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Digital Foundry: Hands-on with Sony's near-final Project Morpheus

 

Key changes:

 

OLED display: In exchange for the 5 inch LCD, the new Morpheus VR headset is equipped with a 5.7 inch 1920 X RGB X 1080 resolution OLED display. This new screen expands the field of view and enables low persistence, removing motion blur.

 

120hz refresh rate: The previous refresh rate spec has been doubled for this new prototype, which means games for Morpheus can be rendered at 120fps. When combined with the OLED display’s high refresh rate and the power of PS4, Morpheus is able to output amazingly smooth visuals.

 

Super low latency: We know how critical low latency is to delivering a great VR experience, and we’ve reduced latency to less than 18ms, about half of what the first Morpheus prototype had. Low latency is critical to deliver a sense of presence, at the same time making the VR experience comfortable to players.

 

More accurate tracking: To make positional tracking more precise, we’ve added three LEDs to the headset – one on the front and two on the side – for a total of nine LEDs to support robust 360 degree tracking.

 

User-friendly design: We’ve made the Morpheus VR headset easier to put on and take off, with a single band design and quick release button. The headband supports the weight of the unit on the top of your head, so there is no pressure on your face. Other components have also been adjusted and configured to make the headset lighter, so that players do not find the headset cumbersome or uncomfortable to use.

 

16500797887_2cb9727799_z.jpg

 

No Man's Sky compatibility is all I'm waiting for.

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Looks fantastic, Kotaku penned this as the best VR headset yet.

 

Buuuuuut I think it will really be limited by the PS4.

 

Not the hardware capabilities, but the fact that PC based VR can play anything, all kinds of mini-apps, homebrew stuff etc.. People are already plugging OR into existing games and doing amazing things, like that

.

 

Morpheus will be much more inaccessible to devs and consumers and as such software will be limited.

 

Unless people find a way of plugging it into a PC....

Edited by Shorty

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While I think it will be fine on the PS4 if they can get games like No Man's Sky, The Witness and (my new favourite future game ever) Firewatch to work on it, it would be MADNESS if the device didn't also work on PC.

 

Although, there is something to say for the fact that this thing should just run, no problem, with a PS4. That's going to be much more accessible to the general public than Oculus and the other one. At least for now.But still, madness without PC compatibility.

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...No Man's Sky compatibility is all I'm waiting for.

 

This right here!

 

One of my brother's mates had a modded Metroid Prime running on his PC with Oculus Rift, he said "it made me want to mess my pants"!

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Although, there is something to say for the fact that this thing should just run, no problem, with a PS4. That's going to be much more accessible to the general public than Oculus and the other one. At least for now.But still, madness without PC compatibility.

It would definitely still be an amazing device, but if I could only afford one, it would probably be one with PC compatibility. Otherwise it would be like... a rooted stock Android device vs. a Jailed iPhone. Sure it works great out the box, it's shiny and support for it is brilliant - but everyone else is having fun playing classic PC games or chilling in VR cinemas with their friends and I'm stuck with this short list of Sony Approved Morpheus games. Yeah, I forgot my analogy half-way through there, but you get the idea.

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HTC Vive sounds even better than Morpheus :D

 

The VR race is well and truly on.

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Polygon try out the retail version of the Playstation VR.

 

The final retail version of the PlayStation VR headset — codenamed Project Morpheus — will plug into a sizable black box before plugging into the PlayStation 4.

 

While PlayStation officials have discussed the need for the VR headset's processing box, it wasn't clear what form it would finally take.

 

I got a chance to check out the retail version of the headset during a demo of the VirZoom bike earlier this month. I wasn't allowed to take any pictures or ask the VirZoom developers any questions about it, other then to confirm it was the final retail version, not a dev kit. But I was allowed to examine it closely and try it on.

 

As we learned earlier this year, the PlayStation VR headset doesn't plug directly into the PlayStation 4. Instead, it plugs into a processing box, which in turn plugs into the PlayStation 4. This allows people to use the TV and PS4 to interact with, or just watch, the person playing their VR game.

 

The black box looked a bit smaller than a Wii and is used to process the VR graphics and sort out the second-screen social experience on the television.

 

The headset itself felt refined in a way that only a company like Sony can deliver. Everything felt comfortable, futuristic, neatly designed, from the way the headset slipped onto your head and tightened with a dial built into the back of the headband, to the ability to pull the 5.7-inch OLED display away from or against your face while playing.

 

It is, to date, the most comfortable VR headset I've tried on, a list which includes both Oculus and Vive. It feels like a device designed to be treated like a game controller or a remote; something that you can pick up and put on with out much fuss.

 

Project Morpheus was announced at the 2014 Game Developers Conference and made appearances at a number of other conferences as development on the device continued. This September, Sony changed the name of the device to PlayStation VR and confirmed that it would be coming out in the first half of 2016.

 

A number of games were announced for the device during the PlayStation Experience earlier this month.

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The headset itself felt refined in a way that only a company like Sony can deliver. Everything felt comfortable, futuristic, neatly designed, from the way the headset slipped onto your head and tightened with a dial built into the back of the headband, to the ability to pull the 5.7-inch OLED display away from or against your face while playing.

 

As someone who tried the headset last year I can 100% agree with that. Not sure if Sony made changes to the design in the past months, but the build I had on my head was impressive in every aspect. : peace:

 

Really hoping the price won't be too high...not sure if I can spend more than 200€ on it...

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As someone who tried the headset last year I can 100% agree with that. Not sure if Sony made changes to the design in the past months, but the build I had on my head was impressive in every aspect. : peace:

 

Really hoping the price won't be too high...not sure if I can spend more than 200€ on it...

 

I think they've said it will pretty much cost the same as a new system so I would expect around there, maybe a bit higher.

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I think they've said it will pretty much cost the same as a new system so I would expect around there, maybe a bit higher.

 

:( Well, there goes any chance of me getting this in the next few years, then...

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Interesting bit about the processing box. I wonder how much it can really help with framerate and such. I also wonder about the cost, Oculus and the like are essentially just display devices so this will probably put Playstation VR at a bit of a disadvantage. I guess we shall see.

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I intend to buy A virtual reality headset, I just don't know which one yet. Going to wait until most of the big guns are released and see which ones look good first.

 

I wouldn't mind paying £300-400 for one, seeing as I would have to buy a new computer to run the Oculus anyway.

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I've used OR and Vive, but not PS VR. I've got to be honest, the latter being on a closed system is a huge turn-off.

 

With PC based VR, the possibilities are immense. As soon as OR dev kits were out there were some amazing home-brew experiences to be had. Tonnes of existing PC games have been or can be modded to work in VR. Games like Skyrim/Fallout, GTA V, Half Life 2, Elite Dangerous....

 

Vive was the best experience visually, and can do everything OR can do and much more. Right now I can't see a reason to go for anything else. The only thing you'll miss out on if you can't afford more than one is PlayStation exclusives, but I think there's a serious possibility that PS VR will go the same way as Vita and Move....

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It being a closed system is actually what appeals to me. It's plug and play. Would I like a high-end PC and another headset? Sure. But I don't want to spend that kind of money and I can't be arsed faffing around. I get the appeal, but it's not for me.

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The Vive doesn't actually require a beastly PC. I asked the rep about the one I used, which looked amazing and ran perfectly smoothly, he said their machines were using a single GTX 970. Yeah they're still £225+ but a long way from "high end".

 

Upgrading my existing PC and adding a Vive should cost less than the PS VR. However, a room to use it to its full potential might be another story....

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Yeah, but that itch about upgrading...it would break me. It's part of why I don't game on PC; I'm lazy. A fixed-point plug-n-play headset is ideal for me personally. Part of me does wish I could dive right in to PC VR and really toy with it but just not enough of me. Luckily my brother is a big PC gamer and he's got an Oculus dev kit (I think the second one but I'm not 100%) and he'll definitely upgrade, so I'll definitely give it a go when I can.

 

It's all pretty exciting and honestly, I think both approaches will benefit each other.

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I've ordered myself a Samsung Gear VR this morning to go with my Galaxy S6 Edge. Really looking forward to giving it a try over Christmas. I expect I'll still get the Playstation VR when it comes out but the Gear VR being such a low price in comparison and me already having a Galaxy phone I figured why not.

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I know this is just the excitement over new technology talking but at the moment I'm feeling the need to watch all my Netflix and Youtube etc through VR now and dont want to go back to the boring normal way! I'm absolutely loving my Gear VR.

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I know this is just the excitement over new technology talking but at the moment I'm feeling the need to watch all my Netflix and Youtube etc through VR now and dont want to go back to the boring normal way! I'm absolutely loving my Gear VR.

 

Tell us more!!

 

Why do you prefer watching tv / film on it? how good is the quality? does it make you feel ill? Are all occulus compatible games compatible with it? How have you found it for gaming in general? (/ is it even made for gaming? i know zero about samsung vr). And a million other questions!!

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The quality is an odd one. You can still see the pixels on the phone but only really if you start focusing on them. Watching tv/movies tends to be on a big screen infront of you so it just feels like you are in a normal room and you stop noticing the fact that its VR. One of my favourite things is the fact that using the Oculus Cinema you can change where you are viewing content so it can be a full on cinema screen surrounded by seats, a home cinema, on the moon, shrunk down to ant size watching on a phone or just in a black void. Its the little stuff that really makes it though, like sitting in the cinema and looking around at the seats and seeing the colours actually changing from the light being produced from the movie, just like it would in a real cinema.

 

I havent managed to try any games yet really, its mostly just been the video and 360 "experience" stuff at the moment but I'm gonna get myself a cheap controller that I can use and really start testing them out.

 

I havent felt ill once yet, we'll see if that changes though when I play some games. Closest I got was looking down over a rope bridge lol.

 

It uses the Oculus store so its compatible with all the stuff on there plus you can side load tons of other apps/games apparently. The Gear VR isnt one that connects to a PC though as it runs through Samsung phones so I wont be playing any big games through it.

 

Feel free to ask away, I'm loving messing around with it and talking about it.

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