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Sony announces Project Morpheus, a virtual reality headset coming to PS4 (polygon.com)
215 points by nzonbi on March 19, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 115 comments



Before the announcement Oculus said, paraphrasing, that more people doing VR is good because it means devs will have more incentive to invest in made-for-VR content. Oculus's worst fear is not that Sony will make better hardware than them, but that Sony might make bad hardware that would give people a bad experience (motion sickness, etc) and kill this new VR renaissance before it has a chance to start.

http://www.ign.com/videos/2014/03/18/oculus-on-sonys-rumored...


The Oculus dev kit does a good job of that itself. I've demo'd mine to about 6 people and all got sick. One of my friends laid down on the floor for a good 30 minutes after. I know my limits, the first few times required taking off my shirt and blasting the air conditioner as I was drenched in a cold sweat. Yet it asks you to return, its a feeling I can only relate to with lucid dreaming. The Oculus and truly immersive VR is one of those forces, once its released will just flatten everything in its path. Nothing will return this cat to the bag.

My question, is the PS4 going to be able to handle rendering its existing games x2? Michael Abrash's presentation was pretty clear that the Oculus and its competitors would really be pushing the PC's requirements and laid out exactly why.


Yes, but that's the original dev kit launched in 2012. Their current prototypes don't do that anymore, and they're still a year away from launch. Oculus is worried Sony didn't solve that. Sony just announced the device will use LCD instead of OLED. Oculus picked OLED for its low persistence which greatly reduces the nausea effect. We'll see. Sony's device is probably coming out next year, too.

And no, I think most VR PS4 games will be made at 720p@60fps. You might see some indie ones at 1080p. PS4's hardware is barely enough for VR, but should be sufficient for a decent experience. The worst part about it is that Sony won't be able to upgrade it until PS5, while Oculus will move on to 4k displays in a few years, 120Hz, better optics, and so on.


yeah I find it incredibly hard to believe that the ps4 can push 2 x 5" 1080p displays, with the necessary latency to give a real sense of presence, as the the parlance now is.

I can only assume that if the SDK is being made soon then devs may well have had time with it. I am really looking forward to hearing about their experiences.


I believe the dev kit contains 1x1080p display but renders a different view on each half of the screen.


> PS4 going to be able to handle rendering its existing games x2

Well, yeah, at 10fps. Currently if the PS4 outputs 1080p it drops the framerate to 30.


You message doesn't make sense at all if you don't specify in what game, the PS4 is entirely able to output in 1080p at higher framerate.

For reference, metal gear solid 5 renders at 60 fps in 1080p on the PS4, and that is "with room to spare" according to the dev team (the weaker xbox one only delivers it in 720p).

http://oyster.ignimgs.com/wordpress/stg.ign.com/2014/02/MGS-...


The image linked in the comment above comes from Konami's Current Gen/Next Gen comparison page for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes: http://www.konami.jp/mgs5/gz/en/products/compare.php5


> Currently if the PS4 outputs 1080p it drops the framerate to 30

"On launch games"

Go look at a launch PS2 or launch PS3 game then come back


Yes, or, they are afraid that history will repeat itself yet again.

-Consoles make inferior version of something that can be done so much better on PC. -People buy up the inferior version one cause they apparently have no problem with being stuck for a decade on hardware/games that will never change. -Developers make so much money from that bargain basement segment that they only care about the console version and if they feel like it, port it over to PC as is. Without any refinement whatsoever.

When did that ever happen before you ask? With games in general, of course.

Most recent example: DICE developed a shield as DLC for Battlefield 4. Should have been shield in one hand, pistol in the other. But!, since that would take ONE MEGABYTE OF ADDITIONAL RAM it was scrapped cause the dumb kiddie consoles can't handle that "enormous" additional load. Instead you only get the shield which is now held "in both hands"!

No problem right? Just gimp the console version and do it right on PC. Wrong. DICE is hell bend on keeping the tradition of giving the PC gamers the finger alive and just shells out this crutch on all systems.

Yeah, if these console people really have to enter the VR business, I already know how that will turn out for the one system that is best equipped to do gaming. And that is very very badly. Unless Oculous also enters the game development in a big way and more developers with the correct focus like Bohemia Interactive come forth, PC will get hosed again.

Prime Examples for developers with the wrong focus would be again, DICE and of course Rockstar who have nor problem putting GTAIV on sale on Steam now, even though who knows what will happen once the gfwl servers are shut down. And of course, nobody needs to talk about GTAV on PC. They made enough money with the cheap console version. Why should they even do a poor port to PC? Let alone maybe take some pride in their work and do things right and make the PC version really push the envelope.


> People buy up the inferior version one cause they apparently have no problem with being stuck for a decade on hardware/games that will never change.

I hear that a lot from bitter PC gamers. It's just as valid to say "People buy up consoles because they want to just be able to play some damn games without worrying about hardware upgrades and framerates and heat dissipation."

(I have a 360 and a high-end gaming PC. I am platform-agnostic. I just like games.)


>It's just as valid to say "People buy up consoles because they want to just be able to play some damn games without worrying about hardware upgrades and framerates and heat dissipation.

Except that it is not. HW upgrades have not been an issue for a loooong time. Example, I still run a non i3/5/7 intel CPU and a mid range nvidia and have no problem getting a gaming experience that is at the very least on par with consoles. And if we look at the FPS I get, it is far superior.

If you check now just how many generation of iX CPUs there are and I am still running something from before that, you know that upgrades are not that vital anymore. And I just mention the CPU as it is still the biggest cost factor in a PC. Along with the GPU which I also stated is years old and was mid range when I bought it to begin with.

And I could just enjoy games with that PC if the games I get wouldn't be horribly ported messes of what often looks like copy/paste from the console codebase.

If only the developers would finally employ two separate teams for their games. One camp can focus on the consoles all they want. I don't give a damn. As long as there is one separate team solely focusing on the PC version. This whole thing would go away. No more PC/Console wars. No more animosity or the repeated question "why can't we all just get along?". We could get along if one platform would finally stop getting the short end of the stick. And in the past, that platform was always the PC. Which, incidentally should answer just why PC gamers have such a low opinion of console gamers. It is the direct result of console gamers flooding the market and shoving so much money down the developers throats that they can't help but go where the money is. And just go there period.

Just look at the "new" consoles. Spec based a mid range PC from a couple of years ago. But in comparison so much "advanced" when looking at the old consoles. And now what? Suddenly 60fps is "soo awesome". 1080p FTW etc pp. Before? Couldn't care less when PC gamers were telling them how great it is. And the fact this was possible for the last decade. "Not needed", you'd hear. "I don't care", you'd hear. But throw them this past decade tech in console form and they cheer. Not realizing that this is it for them for the next ten years.

Bohemia gets it. No console version of Arma3. Could focus solely on their PC version and it is great. No tradeoffs. No cutting corners by just taking the dumbed down assets instead of working on PC specific ones that highlight its capabilities.


As someone with an R290 and 4670K that's hard to believe.

Plus I probably spent $2500 on this setup. Started out as a miner. Went through three cases (NZXT -> Corsair 300R -> Bitfenix Prodigy), three motherboards (Asus MA97-2 -> Asrock Fatal1ty Killer -> Asrock Z87E-ITX), three CPUs (Sempron 145 -> FX-4130 -> Intel 4670), replaced the 2x2GB of RAM with 2x4GB, added a 1TB SSHD, sold reference R290's, got an XFX R290-DD, several USB WiFi adapters (all junk, bought an Airport Express and extended the ethernet reach instead), Keyboard, Mouse, Gamepad, Corsair fans (loud, low flow), NZXT fans (ok-ish, high flow), Phantek fans (high flow, really loud), Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO...

The list goes on. It's a hobby. And I like some things about it. But it's not a cheap one, and while you might have more sense than me in knowing what you ultimately want, more PC gamers than not have the upgrade bug IME. A valid Windows license alone is 25% of the price of a PS4. Just my current CPU is over half the price. All together I could've bought a PS4 for what I've spent on CPUs.


"My computer is more powerful than your console, so that means it's more fun! Can't you see that I'm having more fun than you?!? Hey! Stop having fun right now!"

Yeah, shitty PC ports of console games are a problem, I'll totally agree with that. Of course, they're also a tiny percentage of all PC games. It's not like there's not other stuff for you to play. And whose fault is it that there are shitty PC ports? Well, the publishers looking for a quick buck--oh no, silly me, it's the console gamers! Their gamepad-clutching fingers are pulling the strings of a Machiavellian global network designed expressly to ruin your fun!

Jesus Christ. The Xbox fans hate the Sony fans, and the Windows fans hate the Apple fans, and the PC fans hate the console fans, oh, the black folks hate the white folks, and the white folks hate the black folks, all of my folks hate all of your folks, it's American as apple pie. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgASBVMyVFI&t=0m44s There's gotta be someone I can blame for my burnt toast and my broken shoelace.

Get your shit together and get worked up about something that matters.

And in the mean time, play some games, have fun, and stop stressing so much!


I think the main fear here is that a bad VR experience - and one of the fastest ways to do that is not having the hardware and features (ie a screen with low persistence) needed to drive vr - will kill the technology for consumers.


heat dissipation is arguably a much bigger problem on consoles.


It's certainly a problem, but it's not your problem. Until your 360 RROD, of course.

Still, the PS4/XB1, like previous consoles, were designed with heat dissipation in mind. If you build your own PC once you go off the beaten path you're going to have to be careful.


> Consoles make inferior version of something that can be done so much better on PC

That's a bit of a blanket statement, no?

The PC controller market has been rife with crap. 3rd-party console controllers were equally sucky. Even Microsoft's PC controllers weren't that great.

These days, you could get by with a Logitech controller. But by and large if you want to game with a controller on a a PC you're going to use a wired 360 controller.


Yeah that's not how it works. You use a game controller on a console because that's all they have.

There's nothing a controller can do, that a simple mouse and keyboard can't do better.

Now you'll say you are kick-butt with a controller and terrible with a PC. But that's because of the 10000 hours you've spent on a console.

The user-bandwidth available thru a mouse and keyboard is like an order of magnitude higher than a controller with bang-bang 'joysticks'. There's a reason online gaming separates PC clients from console clients. Just watch the console users trudging around a virtual landscape like a tank, turning jerkily and aiming erratically. Then watch a mouse virtuoso leap about like a ninja and literally run circles around the console folks.


>There's nothing a controller can do, that a simple mouse and keyboard can't do better.

Analog control for a flight sim or racing game. Mouse and keyboard is absolute shit for those.

Platformers also really aren't great.


Fighting games too. You can argue that a fight stick is preferred, but a controller is an order of magnitude better than a keyboard.


> m-m-muh m-master race

> muh gaben


Which is arguably what they'd say no matter what they thought. Not that Oculus doesn't have a lot going for it, but as a startup I'd be nervous to see a much larger company that makes both a game console and display technology push their own alternative.

But I guess there is not much lock-in effect - except for the current Oculus SDK, so hopefully games will start using a platform neutral one soon - and the market is potentially huge, so competition can also have a lot of pros.


I don't think there's much overlap.

Sony's VR will be PS4-only for a long time, perhaps forever.

The Oculus will be disallowed from the PS4 by Sony, probably forever.


Honestly, I don't think they're really worried about the competition. They have Jon Carmack, enough said.


The Oculus SDK is open-source, so it wouldn't be too hard.


> motion sickness

The hardware doesn't matter; some people just cannot stand certain forms of stimulation-without-movement that occurs with virtual reality. I can't play FPS or watch videos containing lots of movement on large screens for this reason, and I doubt the experience would be any different for VR; if anything, making the graphics more realistic would exacerbate the situation.


The hardware does matter. There will be VR games that don't induce motion sickness in anyone, because they don't involve movement at all (other than actual movement of your real head, reflected 1:1 in the virtual world). When people think of VR they naively imagine virtual Call of Duty, but that's not going to happen the way people imagine it. FPS is a genre designed for traditional screens; VR will require new genres. I doubt ports of traditional FPS games to VR will even be very popular.


Precisely. Simulation and piloting games will be the prime target for VR, which are coincidentally my favorite genres. I can't wait to try flight sims (e.g. DCS Warthog) and piloting games (e.g. Star Citizen). It will be a whole new experience, with no motion sickness potential whatsoever.


> …with no motion sickness potential whatsoever.

Who's making such a claim about VR? People who think Michael Abrash made this claim simply didn't read his white paper closely enough. Here's what he said:

> …VR may be best with slow movement and a lot of up-close interaction, in which case we’ll have to learn how to create fun games around that.

Longer quote and more discussion in my earlier comment on this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7249118


There's always motion sickness potential. When you move your head there is a delay before the image on the screen updates; make this small enough and you won't notice, make it large enough and the world will appear laggy and unresponsive.

It's definitely less likely to cause sickness than some of the other genres, but not guaranteed safe.


> When you move your head there is a delay before the image on the screen updates; make this small enough and you won't notice

Hence why hardware does matter


>The hardware doesn't matter; some people just cannot stand certain forms of stimulation-without-movement that occurs with virtual reality

While it won't help every case, for the vast majority the motion sickness is alleviated when the head tracking is better (accurate positional tracking and low latency).

You can make pretty much anyone feel sick if you add enough lag to the display.


Apparently a lot of people who were getting motion sickness from the first occulus dev kit are now fine with the latest hardware. It turns the screen off after the frame is displayed so the amount of time that you are looking at something that is simply not right is extremely small. All the reviews say it makes a huge difference to people who got bad motion sickness.


i'd have to guess the hardware to some extent, and at least the algorithms applied on top of it, can make a difference in many cases.

that is to say, you can probably not eliminate motion sickness entirely in all cases, but without care it's probably not hard to catalyze either.


It's like when IBM got into the personal computer market. They made it a legitimate business and created a bigger market for personal computers.


It wasn't very good for Apple, though...


I'd say it was quite good for Apple.

Without IBM, Lisa with its 10k price tag might have actually won out over Mac. That is, Apple would have made Lisa their business computer and not even bothered pushing Mac. (see folklore.org et al)

At the time, Apple II was not considered business level hardware (although people used it for business, ie VisiCalc).

Without IBM entering PC market, the micro revolution would have taken a few years longer.


Interesting viewpoint. I got the impression that the Lisa just wasn't a very good computer, and not worth the price, but maybe you're right.


Why do you say that? Apple was big in the 1980's.


Because the IBM PC and compatibles ended up running away with the market.


That's because, as Steve Jobs put it, Apple squandered a 10 year lead on Windows. You still have to show up and compete.

If you look at the market now, Apple is the most profitable "PC" maker.


3..2..1..


Oh common, I have one semi "reddit-like" post about a real opinion and you can't put 2 and 2 together? Are my downvotes faith in Sony corp?


Your comment adds nothing to the discussion and thus a downvote. (my own comment does the same, but I hope people recognize `my attempt to educate` = `better community` = `more value to discussion`)


Meh, all the previous headsets from Sony in recent history were really, really crappy (I tried most of them in exhibitions). Small angle of vision (making it look like you play a game through a small window), unbalanced weight (you tend to have you head looking down after a while), I really hope they are getting their act together here if they want to compete. Occulus Rift has a lot of headstart in that field.


The display is LCD so will be interesting to see how they do on persistence, but the FOV is 90 degrees horizontal - about the same as Oculus' units. Full PR here: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/sony-computer-entert... (confirmation that this is horizontal FOV in the Japanese PR: http://www.scei.co.jp/corporate/release/140319.html )

From the presentation (see: http://live.theverge.com/live-sony-playstation-future-of-inn... ) it looks like 1) they've been working seriously on this for over 3 years and 2) they have taken the ideas of immersion/presence to heart and are focused on VR as a medium, not as a gimmick.

Personally, I think it'll be good for Oculus and VR in general to have a strong competitor w/ Sony. If it weren't PS4 only, I'd seriously consider grabbing one. Of course, we'll have to see what Oculus has up their sleeves w/ DK2 tomorrow...


Oculus Rift FOV is 110°.


DK1 is ~110° diagonal, 90° horizontal, roughly equivalent (and varies a fair amount w/ the lenses you use).

For comparison, the HMZs OP references are a HFOV of about 45°.


The field of view on the first Rift Development Kit is difficult to quantify because it varies depending on the eye relief from the lens to the specific user's eye. This is part of why there is a visual calibration procedure for the kit.

In any case, the field of view on that hardware is generally lens limited and the lenses are round, so the monocular field of view for most users is circular. The diagonal field of view is then equal to the vertical and horizontal field of view.


Not quite: for each eye, the screen aspect ratio is 8:9--not perfectly square and you can see in oculus videos on youtube that the distortion shader uses a scaling factor to make the screen just touch the left and right edges, but the top and bottom get somewhat cropped.

The diagonal is a bigger FOV than the horizontal FOV simply for that reason.

Most people can't see the edges of the screen when looking directly at them in the rift (but they can when looking indirectly, it is something to do with the eyeball moving around leaving the sweet spot).


Is there public data/or a spreadsheet/simulator for eye/relief:fov (I assume data for the A-C cups aren't relevant anymore) and accounting for binocular overlap?

Also is there technical documentation on the prewarp shader and pixel density/perceived resolution? I'm interested particularly in text rendering, so really looking forward to the low persistence displays!


The best practices guide covers the design side of angular resolution and binocular overlap: http://static.oculusvr.com/sdk-downloads/documents/OculusBes...

There are technical details on distortion correction in the SDK guide: http://static.oculusvr.com/sdk-downloads/documents/Oculus_SD...

Much of this is in flux as we improve on both the methods and the specific implementations, but the guides will be updated as we get there.


What I think will be the killer feature over Occulus Rift is that Project Morpheus has 60 virtual speakers, which (from the liveblog commentary) could lead to audio taking a bigger part in gaming.

I'm also looking forward to this tech being used for concert demos. I'd love to strap this on and listen to AC/DC's Live At River Plate, all the sound and the atmosphere of being there!

Shame that "no PC support has been announced" [1]. But some enterprising hacker'll get it going, no doubt.

[1] http://www.dualshockers.com/2014/03/18/sonys-ps4-virtual-rea...


60 Virtual speakers What does that even mean? It sounds like clever marketing talk.

I bet they have just regular stereo and software. Here, take a pair of good stereo headphones and try this 3d demo. And don't forget to close your eyes.

Virtual barber shop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA


I would agree. With sound, you perceive sounds to be close if they have plenty of bass and far away if this bass content rolls off. You also get phase smearing, where the sound waves coming towards you interact and mush together. A perception of closeness can be achieved by reversing this process, as used by BBE in their products (I have a BBE BMax-T bass preamp that has got this in it; if you take the top off, it's a little chip doing this).

I would imagine that they're just processing audio in a way to create a logical spherical arrangement, and sounds that fit into that sphere at certain points have equalisation applied to them to give the psychological effect of being far away or close; in effect, most things can be done with equalisation! For example, guitar effects boxes these day commonly "simulate" cabinets. Each speaker cabinet has its own resonant frequency, and the speakers in it also have certain frequency responses (they are not flat responses), hence the reason 4x12" Marshall cabs sound a certain way. The speakers also have sharp treble roll-offs, so these cabinet simulators are just putting an equaliser on the output signal that sounds like the frequency response of a particular cabinet. This is also the reason that signals taken from an amplifier's "direct out" that doesn't have this EQ applied sound fizzy - the sound doesn't have the same response as the speaker (which happens to be really ineffective at converting the input signal to the output sound), and so the guitarist will compare the speaker sound to the "direct out" sound and think the "direct out" sounds rubbish! In reality, the sound they are expecting to hear is the massively coloured sound of the speaker but they are hearing the true-sounding DI tone.

(Your ears are far more responsive to middle/treble frequencies and not bass, but bass gives the feeling of power and treble the perception of loudness, hence the reason most "rock" equalisers on hifis or MP3 players boost those two, so you think "Wow, this is really powerful and LOUD!")

BTW, that's a great demo. Haven't heard that in ages.


The virtual barbershop is a binaural recording made with special microphones. Presumably they're saying '60 virtual speakers' because they're modelling binaural 'ears' from 60 locations.


I bought a Razer Tiamat a couple years ago (a true 7.1 surround sound headset) and it was one of the best purchases I've ever made. Imagine living your life with one eye closed, then suddenly having the opportunity to open both eyes, and how surprising it would be to realize that you have depth perception, etc. That's sort of what experiencing true surround sound is like.

It requires a bit of tweaking to get configured properly though, which led to a lot of negative reviews or people leaving reviews saying they weren't impressed.

Experiencing actual 7.1 surround sound headphones (rather than simulated surround) is kind of like a mini version of experiencing the Oculus Rift for the first time, in terms of the "wow" factor when you finally get it working properly. What Rift is to eyes, the Tiamat is to ears.

The reason headphones have had just two speakers till now is because people have two ears, so we've incorrectly assumed that that's all that's needed. But human ears are designed to capture 3D positional audio. Two speakers means there are only two positions that audio can come from. 7.1 headphones simply blow everything else out of the water. It's a very visceral experience that's hard to articulate.

The takeaway is that having a headset which is capable of physically producing soundwaves from 7 different directions at once is one of the coolest experiences that any gamer can have. For casual gamers, it enhances the experience and immersion of any game. For competitive gamers, you can hear people sneaking up behind you, so you gain a competitive advantage.

All of this means that real (not simulated) 7.1 surround sound is a valuable idea which till now has seemingly been overlooked by the gaming industry. The first industry player that delivers a true positional surround sound experience to the masses stands to profit handsomely, whether it's Oculus or Sony or someone else. So build it!

(That said, I have no idea what 60 virtual speakers means, but I wanted to share my experience with true positional surround sound. Also, the surround sound headset works fine in tandem with the Rift. So until the Oculus guys realize how important 3D positional audio is and ship their next product with a pair of surround sound headphones, you can get the same effect right now from the Tiamat.)


> The takeaway is that having a headset which is capable of physically producing soundwaves from 7 different directions at once is one of the coolest experiences that any gamer can have.

I'm pretty skeptical as to whether this really requires special headphones. Amazing-sounding recordings made with a binaural head can be played back on normal headphones, after all. It seems more like a signal processing problem.

Sort of analogous to the way Creative used to sell overwrought, overpriced hardware for creating sound effects with EAX when the CPU and signal-processing libraries could have been used to serve the same purposes.


a recording from a binaural head cannot account for the different shapes of pinnae that humans have. The outer ear of humans are shaped quite differently. So each ear has his own transfer function which not only depends on frequency but also on the direction of the sound.


I don't know: the stuff I remember hearing was pretty amazing and there wasn't an ear measurement step in the listening process. If what you say is correct I wonder how perfect the match has to be in practice. (but, to the point regarding the magic headphones: this is something that could happen in the software if you're simulating the whole thing)


At least EAX was DSP accelerated, which meant no latency. I used to use my Soundblaster Live as a guitar effects pedal. Doing effects processing on the CPU was entirely feasible with the hardware, but the stock Windows drivers added about 2 seconds of latency to the input - useless for jamming. So I'd just plug my guitar into Line in, go to settings, and play with different EAX environments. Eventually I found the kX Project which provides non-sucky drivers for EMU10K1 cards, but I remember how awed I was when I first installed Linux and found that Linux soundcard drivers were non-sucky by default. I think that was formative...


> then suddenly having the opportunity to open both eyes, and how surprising it would be to realize that you have depth perception

As someone who is stereoblind, I really wish opening both eyes leading to depth perception were true for all of us...


Not the parent, but I had no idea that existed myself. What's the actual cause if vision in either eye works fine otherwise? The wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stereoblindness) wasn't too helpful.


For me, my eyes were slightly crossed as a kid. Had a couple of eye surgeries to align my eyes correctly, but the pupils were not aligned vertically perfectly, causing slightly conflicting images from each eye, and thus causing the brain to use the image from one of the eyes as opposed to fusing the two images as those with stereo-vision do. Both eyes still work all the time, the non-dominant eye at any given time just provides peripheral vision.


I don't remember the source, read this over six years ago, but there was a case where a women born with stereo blindness just suddenly regained depth perception.


> Imagine living your life with one eye closed, then suddenly having the opportunity to open both eyes, and how surprising it would be to realize that you have depth perception, etc.

Interestingly, some people with faulty depth perception have had that experience with Oculus Rift. I look forward to trying it out myself.


> What I think will be the killer feature over Occulus Rift is that Project Morpheus has 60 virtual speakers, which (from the liveblog commentary) could lead to audio taking a bigger part in gaming.

With old fashioned two-speaker headphones and binaural recording, you can already achieve a surprising level of audio spatialization: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8IXm6SuUigI


Currently, headphones are pretty much required hardware for VR, because the positions of the speakers relative to the ears are fixed. Achieving realistic binaural audio with external speakers isn't currently feasible because of the need to compensate for reflections and interference, let alone maintaining positionally invariant virtualized audio sources through head rotations and translations.

I'm not sure how the "60 virtual speakers" would work (it sounds like marketing terminology), but currently, the state-of-the-art in immersive in-game audio involves constructing an acoustically realistic head model, and harnessing the raytracing abilities of game engines and graphics cards to apply a material-based frequency attenuation curve at each bounce.


You can do it with a very large number of speakers and phase differences but headphones is much easier.


Actually, with two speaker headphones you can achieve any level of spatialization perceivable by human ears.


This must be true because although our ears are funny shapes, they only have one ear drum each, so we hear in stereo.


Yerp. Games just don't simulate it very well. People are hyperfocused on graphics and nobody pays attention to audio.

However I seem to recall Creative acquiring some audio company that had products with superior audio positioning technology, & basically axed the other product in favour of EAX or whatever its called..? Could be wrong


Aureal http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aureal_Semiconductor Creative bancrupted them with legal cost while at the same time using their patented tech without paying.

I have Diamond Sonic Impact 90 (Vertex AU8820) next to me on the wall :/ That was and is my best sound card to date.


Wow, it's so great that patents are here to protect the little guys from the big guys. Imagine, without patents, Creative might have just ripped off Aureal instead of ripping them off and suing them to death.


The vast majority of speakers and headsets usually have abysmally bad technical specifications, even those sold at inflated prices.


>60 virtual speakers

oh, so you mean its a stereo headset?


I want one of these things for software development. Being able to have one giant screen which encompasses your field of vision could work wonders for developers who feel constrained by monitors. Add in some sort of motion sensor and you can arrange your items on your giant virtual window with your hands. Throw a camera on the front of it so that when you need to look down at some paperwork, you can still see it.


My thoughts exactly. A portable system powered by a pocket-sized computing device, or a more powerful desktop, or the portable device dialling into the desktop. Perhaps rather than a camera a simple (Blade Runner-ish) SLR-type of screen flipper to show you RL in an instant, no extra battery power required.

I can also see a glove, similar to the early Nintendo efforts, with a keyboard that slides down over (or under) the hand, pivots 90 degrees and locks out between both hands. Speech recognition is of course great and all, but slightly humiliating to use (from experience), getting progressively moreso on a sliding scale of how many people can hear you talking to a computer. What we really need is either the sensor, as you mention, for 'air keyboard', or a brainwave reader that can intercept and interpret thought. Obviously one of those is more workable than the other, but no harm in planning ahead.


at 1080p... and what pixel density... it'd have to be pretty high to be bareable


check out https://www.spaceglasses.com/

they are essentially a full screen Google Glass with "touch" based UI. i am excited for the opportunity to use something like this as an IDE.


They look very interesting. Steve Mann is on their team I see. He looks very amusing with his Borg-style facial additions and his cheery grin.

Hopefully the product will be good. But I can't see myself using one and sat there waving my arms around like a lunatic. Instead of typing on a virtual keyboard, why not just use a laptop or netbook or something? It seems to be built to fix a problem that doesn't exist.


one benefit is this seems to be, by far, the best hardware for augmented reality. aside... AR boardgames would be cool...

it could be good collaboration tool, many people touching/moving parts of the same application (or presentation, etc).

and as the video suggests, this interface makes more sense for something like 3d modeling (on paper).


BTW, if you have a Jambox, you can demo binaural (3D) sound by installing this update:

https://jawbone.com/liveaudio


This is fantastic news. It is good to finally see some competition in the modern VR headset industry. While the VR industry may be in it's infancy, competition may help to accelerate its development. I can't wait until GDC, where we can see how it compares to Oculus's headsets.


GDC is going on right now - this announcement was at GDC!

Oculus is likely to announce DK2 at a session tomorrow:

Wednesday, March 19 | 11:00am-12:00pm (PDT)

Working with the Latest Oculus Rift Hardware and Software (Presented by Oculus VR) Speakers: Michael Antonov (Oculus VR), Nate Mitchell (Oculus VR) Format: Sponsored Panel Track: Programming

Summary: Since the debut of the original Oculus Rift development kit at GDC 2013, we've shown off a set of critical improvements including a high-definition display, positional tracking, and low-persistence support. Likewise, behind the scenes we've also been making critical improvements to the core Oculus SDK like new feature support, optimizations (particularly around latency), and overall simplicity.In this talk, we'll discuss everything you need to know to get started integrating the latest Oculus Rift hardware with your VR game or experience. The talk will be split into an overview of the latest hardware, a technical breakdown for engineers, an a game design discussion relevant to the new features. We'll also talk about our vision for future development hardware leading to the consumer Rift and what that path might look like.


It will be interesting to see the hands on reports when they start to come out. The specs seem roughly comparable to the Occulus Rift, but Sony certainly has a ton of manufacturing power to make great the special screens in quantity.

But the name "Project Morpheus" just sounded like they were trying too hard. Of course this will probably get a much sexier name for release like "Playstation Virtual Reality Headset Environment".

Occulus Rift is a pretty cool name.


I'm sure Sony can put together a nice hardware package, but I'd be very skeptical about their ability to duplicate all the crucial work Oculus has done with the software.

It's not trivial translating all the sensor data quickly and precisely into game camera movements.


Agreed. Sony is a hardware company, their software often leaves a lot to be desired.


Don't think so. They have top notch developers, especially in their Playstation division.


Occulus Rift is a pretty cool name

That's an understatement. It's a totally awesome name.


Can VR displays replace monitors for programming? It would be great to have virtually unlimited screen size. Are there some problems I do not realize at the moment?


Eventually that's where it's going to go. At the moment resolution is the biggest limiting factor and probably will be for a couple of more years.


No thanks, I'll wait for Oculus to release something that is guaranteed to work on my PC and not get locked into a Sony product - especially not after the rootkit debacle, and retroactively disabling linux on the PS3.


Bah. The real Project Morpheus features hovering rockets. Real ones. http://www.youtube.com/user/MorpheusLander


The devs at Sony really like the matrix. Not very subtle.


Or the god on whom the character is based.


My money is on the comic book character.


Live in our world, play in ours.


I'm curious as to how they'll manage the resolution, frame rate and low latency required, on the PS4's modest hardware, for modern games.


Lacking stereoscopic vision, I always have a hard time with the emergence of these new technologies. While I am naturally excited by it's potential, I'm bummed out I'll never get to experience it first-hand and secretly hope it doesn't become the norm (3D videos, VR headsets, etc).

Has anyone without stereoscopic vision tried any of these devices? What was your experience?


I'm in the same situation, but maybe worst, I'm stereoblind because one of my eye have only a peripheral vision. Anyone have feedback for VR headsets ?


Which means VR to you will be as "good" as real life, nothing to worry here. You'll still get all the benefits of parallax. Also, check out some people using the Rift as sort of a corrective lense for stereo blindness: http://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/1n6xyo/i_am_stereobl...


What a show of support for consumer grade VR. The Oculus Rift seemed to me as though it would always be a special little paradise for nerds. But this. This is mainstream and could blow the market wide open. I hope the OR team is ready to ride this wave.


I wonder if they will charge a mere $1000 or much more as usual?


News! http://techwatching.com/page.php?i=22780

IIRC the big differentiator of Occulus Rift was lag - i.e.: to be truly immersive and "real" the system has to process and respond incredibly quickly. No mention of that anywhere from Sony.


Well this VR thing is about to take off...


I'm still on the fence, I am a current PS3 owner and figured PS4 was a logical next purchase. Then I realized how awesome Kinect was visiting my friend and how much more of a 'next gen' feel it had. This might be the killer hardware but I'd rather just have an Oculus Rift :(


I played both consoles for about 3-4 hours pre launch (each), knowing that I was going to buy one. I was a 360 owner last gen, and PS2 the previous gen, so I don't have any real allegiances. However, I much preferred the PS4, not only for game selection, but the controllers felt better, and Kinect is great at first, but it really is a bit gimmicky after a while. Kinect sports is fun with friends, but not so much on your own. PS4 has exclusives like Infamous, Killzone, Knack(which I thoroughly enjoyed), Resogun, and loads more. Xbox has Ryse(didn't like it) dead rising(granted, it's fun) Forza(I want this one)and Titanfall(on the fence, probably don't care to be honest). The selection of games on PS4 is far superior, coupled with faster installation times, a much smaller box, and better looking games, makes it a no brainer IMHO


What I appreciate most about the PS4 is how the system is architected. I love that PS4 just consumes a lot less power then a PS3 and Xbox One. You can tell without even looking at the specs because of the size. It not only consumes less power but gives you the performance.


Yes, I also buy weaker slower and more expensive products because of buzzwords, and reasons


I have a feeling Sony is going to blow Oculus out of the water. Even more troubling if this headset makes its way to the PC which seems likely.


I have a feeling that Sony will do quite the opposite. They're already using an LCD display, which Oculus has moved away from because the pixel refresh rate is too slow. If Sony are already showing a lack of understanding in one area, it's quite possible that they'll be neglecting other areas that Oculus have been putting a lot of R&D time into. I think what's likely is that someone high up in Sony knows about Oculus and commanded his minions to "make us something like what Oculus is doing". There is no doubt in my mind that it'll fall short in numerous areas.


"Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference between the dream world and the real world?"





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