Sony is “Not as Hardcore as the Oculus Guys” With Project Morpheus, Wants to Push the Standing Up Experience

March 4, 2015Written by Jason Dunning


Yesterday at the Game Developers Conference, Sony announced that Project Morpheus will be released in the first half of 2016, while also giving us some updated specs for the hardware.

Following the news, Sony Worldwide Studios President Shuhei Yoshida sat down with Wired, where he talked about how the version of Morpheus shown at the event is “near final” and the “guts are almost done.” The plan is to then send these prototypes to developers next month so they can start working on the platform.

One of the VR demos Sony brought to GDC, London Heist, is a cover-based first-person shooter where you duck behind a desk for cover, then pop up to shoot enemies. Using two PlayStation Move controllers as your hands to find bullets and put them in your gun, it’s clear certain Morpheus games will have you moving around quite a bit, whereas the Oculus Rift is aimed more towards a sitting experience.

Yoshida addressed this in the interview, explaining, “We are not as hardcore as the Oculus guys, saying that this is just a seated experience. We like the standing-up experience, so we want to push it.” He made sure to add that the amount of movement isn’t “to the level that will make your cord choke you.”

On the developer side of things, Shuhei says the process of getting a game on Morpheus is more simplified compared to how Sony restrained certain developers during the PS3 era, but he notes, “You can make a VR game that makes everyone sick in 20 seconds. I think we need to reintroduce a bit more game design-side conversation with developers, if they bring in something we feel is dangerous.”

One example of something that might be dangerous is Alien: Isolation’s use of the right analog stick in the Oculus demo to move the camera. Because of this, Sony may include a rating system on the PlayStation Store to warn of you of the intensity of a game.

In a separate interview with Gizmodo, Shuhei mentioned their goal of trying to make Morpheus available at a low price to consumers:

This is a console product so we like to provide our hardware at as low price as we can do. That approach is always consistent.

Elaborating on that point when speaking with Wired, he said they can’t go too low on the cost, as it could result in a poor product that turns people off virtual reality:

Trying VR for the first time is the worst time, because you are not familiar to the VR experience. So we really really want to make good hardware before we bring it to the market in large scale.

Elsewhere, Senior Director of R&D Richard Marks talked about how Morpheus will have good experiences at launch, but the truly great games will come later in its life cycle:

Morpheus with the new spec is really well matched to the PS4’s capabilities. It will have good experiences right off the bat, but like every console development, developers will find ways to make better use of it and they’ll really squeeze the most out to match that 120fps capability. Like most consoles, you’ll see some amazing experiences near the end of its life.

Sony will be bringing Project Morpheus to E3 2015 in June, offering the chance for more people to try it out.

If you missed the news yesterday, Sony also announced that PS4 sales have crossed 20.2 million worldwide.

[Source: Wired, Gizmodo via PSU]