Almost a year ago, Sony threw its hat in the VR ring with the announcement of Project Morpheus. Since then, it's received a few improvements, such as replacing the original 5-inch LED screen with a 5.7-inch OLED screen. The new screen has a total resolution of 1920 x 1080 which means that each eye gets half that resolution.
Other upgrades include increasing the total refresh rate from 60 Hz to 120 Hz and adding three LEDs to the headset (for a total of nine), which the company said would make "positional tracking more accurate with the PlayStation Camera." Last week at GDC, the company also said that it would go on sale in the first half of 2016.
Fresh off this news, I met with Sony on the last day of GDC to try Morpheus for the first time. Due to the time constraints, I was only able to play one demo with Morpheus, but it was a good indicator of things to come for Sony's headset.
Of all the VR headsets I tried at GDC, Morpheus was by far the easiest to configure for comfort. A small button below the headset changes the lens distance, while a small wheel in the headstrap can change the tightness around your head. The other demo in the meeting used the DualShock 4 controller, but my demo, called The London Heist, utilized the PlayStation Move controllers in the same way that the HTC Vive used its own controllers for those demos.
I started the demo sitting in a chair, just like my character in the demo who was being interrogated by a British thug. He then received a call on his phone and ordered me to stand up, and he handed the phone to me. By pulling the trigger button, I could grab the phone with my "hand" and listen to the conversation via speaker.
The next was a flashback in which I was behind a desk and tried to find a key in one of some small cabinets to open a locked door on the desk. I used the triggers on both controllers to grab the doorknobs and pulled to open the door. When I found the key, I used the trigger to grab it, put it in the slot, and turned the controller as if I was turning the key. Inside was a large diamond, the prize of the heist.
The next bit was probably the most exciting part of the demo. Security guards entered the room and noticed something suspicious. I then opened a drawer that contained a gun and some clips. Again, I used the trigger to grab the gun with my right hand and loaded it with the clip using my left.
I used the desk as cover by crouching down in real life. For some reason, I didn't have to hold the trigger to keep the gun in my hand. At this point I just used the trigger to shoot the gun. Dodging bullet fire and peeking out from cover was really fun. The demos on the HTC Vive were really interesting, but none were as intense as this Morpheus demo. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to survive the onslaught, and I eventually died.
In the end I was very impressed with Morpheus. The latency was barely noticeable, and I had no issues with the entire experience save for the headphones provided by Sony, which felt a little uncomfortable and almost fell off a few times.
Sony plans to announce some of the few titles coming to Morpheus at E3 later this year, so it will be interesting to see what other developers have planned for the VR headset. The PlayStation Move hasn't been a successful product, but pairing it with Morpheus could make it a must-have accessory for the VR headset. Regardless, The London Heist is a good indicator not only that Morpheus works, but works well.
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