Project Morpheus has been designed to work with the powerful PlayStation 4 to provide an immersive VR gaming experience where you put on the headset and lose yourself in a virtual world. Sony is calling the anticipated experience "presence," which is the feeling that you are actually physically present in the game world.
According to the developers of Project Morpheus, some of the key elements to creating presence are low latency, high frame rate, good calibration, believable or consistent scale of game objects, clean image rendering and realistic 3D audio. Low latency and high frame rate are also keys to avoiding motion sickness. It also helps if there are contact points within the game that match the position of your actual hands, say on a steering wheel or other specialized controller or attachment like the PlayStation Move. With the right game and right implement, you could feel like you are actually swinging a sword or steering a car.
The breakout box can be connected to your television to display the image that the headset user's left eye is seeing so that others can watch the gameplay. There's even the possibility of non-headset users playing against the person with the headset, although at present only the headset-wearer's view is possible on the TV screen. Players may also be able to interact with the headset wearer through the PlayStation phone app or the PlayStation Vita portable device.
Even though Project Morpheus is a gaming console peripheral, the company hopes that it will be used for other things like shopping or visiting museums or other parts of the world -- even beyond. They have already worked with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) on a Mars demo using real footage captured by the Curiosity rover.
Sony is working on game engines, development tools and a VR distribution channel. They are partnering with lots of third-party companies for developing content and other necessary software. Some partners include Unity, Havok, Gigantic, Autodesk Gameware Scaleform, DDD, Epic Games, Silicon Studio, CRI Middleware, Bitsquid, Crytek and FMOD. The Project Morpheus team is also particularly keen to work with indie game developers because they can create new and innovative experiences without having to wait for approval from a corporate entity.
Even though the device isn't out yet, a few games or partial game experiences have been demonstrated with the headset, including the following:
- "The Deep" -- a partial demo game created by Sony's London Studio where the player is lowered into the ocean in a diving cage to view, and sometimes battle, sea life.
- "Thief" -- a non-game build of the sections of the game "Thief" that allows the player to explore the "Thief" universe.
- "The Castle" -- a medieval game where the player uses two Move controllers to grab various weapons to beat, mangle or otherwise manipulate a dummy.
- "EVE: Valkyrie" -- a spaceship dog-fighting game made specifically for VR by CCP, creators of the popular online game "EVE."