a 5.7-inch OLED display (1920 x 1080 resolution), a 120 Hz refresh rate, a low latency of less than 18ms, improved tracking enabled by the addition of three new LEDs (a total of nine), and an overall redesign of the straps and other components, for a better, more comfortable fit. The specs all mark improvements over the original Morpheus headset that was revealed in 2014; it should be noted that any of these details could change prior to the 2016 launch.
Sony’s first look at Morpheus came during the 2014 Game Developer’s Conference, so it’s no surprise that news of these revised specs and a release window arrives as the 2015 show kicks off. We were impressed by that initial offering, which felt about even with Oculus VR’s own efforts with the Rift headset at the time. It was immediately clear that Sony takes the growing interest in VR experiences seriously.
Many questions remain to be answered before Morpheus arrives next year. Price is likely the biggest; the cost of currently offered developer kits from other manufacturers tends to hover inside the $200 to $400 range. As much as VR drips with the promise of living out a science fiction future, it’s still best viewed as a peripheral that connects to or requires other hardware. The $200 to $400 range feels like the sweet spot as the tech currently stands, though that could change as the hardware improves and input methods are figured out.
For Morpheus specifically, we’re expecting input options to include both the DualShock 4 controller and Sony’s Move motion controllers, which look more and more like they probably arrived a few years too early when they launched for PlayStation 3 in 2010. There’s no word yet on what types of games Morpheus will support, but with many months to go before the first half of 2016 concludes — plus E3 and other major gaming trade shows looming on the summer 2015 horizon — expect to hear plenty more soon.