Virtual reality is a strange type of consumer product. On one hand, it has as much buzz as any tech product category out there, with nearly every company imaginable scrambling to line something up. But on the other hand, there's barely any consumer-ready VR that you can buy today (those that you can buy are often labeled as developer kits). Today Sony released more details on its PS4-based headset.
We've known about Project Morpheus, Sony's virtual reality system for the PS4, for about a year already. But at the 2015 Game Developers' Conference (GDC), Sony gave us a release window and spilled the beans on some spec upgrades.
The PS4 headset got a big display upgrade: jumping from a 5-in LCD to a 5.7-in OLED screen at 1080p resolution. That lines up just about perfectly with the specs of the Oculus Rift Developers' Kit 2 (DK2), though both the latest Rift prototype and the Samsung Gear VR have higher resolution screens (Quad HD for the Gear).
While the previously-announced Morpheus prototype maxed out at 60 frames per second (fps), the new version doubles that, jumping up to a 120 Hz refresh rate. Sony also says latency is down to 18 ms in the new model, and has added three more LEDs (nine total) for more precise head-tracking.
Perhaps most significantly, Sony announced that the consumer version of the headset will be launching in the first half of 2016. Still no word on pricing.
This year we should start seeing some of the long-awaited VR headsets blossoming into full-blown consumer products. Many expect the consumer-focused (and PC-based) Oculus Rift to launch this year, HTC says its Vive headset (in a collaboration with Valve) will release by the end of 2015 and the new mobile-based Gear VR is compatible with what will almost certainly be two very popular phones, the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge. Sony's headset will be launching in a consumer VR landscape that looks very different from the one we see today.