Imagine you’re mid-heist in Grand Theft Auto V. You plow your Peyote past a barricade, into a questionable Liberty City river. Suddenly, the water is all around you. You move your head left and right, but you can’t escape: Your vision and sense of hearing are obscured by the murky depths.
This could perhaps be a scene from the future of PlayStation 4 gaming, thanks to a new headset that Sony revealed Tuesday evening at a game developers conference in San Francisco. The device, nicknamed Project Morpheus, uses a curved, computerized screen to enwrap a person’s field of vision. When you look through the headset, you see a high-def, 3D view of whatever virtual world you’re navigating.
The whole point of the project is to create a more immersive environment for gamers. Companies like Sony, and a number of other small developers, don’t just want people to play with their games, but play in them.
This concept is not entirely new. The Kickstarter-born startup Oculus VR makes a similar virtual reality headset that is popular among indie game developers. The company has sold more than 60,000 of its bulky black eye-masks, called the Oculus Rift, but has not yet said when it’ll release a finalized version of the gadget to the public (nor how much debt it might put you in).
Sony has yet to offer the same details about Project Morpheus. But it does plan to demonstrate the device’s capabilities later this week at the conference. One demo will give the headset wearer the perspective of an underwater diver in a shark cage. Another will place him in a castle where he can swing a sword. Another will launch him to a virtual walkthrough of Mars, based on data from NASA.
No word on whether there’ll be a demo in which you’re given the perspective of a guy who steals cars, shoots police, and solicits ladies of the night. But we can rest assured that these exciting technological advances will get us there eventually.
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