Sony Introduces Morpheus VR Headset, Pushes Us All One Step Closer to Living In a Cronenbergian Reality
“You’ll forgive me if I don’t stay around to watch. I just can’t cope with the freaky stuff.”
Those were Barry Convex’s last words to Max Renn before leaving him alone with a giant, pulsing headset wrapped around his skull; a device that would send Renn further down the rabbit hole of distorted reality that is David Cronenberg’s Videodrome. During their 2014 Game Developers Conference presentation, PlayStation head Shuhei Yoshida presented a Virtual Reality prototype for “Project Morpheus”, a head-mounted display featuring a white visor with a black wrap-around piece along the eye-line that will transform anyone who wears it into James Woods.
I’m kidding, of course (though I have to admit to being somewhat freaked out by a Virtual Reality machine that shares a name with a fictional character who eventually has to lead a rebellion against a ruling class of robots). At the conference, Yoshida illustrated how he believed that VR could very well “shape the future of games”, while Dr. Richard Marks, PlayStation research and development, explained that the headset’s capabilities will stretch beyond simple gaming. Currently, Marks has partnered with NASA and is working on a virtual walk on the surface of Mars, which all sounds well and good, but I’m still holding out for the headset that allows me to bump dirty parts with Sandra Bullock in Demolition Man.
Sony believes the six principles of VR focus on sight, sound, tracking, control, ease of use, and content. Marks implied that Sony might have an advantage in developing such a technology, as the company already possesses an expertise in high-def displays and audio. Tracking for the Morpheus can be handled by PlayStation Move technology, as well as with the PlayStation Camera. For control, Morpheus will utilize the DualShock 4’s sensors and glowing light. Sony’s end goal is for Morpheus to be incredibly easy to use (as opposed to their opponents’ technology, which will be “as difficult as navigating through Hades”*), with the headset able to simply be slipped on and begin working immediately.
The prototype will be available for developers to begin creating games soon, and Sony indicated that Epic Games and Crytek are already committed to taking a crack at developing for the unit. As for currently compatible games, Sony displayed an undersea adventure demo from Sony London called The Deep, in addition to announcing Morpheus compatibility for Thief and EVE Valkyrie.
No word on whether or not Cronenberg is currently sitting in some random Toronto coffee shop, reading the news on the Internet and screaming “CALLED IT!”
*Quote unattributed and, more than likely, invented completely.