Sony made a huge splash with the announcement that it was working on Project Morpheus, a full virtual reality headset for the PS4. Take that, Kinect! That said, it’s far from a done deal. Here are the five things you need to know about Project Morpheus, and whether you should be excited or a bit more reserved.
1. It’s Still A Work In Progress
Project Morpheus has undeniably impressed everyone from tech bloggers to the gaming press, but even Sony admits that the unit still needs some work. For example, there were multiple complaints that sweating in the unit fogged it up, making it a problem to actually play the prototype games Sony was offering. Sony is still working on getting Project Morpheus up to gamer spec.
2. It’ll Require More Than Just The Headset
This doesn’t appear to be a plug-and-play situation. You’ll not only need the Morpheus headset to experience the games, you’ll also need to use the PlayStation Eye camera, which was quietly introduced along with the PS4 last year as an accessory. That tracks your overall movement, whether you’re stepping back or crouching. And you’ll also need two Move handsets to stand in for your hands. Considering the controller offers Move technology on the PS4, that need might be elided somewhat in the actual product. Either way, that’s already a fairly expensive proposition, nearly as expensive as the PS4 itself.
3. Sony Will Have To Build The Games First
By all accounts, the games available, which are really more demos than anything else, were direct from Sony. Developers think Project Morpheus is a superb VR headset and possibly even the one that will finally bring VR into the home after decades of promise… but they’re not making games yet. Sony is going to have to develop video games to prove that Morpheus has an audience.
4. It Looks Fantastic
One thing that’s universally agreed on, however, is that Project Morpheus is a technological leap forward for commercial virtual reality. Sony’s demos, called The Deep and The Castle are absolutely beautiful, and up to the graphical standards you’d expect from modern gaming and 4K screens. No cheesy polygons here!
In fact, one of the common reactions to The Deep was that it felt like you were actually in the ocean, plunging into its depths. That in of itself might be a fairly good selling point, since most of us aren’t climbing into a diving bell any time soon.
5. It’s Not Clear When This Is Coming To Market
Finally, there’s the fact that, well, Sony’s being fairly tight-lipped about when we’ll get a crack at it. One thing not announced was the price for the headset, although most have it pegged at roughly $300 to $500 to be commercially viable. As for the release date, it seems likely that we’ll be seeing this, at the earliest, sometime in 2015. If we had to guess, we’d peg it for November 2015; Sony will want Christmas sales for this one.
Project Morpheus is undeniably stunning, but until we know a bit more about it, it makes sense to be on the virtual fence.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.