Project Morpheus: Hands-on

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Gizmag checks out Sony's latest iteration of Project Morpheus at E3 2015(Credit: Will Shanklin/Gizmag)

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In addition to our hands-on time with the consumer-facing Oculus Rift, we also swung by Sony's booth to get another look at the latest version of Project Morpheus. Join Gizmag, for our impressions.

When reviewing gaming hardware, your impressions are going to be tied to content as much as the hardware itself. Imagine an 80s-era game reviewer discussing the NES, without getting the chance to play any Mario or Zelda games. And unfortunately our Morpheus demo only included a virtual concert by a virtual pop star. Apart from waving my PS Move controllers, which were transformed into glow sticks, it wasn't interactive.

From what we could tell, though, the sense of presence was very good and Project Morpheus' 1080p resolution – lower than the Gear VR and (most likely) the consumer Oculus Rift – didn't provide the pronounced screen door effect (visible pixels) we were expecting. If we didn't already know Morpheus' resolution, we would have guessed it was a Quad HD panel, like in the Gear VR. We aren't sure why that is, but perhaps Sony has tweaked something else to cut down on the perception of the screen door effect.

The headset itself is comfortable, and with its strap extending from above the visor, its bottom doesn't hug against your face, like on the Gear VR. Our demo was in a dark room, but we imagine light would seep in easily if we played in a well-lit setting (that's exactly what happened with our Oculus Rift demo).

Also, like with the Rift demo, I was able to wear my glasses underneath the headset with no problem. The ability to slide Project Morpheus' lenses forwards and backwards (just hold down a button on the bottom to tweak this) made it a little easier in this respect than the Rift.

The PS Move controllers, apart from making killer glow sticks, will be a great way to interact with virtual worlds. With both Wii-like motion sensing and physical buttons, you get something close to what Oculus VR calls "hand presence" – though finer "finger presence" will have to wait for future accessories.

While the Oculus Rift will support streaming from an Xbox One to Windows 10, Morpheus is the only currently-announced VR headset that directly supports a game console (the PS4). If its quality, polish and content library are in the same ballpark as the Rift (so far the first two appear to be pretty close), then that could be a big advantage for Sony's headset. If you already own a PS4 and don't own a gaming PC or Samsung smartphone, then Oculus, Vive (which will need a gaming PC to unleash its full power) and Gear VR (requires a Samsung phone) would need some big content, quality or control advantages to make the extra cost worth your while.

For more on virtual reality at E3 2015, you can hit up Gizmag's Oculus Rift hands-on.

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