At E3 2014 we finally got the chance to go hands-on with Sony’s new VR headset, Project Morpheus. However, while the tech itself is certainly progressing along nicely, the tech demos we saw firmly established that Morpheus is still very much a work in progress. Much like the Oculus Rift, there are certain steps involved with getting a VR headset to the point its both palatable to the consumer and worthy of what could be a hefty price tag, and Sony is well aware of that.
Speaking with Polygon, Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida revealed the two things that must happen in order for Project Morpheus to become a reality. That isn’t to say, if these things don’t happen that VR will be dead, but rather this is what Sony needs to see from their product and from the market before they decide to pull the trigger and eventually roll Project Morpheus out to consumers.
First, Project Morpheus needs quality VR content to supports its platform. As Yoshida explains, tech demos like those on display at E3 2014 are great, but they don’t truly exemplify what makes Morpheus a worthwhile proposition. A sense of presence, for example, is one of the key qualities he hopes to see in future VR games.
“You really need to be able to feel that you are standing on the edge of a cliff. Tech-wise, there are a few things we want to include to really nail it from a hardware and system software standpoint.”
As far as the hardware is concerned, Yoshida believes there is still a lot of room for improvement. He wants to take Project Morpheus from a “good” system to a great one.
How exactly Sony might achieve such a goal isn’t entirely clear, but games will play a factor. It is up to developers to craft experiences that leverage VR in such a way that the technology is seen as essential, not a gimmick. Yoshida sees many of the “games” available for Morpheus testing as location-based entertainment more than games.
“In terms of game design you experience today (on Project Morpheus), it’s more like designing location-based entertainment than games, like a theme park. So, it requires lots of new ways of thinking from both tech and design standpoint. So, until this happens, until we have enough developers very comfortable producing great experiences, we shouldn’t bring this to the market.”
Our time with Project Morpheus revealed a VR headset with a ton of promise, but plenty of room for improvement. The design of the headset is sleek and accommodating, and works as well as one could hope, but we’ve only seen how it deals with those simple experiences that Yoshida was talking about.
Adam Boyes put it best to Polygon when he said that Sony is “going on a journey” with Project Morpheus. Nothing is written in stone (price point, release date, etc.) and a lot of the success of the headset relies on a symbiotic relationship with developers and consumers. If developers support it and consumers show interest in it, then Sony will make sure Project Morpheus is fit to take to market.
What would you like to see from Project Morpheus in the future? Is the VR headset something you are thinking about buying?
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