Project Morpheus PS4 VR Headset Will Be Affordable, Have Indie Game Support, Says Sony
The price of virtual reality is one of the many hurdles that has prevented it from becoming a mainstream consumer product, but it appears that the price of components and the quality of the technology has finally risen to a place where it's possible. The current developer kit of the Oculus Rift runs you a mere $350 and Sony's Project Morpheus, announced last month at the GDC, would have to be priced competitively in order to be taken seriously, especially when paired with the $400 price tag of the PS4.
In an interview with EDGE magazine, software engineer Anton Mikhailov talked about the potential of the gadget and reassured us about the launch price. "We wouldn't be doing this if we didn't know that we could make this for an affordable price," said Mikhailov. "Obviously, there's a wide range of what people consider affordable, but this is going to be a consumer-grade device. The reason that we're announcing this now is because before we couldn't see a path to product, and now we can see some way to accomplish a product that's valuable for the console market."
Of course it's still too early to guess at a price or launch date just yet. The final version of the headset hasn't even been revealed yet, and that picture at the top is the prototype. Hell, the name isn't even set yet- Project Morpheus is the codename.
One interesting fact learned from the interview is the confirmation that the Playstation Move was always designed to be used as a VR controller.
"Effectively Move is a VR wand in disguise as a motion controller," says Mikhailov. "So we specced it and built it to be a VR controller, even though VR wasn't a commodity. As engineers, we just said it was the right thing to do. If you look online, a lot of universities use it as a VR device using move.me for PS3 - an application for scientists who use the Move tracking hardware. At the time, we didn't have a consumer-grade project that we could work on, but it was definitely designed with that vision in mind."
One headset, two Moves, a PS4- this is getting pricey! Fortunately they're promising that the games are going to be there, and are hoping indie developers are as excited about it as they are.
"I think the excitement of being the pioneer in the field is going to draw a lot of people in," says Mikhailov. "Maybe [fewer] of the bigger publishers, at least at first, but I think the indies will be excited. And we've been very indie-friendly at PlayStation lately. It's not by accident."
Renegade Kid's Cult Country might be first in line. In the game's Kickstarter they've recently announced that they are getting their hands on a dev kit in order to utilize it with Cult Country, which would make it the first game to officially support the headset. Renegade Kid are the folks behind the cult hit Dementium and Cult Country is going to be a first-person survival horror game, a type of game that's proving the perfect match for virtual reality. It's one thing to turn your character around to find some nightmare behind you and quite another to have to actually look around yoursef...
Expect much more news on Project Morpheus in the upcoming months as virtual reality continues to take over our own.