Thu, Mar 20, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Sony unveils PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset

AP, SAN FRANCISCO

Sony is getting into the virtual reality business.

The Japanese electronics and gaming giant unveiled a prototype virtual reality headset to be used in conjunction with its PlayStation 4 video game console during a talk on Tuesday at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida showed off the slick black-and-white headset at the annual gathering of game designers.

He said that Sony has been working on the technology for more than three years.

The adjustable device is codenamed Project Morpheus and features a head-mounted display with 1080p resolution and a 90-degree field of view. Sensors built into the headset can track a wearer’s head movement in concert with a PS4 camera.

Project Morpheus software engineer Anton Mikhailov said the current version of the technology must be attached to a PS4 console with a cord that is about 4.5m long, and users’ virtual perspectives can be simultaneously broadcast on a television screen.

“The experience can be shared, and that’s only going to allow it to spread,” Mikhailov said.

Mikhailov said users will be able to interact with the virtual world displayed on the headset with the gesture-detecting PlayStation Move controller, as well as the standard DualShock 4.

He declined to specify when the headset would be released or how much it would cost.

Project Morpheus was available for demonstration beginning yesterday for conference attendees on the conference’s expo floor with four games: diving cage simulator The Deep, combat game The Castle, sci-fi dogfighter EVE: Valkyrie and a VR rendition of the action-adventure title Thief.

While Sony Corp has released other head-mounted display units, Project Morpheus marks the company’s first foray into VR with PlayStation.

Sony’s headset is similar to the Oculus Rift, a VR device currently in development by the Irvine, California-based startup Oculus VR.

Both devices use head tracking to reduce queasiness when users peek around a virtual landscape, and they look more like ski googles than the bulky gaming helmets of the 1990s that usually left users with headaches.

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