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Sony Displays PlayStation (Games) Games

Sony Announces Virtual Reality Headset For PS4 112

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-officially-a-fad dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Sony has announced 'Project Morpheus,' their project to develop a virtual reality headset for use with the PlayStation 4. 'Using a combination of Sony's own hardware, combining personal video viewers with PlayStation Move controllers, PlayStation engineers experimented with multiple prototypes.' They've been working on it for over three years — here's a picture of the current incarnation. The headset will use 3D audio tech that changes as players move their heads. One of their big goals is to make it extremely simple to use. They intend the display to be 1080p with a 90-degree field of view."
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Sony Announces Virtual Reality Headset For PS4

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  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @12:28AM (#46521935)
    Most gut instinct thoughts of this can think of 8-9 good reasons to not have faith in Sony's ability to do this.

    But this gut instinct thought Facebook would be gone years ago, that the Wii would fail in the previous console generation and that Microsoft Office would have been made irrelevant years ago.

    Sony has plenty of experience and desire to succeed in this area and is good at hardware and programming specs --- and this is exactly the kind of technology they could probably "get right" and have plenty of motivation to want to do it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bloodhawk (813939)
      It is very questionable though whether the ps4 has the horsepower to run such a device. The choices to use such low end CPU and mid range graphics card make me highly doubtful they could produce such a headset without it being incredibly expensive due to the requirements to add processing capabilities to the device. ps4 struggles with 1080p to a TV, some games like Killzone don't even run at 1080p due to it not being powerful enough to handle it and that is supposedly one of their premium flagship games.
      • Re:Watch It Succeed (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MoonlessNights (3526789) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @12:56AM (#46522043) Homepage Journal

        I am not sure what more processing capability would be required, though.

        Presumably (and this might be nonsense since I have never used the system), they already determine what sound goes into each channel based on the location and orientation of the view of the player (this is old-hat OpenAL stuff). Determining the orientation is done via the analog input of the controller so really they just need to convert the gyroscope data of the headset into the orientation language used by their input system. Other than that, it should just be a matter of running the video and audio to the headset, as opposed to the TV.

        The hard part with this is typically just in building the hardware light enough that it doesn't cause neck strain in the user.

        If they are trying to build stereoscopic 1080p, then you have the difficulty of rendering the scene twice (well, 2x over the normal number of render passes) and then reading out from 2 framebuffers. That is mostly a question of memory bandwidth in the GPU, though, and how their display controllers arbitrate the bus.

        • by bloodhawk (813939)
          that is the point though. their GPU/CPU combination doesn't have the raw horsepower for a single 1080p screen without making sacrifices somewhere. How are they supposed to run 2x1080p screens while also performing the processing required for the VR and for the game. something has to be sacrificed somewhere, either framerate, resolution or what you can actually do computationally within a game or they need more external processing capacity. I will be interesting to see what choices they have made.
          • What is "processing required for the VR"? Beyond the question of whether or not they need to render a second frame for the other eye (or if they are just going to show the one scene to both eyes), what else is required?

            The big question seems to be whether or not the device will be light enough and whether or not they can build it economically.

            The most peculiar thing which comes to my mind is why they want 1080 at such a proximity that the eye is unlikely to see such high resolution.

          • You sacrifice shaders that has too many passes or other things that has become the standard.

        • by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @02:03AM (#46522255)

          If they are trying to build stereoscopic 1080p, then you have the difficulty of rendering the scene twice (well, 2x over the normal number of render passes) and then reading out from 2 framebuffers. That is mostly a question of memory bandwidth in the GPU, though, and how their display controllers arbitrate the bus.

          How is rendering the scene twice mostly a question of memory bandwidth? Increasing the memory bandwidth alone generally won't do much to increase your ability to render the scene, the limitation here is primarily the amount of ALUs on the GPU not memory bandwidth.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            On one level, it depends on their memory topology (how many components are fighting over that particular memory bus - this _should_ be pretty good in a game console).

            In general, rendering a large scene takes immense memory bandwidth as the data required to describe the scene (GL commands, texture data, other data for shaders, etc) and the representation of the output (framebuffer, other pixel buffers, etc) are very large.

            Then again, my main background in this area is working with compositors (where bandwidt

            • by exomondo (1725132)

              In general, rendering a large scene takes immense memory bandwidth as the data required to describe the scene (GL commands, texture data, other data for shaders, etc) and the representation of the output (framebuffer, other pixel buffers, etc) are very large.

              You should have pretty much all of that uploaded to the GPU anyway, you aren't going to go and do it all again just to render the second frame of the same scene.

        • by Jmc23 (2353706)
          Neck strain isn't a problem for normal people who can balance their heads over their bodies.

          Geeks with glasses whose heads are suspended in front of their body...

      • by wonkey_monkey (2592601) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @04:22AM (#46522603) Homepage

        ps4 struggles with 1080p to a TV

        No it doesn't, at least not inherently.

        some games like Killzone don't even run at 1080p due to it not being powerful enough to handle it

        That was the game developer's choice. If the PS4 was twice as powerful, they'd have just thrown in twice as many* effects and explosions and it would still run at 720p and 30fps.

        *yes, I know, it doesn't really scale that way.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      huh?

      if they can get 1080p per eye and 90 degrees then I'm buying this the second it goes into the shop. and buy a ps4 to use it with too.

      and sony has plenty of experience with head mounted displays, but the previous consumer display was for viewing movies(and did not have a high fov, the hmz).

      but heck, ANYBODY who creates oculus rift style display with about same fov as rift and 1080p per eye gets my money(as long as it's under a thousand bucks. maybe even 1.5). it's just so fucking cool(I got the dev oculu

    • My first thought seems to be opposite of most of the people I've seen post on this. Everyone keeps pointing out that it would be hard for the PS4 to be able to produce the desired effect due to the technical specifications of the console. I haven't been following the PS* close enough to comment on this, but I have been checking in on the VR headset scene on and off for quite some time. The technologies have been coming for years and years, and many gaming rigs have multiple-monitor capability (for stereosco

  • by Frag-A-Muffin (5490) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @12:36AM (#46521969) Homepage

    Looks like it'll be annoying to wear for long (5+ min.) durations.

    • by Osgeld (1900440)

      aye, strap a brick to your head where it hangs out 4-6 inches from your face and rests on the bridge of your nose, if that doesnt get you the eye strain of faked streoscopic vision and the refresh rate will

      • by pitchpipe (708843)
        Aye, strap a patch to your head where your eye previously hung out 4-6 inches from your face and rested on the bridge of your nose, if that doesnt get you the eye strain of faked streoscopic vision and the refresh rate will. Arrr matey.
      • by Jmc23 (2353706)
        seems geeks have never heard of counter-balances. Sad.
        • by Osgeld (1900440)

          what counterweight, the current incarnation has a open back, seems like the whole idea of a counterweight falls flat when there is no counterside to the weight, and none ever made or currently being presented have a counterweight.

          sorry if I am pointing out the obvious, but I am not the one designing and trying to sell the things

          • by Jmc23 (2353706)
            No, geeks are and they seem to have never heard of counter-balances.

            Sorry for pointing out the obvious, i.e., exactly what I said the first time.

      • by Sockatume (732728)

        It doesn't rest on your nose. Sony's been doing HMDs for a while, they design around a padded headband that puts the load up top instead.

        It's not "faked stereoscopic vision" when you have one viewpoint for each eye, that's literally the entirety of stereoscopy.

  • by locopuyo (1433631) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @01:38AM (#46522187) Homepage
    Most PS4 games are rendered in sub 1080p resolution and scaled, some games run at 60 fps but often they run at 30 fps, and the fov in most games is 70 degrees or even less.

    The Oculus Rift guys are pushing for 120+ fps, 1080p+ resolution, and 105 degree fov.

    The Oculus guys did their research and found that all of this is required for a good experience. The PS4 hardware can't come close to meeting any of those requirements and their headset is going to be a terrible experience and just make people think all VR headsets are terrible.

    Some big management guys at Sony are pushing for a VR Headset because it is going to be the next big thing, but they don't understand any of the technical details and it is just going to fail.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      most likely games targeting this headset won't be made to run 30 hz then...

    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      I'm sure there will be games made specifically for it that will have an appropriate detail level for achieving 1080p/60fps. Most games on PS4 aren't upscaled, I think you mean the Xbox One.
      • by aliquis (678370)

        Also wasn't the idea that the current gen would use 60 fps?

        Maybe not / maybe that depends.

        May it be that PS3 and 360 is 30 FPS and current gen more often 60 FPS and as you say more often around 1080p for the PS4 and less for the Xbox One.

        As far as performance go I know a lot of people say that the design choices have limited performance and hence they can't get there wherever there it but the thing is that since they are designed as they are they can also take advantage of future evolution of the hardware s

      • by timeOday (582209)
        They would be smart to make the VR games entirely separate by requiring the VR, and not displaying to the TV (except some little "preview" window so it will be less weird for onlookers). The rendering horsepower required for 3d is part of it, but beyond that VR games will also need to be different in other ways, such as head/viewer motion allowed, reliance on depth perception, field of view, and certainly other stuff that I can't think of ahead of time, some of which will be particular to Sony's implementa
      • by locopuyo (1433631)
        Actually most of the games for PS4 are too. For example Killzone uses interlacing and is only 960x1080 for each frame. Only half the resolution of real 1080p.
    • by citizenr (871508) on Wednesday March 19, 2014 @05:12AM (#46522685) Homepage

      Sure it can, but it means games with simple geometry and not a lot of content on the screen at the same time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're talking complete shit. Most PS4 games come in at 1080p, most games run at 30FPS because that's the target for TV, and the FOV in a game is just a float variable so why would you think that was even relevant?

      The Oculus Rift guys have a project to produce a VR headset, and so does Sony. They are all capable of doing research, and none of the suits at either company understand the technical details, so why would you think that was relevant either?

      Meanwhile you have no understanding of the technical de

      • FOV certainly can be. If the screen is a fixed distance from the eye, it takes up a certain percentage of your FOV based on screen size.

        • by Sockatume (732728)

          It's a property of the sensor, not the console. The post he's replying to argued that because console games run with a narrow FOV (an optimisation for a large but distant monitor) they couldn't possibly drive a wide-field-of-view output device. Which is just wrong.

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      This is actually a product of Sony's research labs, not "some big management guys", and as they outlined at the actual event, the prototype does something over a 90-degree FOV (105 is entirely possible) with 1080p resolution. The finished version will be somewhat better. Framerate will be decided by the software, not the hardware; you could write a PS4 game that ran at 120fps in 1080p quite easily if you weren't trying to make pretty screenshots with lots of pixel shaders, and the relatively low angular res

    • by Sockatume (732728)

      A game's FOV and a display's FOV are two different things. You can literally change the former with one line of code.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It doesn't have to be better than Oculous Rift to succeed, and you know it. Oculous Rift succeeding will likely bring Sony's headset up with it, being the best option for the entire console market... assuming MS don't have a brilliant plan up their sleeves.

    • by RogueyWon (735973)

      The advantage that this has over the Oculus Rift is that, by the time it ships, it will work on a "plug in and play" basis with a mass-market games console which may quite reasonably have an installed base of 20 million+ by then. Sony basically "won" the BD vs HD-DVD battle by turning every PS3 into a BD player - this has some potential (though as I'll come onto, it's not guaranteed) to manage a similar victory over the Oculus Rift.

      The big problem, of course, is that optional peripherals for consoles have a

  • yeah i have heared about that that is going to awesome
  • So off the bat the sony vr headset is lowered spec than the oculus dev kits. 90 degrees versus 110 degrees field of view. They are running at 1080p but so does some oculus prototypes. I would not be surprised if they were slower than the oculus as well. So it comes down to price and software. Also very interested in the demo tommorow. Hopefully someone with a dev kit can try one tell us how they compare.
    • by Quila (201335)

      Hold an iPhone maybe three inches from your eyes. That's about 90 degrees. It's not enough for VR. It would be like running around with blinders on.

  • ..their other 'vr headsets' it will likely be total crap. SONY is an amazing company, but for some reason there are areas in which they simply produce garbage - this being one of them.

    This doesn't mean it won't be a good device, just that SONY's history with VR headsets and tracking is terrible.

    Let's hope it proves otherwise.

  • First is the obvious thing to note, Sony's solution is PS4-only, while the Rift will (at least initially) be PC-only. So they're not directly competing in that respect. But more importantly is that for developers, Sony's solution and Oculus' solution pose all the same problems. You need to figure out input, locomotion, figure out the rules of VR (what feels good and what doesn't), figure out what sort of gameplay works best...

    The more developers there are working on VR content, the better the entire VR ecos

  • Why are VR headsets 90 degrees horizontal? humans can see close to 180 degrees horizontal. I thought FOV was one of the big benefits of VR headsets.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      180 degrees horizontal would be behind you. I think by 90 degrees horizontal they mean to the right/left of your eye. Oculus is going for over 100 degrees because you can rotate your eyes left/right which enables you to see slightly beyond 90 degrees to your side.

      Just doing a test, my eyes can see about 140 degrees horizontal if I turn my eyes so neither device gets true full vision

      • by MobyDisk (75490)

        I think by 90 degrees horizontal they mean to the right/left of your eye.

        Ahh, that makes more sense.

  • I hope the upcoming PS4 version of Final Fantasy XIV will be compatible with the VR headset.

  • So much ignorance needs to be addressed. First...Performance: The PS4 can display 1080p content at CONSISTENT high frame rates (60+) just fine. All the developers have to do is dial down things like shadows, physics, particle effects, or the polygon count. There are LOTS of factors that go into what your end results are, graphically. The reason the launch games perform the way they do is that developers are trying to push the hardware...dial back the fancy "whiz bang" effects a bit, and you will get bet

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