Sony Demonstrates Virtual Reality For Games At GDC [Update 3]

By Spencer and Ishaan . March 18, 2014 . 6:05pm

“Virtual reality is the next innovation from PlayStation,” Sony’s head of Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, said during a panel at GDC today.

 

Yoshida went on to show off a build of God of War III that had been modified to work with a first-person view using a VR headset that was handmade by Sony’s Santa Monica studio, the developers of God of War. The headset was a prototype built using an HMz Sony headset with a PlayStation Move controller attached to it for head tracking, and the brief demo showed Kratos tearing someone apart from a first-person camera perspective.

 

Prototyping continued, and as of 2012, Sony had come up with the headset design pictured above.

 

As of 2014, Sony have come up with “Project Morpheus” for PlayStation 4, Yoshida said. This is another prototype design and is pictured above. Yoshida stated that Sony have been working on this for three years now, but that it is not a final representation of how PlayStation will deliver VR.

 

However, Yoshida said that the device is playable at GDC, and that attendees will be able to try it out, as Sony are looking to gather feedback.

 

Following Yoshida’s presentation, Richard Marks from Sony Computer Entertainment America R&D stepped up. Marks had worked with NASA and briefly talked about a Mars demo that was developed using VR, in collaboration with Wwise and Unity.

 

Sight, sound tracking, control, ease of use, and content are the six elements Sony needs to tackle for VR, Marks said. Or rather, to “achieve presence,” as he put it. Marks mentioned that the headset has a light on it, so that it can be tracked by the camera the same way the controller can.

 

Sony are currently working on getting tools to developers like Crytek, Unity, Silicon Studio, Epic Games, Criware and Wwise, to facilitate the development of VR content.

 

Sony’s Anton Mikhlov was up next. Mikhlov helped design the PlayStation Move controller and talked about designing games using virtual reality. He touched upon points like motion sickness, arm positioning problems and how to achieve good presence in a virtual reality environment. In this regard, Mikhlov listed the following tips:

  • Keep latency low
  • Keep framerate high
  • Calibrate well
  • Render clear images
  • 3D audio will seal the deal

 

He then went on to talk about contact points and haptic feedback, citing driving games as an example. Not just a wheel, but pedals and even the seat are important to help increase presence, Mikhlov said. Meanwhile, in shooting games, having a gun attachment peripheral would help increase presence. The takeaway was to match your controller to what your VR avatar would use in the game.

 

For online multiplayer games, Mikhlov said, VR could be used to convey body language, due to head tracking. Beyond games, virtual reality could be used for virtual tourism and other interactive media. However, developers must be careful while developing using VR, Mikhlov cautioned. Presence amplifies emotion, he said, and VR can create a sense of vertigo, claustrophobia or even fear of the dark.

 

Mikhlov then talked about the development kit for the prototype headset. The devkit has a processing unit that streams what’s on the headset onto a screen. He pointed out that people can wear the headset with glasses. It supports 1080p and a 90+ degree field of view with 15 mm eye relief.

 

The headset has true spatial sound and binaural audio, Mikhlov stated. It renders sound the same way visuals are rendered, and the ergonomics are highly adjustable, with support for custom headphones. Most of the weight of the headset is placed on the head to make it more comfortable. Some of the VR demos that will be playable at GDC include an EVE: Valkyrie demo, and a Thief demo developed by Square Enix, with a section of the game in VR.

 

Following Mikhlov’s presentation, a Q&A session was held. Currently, the headset is wired (5 meters) and is not cross-platform with the Oculus Rift, as no APIs have been developed for this. Sony would not discuss whether or not the headset would work with PCs or with mobile devices, but did say that a PlayStation 4 can use one VR helmet.


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  • Christopher Nunes

    I remember going to the Comic-Con a few months back and tried out one of the VR Helmets they had there (wasn’t Sony) and got to see a Virtual World with a first-person view and it was AWESOME! Even if it was looping race car track and you were in the driver’s seat, but it was so cool to see the Virtual World like that.

    I really like to see it become a reality one day, for certain games at least and perhaps a few MMOs as well… minus the whole falling into comas or being trapped inside a Virtual World for 2 years.

    I can’t wait to see what they come up with next with it!

    • Areuto

      Dude…I was there!!!

      • Christopher Nunes

        Really? That’s awesome.

  • Six

    Interested in seeing how it compares to the Oculus Rift.

  • Firion Hope

    Oh man Im so excited for this, something resembling .Hack or SAO could finally form

  • Avaricious

    As long as my brain does not get fried if I try to take the VR headset off and there’s a log out button i’m good.

    • karldeck

      No nerve link yet, buddy.

      • Land of Green Pasture

        dem nerve link, “ethic code off”

  • Eder García

    its official… the next SAO game will be PS4 exclusive

    • AuraGuyChris

      So you meant to say over 10,000 players will become trapped in there while it’s revealed Sony is evil?

      Nice.

  • Six

    As a .hack fan, the amount of people mentioning SAO on the various forums is making me sad. D:

    • Land of Green Pasture

      happened to me though, but come on, just treat it as two different genres already… their focuses are just different.. it’s just sao’ s timing is somehow better

    • karldeck

      Go to destructiods article, there is the .hack fans.

    • Saphiren

      It’s more popular, so it’s not surprising.

      • Ultima-X

        No, it’s just more recent.

    • http://www.siliconera.com/ Ishaan

      See, now I’m depressed. Damn kids.

      • http://dealzon.com/ Dealzon

        It is 10+ years ago.

        Holy crap now I feel OLD.

        • Mantiskilla

          Damn you feel old? That anime came out when I was graduating from college! lol.

        • Areuto

          well I’m in high school but I feel the oldest one here..I mean I was thinking tech wouldn’t come for ages since I watched hack//sign but woah…

      • Samsara09

        it would be quite an epic adventure if we used those things,got trapped in a VR and had to fight for our lives…not.

    • ZnTxn

      As a fan of Corrector Yui, I’m sad most people ignore this mahou shoujo in a virtual reality in favor of .hack, SAO and Log Horizon; and even more sad when all sides are complaining about one or the other.

      :(.

      • Kai2591

        oh hey I read a volume of that once.

        lol.

    • Firion Hope

      I like both actually, even if I vastly prefer the style of .hack. Im just excited for that type of thing in general

      • Pyrofrost

        Agreed 100%!

        <3 the style of .hack; and this kind of gadget has the potential to be so awesome. If I could, I would give you a "lazy 8" in upvotes. :3

    • quasadra

      im just confused as to why people mention sao(cant remember how .hack does its user interface). the tech is completely different.

      • Six

        .hack uses a VR headset and a controller.

    • FlameEmperor

      Same heree. I hope they released a new Dot Hack game with this.

    • PoweredByHentai

      The problem here is that there hasn’t been a new .hack game that is “relevant” to the international gaming community. What we got in the past year was an iOS game and I have no idea if that ever went on Android.

      • Kumiko Akimoto

        It is it’s pretty good too

    • ishyg

      I feel you.

    • Ultima-X

      Agreed.

    • natchu96

      As an SAO fan, the amount of people mentioning SAO is still sad :/

    • Raltrios

      As a former .hack fan and a current SAO fan, the number of people mentioning SAO doesn’t surprise me.

    • RichyGaming

      I’d love to play “The World”. Imagine PKers and keywords. More people would actually go on forums too. The most hype thing would be the Tournaments.

      But I’ll be surprised if the damn game wasn’t filled with bugs and viruses. Dat rengeki though…

  • Saphiren

    Linku Starto!

  • pixxxelz

    Sword Art Online for ps4 confirmed..

    • PoweredByHentai

      I would totally play that.

    • BalmungX

      But leave the log out button in the game

  • http://Tree.com/ Busterblader

    C’mon .hack!!!

  • Raze

    I can hear the desktop music from HACK GU!!

  • DesmaX

    Hope there’s at least a way for this to work as some sort of monitor too.

    If it requires work from the dev’s, I can see most of them not caring about it

  • Guest

    I wonder what Gunpei Yokoi would had thought of this, VR in the way to become an industry standard, now with the Oculus Rift team, Valve and now Sony too…

  • lordsofskulls

    I hope that i get to experience .hack/Sword Online experience before i die as a gamer. That is my One of Truest Dreams as a Video Gamer. Ever Since i saw .hack for first time.

    • Lumi

      Hopefully you don’t die BECAUSE of that.

      • Iluz

        doesn’t matter, had VR.
        Srsly, going down while fighting a virtual dragon wouldn’t be that bad, especially if IRL I’ll be old (and I probably will be old by the time something like this comes out. Assuming that I’ll be alive at all, that is) but my avatar is all young n’ funky.

  • MrTyrant

    Here some of the problems with this:

    http://i.imgur.com/yt4Tn9e.png

  • http://epiclyamazing.wordpress.com/ AzureNova

    Finally. It has begun lol

  • Ben Sylvia

    So Sony is trying to innovate before Nintendo this time? This should be fun.

    • kylehyde

      Virtual Boy wants to talk with you

  • Martian Wong

    Hidden ninja in post anyone?

    • Captain Levi

      Me.

      • Martian Wong

        I am wondering is it only me and you sees it or everyone else sees it….

        • Captain Levi

          I have no idea. And the thing ends @ 18 March.
          … Too late.

          • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

            It’s not. Not in PST, it is not.

    • Guest

      Me too! :P
      It seems to be random…

  • Captain Levi

    I want to PK people now.

  • Lucky Dan

    I’m confused at the moment, why are Sony developing the VR headset when the Oclucus Rift and Google Glasses are both way ahead of the development time.

    Just seems like a waste of money no wonder why they are in so balls deep in debt next they are gonna be head deep if they keep on following up and trying to replicate other technology.

    It’s like development the Playstation Move when Wii mote done the same thing only 10 times better

    • PoweredByHentai

      Because the Oculus Rift just ran into a critical component shortage problem and cancelled a whole bunch of pre-orders while Google Glass is more of an AR device than a VR device.

      Also, the Wii mote was a total piece of shit when it comes to fine-grain control. Hence the negative connotation to “waggle controls”.

      • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

        This. Which is a darned shame on the former’s part.

        • PoweredByHentai

          I thought that the Oculus Rift developers would know better than to rely entirely on a single vendor for a critical component.

          At least whatever Oculus Rift games are out seem to be compatible with Morpheus. EVE: Valkyrie, especially.

      • Lucky Dan

        That’s where Nintendo went wrong, they released the gamepad rather than refine and focus what they have.

        Sony VR will fail even if they fell on a critical component shortage unless they bundle it with their next system etc, hell you can play VR hentai games on the Oculus Rift so they are light year aheads in both pre-orders and sales compared to the Sony VR.

        • Guest

          I suppose they could sell the VR headset at loss, just like PS4 and Vita, to try to stimulate sales. But just like you said Oculus Rift solutions might be ahead because of the characteristics the platform it is on; just to say something, modding for games could be crazy with Oculus Rift…

          • Lucky Dan

            You’ve already seen the best “features” of the Oculus Rift already ^_^

        • PoweredByHentai

          This fine gentleman would like to disagree with you:

          https://twitter.com/thuway/status/446304434931249152

          Morpheus represents a first generation attempt at VR. It was in testing, phasing, and conception way before Oculus Rift.— Ahsan Rasheed (@thuway) March 19, 2014

          • Lucky Dan

            But your forgetting one critical part, the MORPHEUS has NO GAMES (seems like the main theme for Sony for the first 5 years of console release) , the Oculus Rift does.

            Sony always does this spread things too far apart and too thin thus never finishing anything. Even Nintendo got the Virtual Boy out in under a year after announcement. Probably be released when Oculus Rift is out in full force full of the best virtual *ahem* girlfriend games on the planet while Morpheous just learnt how to program Pong in 3D.

          • PoweredByHentai

            It is STILL a PROTOTYPE. Your Oculus Rift is also still in Prototype and doesn’t look like it will ever enter mass production.

          • Zero_Destiny

            All right Dan. After all this time, and all these warnings, you still are up to your typical shenanigans.

            Quick to console war things, full of nothing but complaints, arguing with everyone over petty things. We’re done here, you had plenty of chances and warnings. Banned.

    • Wake

      Sony has been sitting on VR tech for a while now. I’m sure the popularity of the Oculus Rift made them take notice and spurred them to finally make use of the said VR tech.

      It’s the same story with the Move. Sony already had the tech even before the reveal of the Wii.

      • Lucky Dan

        Incorrect, they had the idea but they didn’t do anything. Anyone could of thought the dot Hack Virtual Reality head set or the waggle mechanics sure but then your saying in literal words you just gave me “anyone with American Patents should have the supreme right away cause they patented the idea not the product”, so your actually supporting those types of people indirectly and that in a nutshell is what you said.

        Even then the Virtual Boy was released way before those 2, may have sucked sales wise but actually put it in practice.

        But they are coming in second like the Wii mote and VR headset no point in re-releasing technology that is already out there. They done the correct thing with the Blu-ray releasing it first but not with the peripheral which will be non-essential to the system it’s just a second afterthought. If they release it with Sony Playstation 5 if consoles are still around I can see it working but it will not if they release it separately.

    • Kumiko Akimoto

      Because there’s no vr for consoles?

    • Guest

      But unlike the Wii, Crystal Cove isn’t released yet, so they are trying to win this “format” war, basically…

      If they achieve getting their VR headset as standard, it’d basically help in their financials. It’s once again VHS vs. Beta or HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray or MiniDisc vs. MP3 player (?).

      But this time this will have to race against not only to Oculus’ product but to Valve’s VR solution too, strong contender, as they move well around the PC market.

    • shuyai

      Sony are developing VR headset before Oculus Rift(3+year vs 2) anyway development time doesnt matter or are you saying we should support who every doing it first and drop all development on similar product? in that case xbox shouldn’t have been born.

      the bottom line is competition alway makes a product cheaper and better for us as a consumer and the market can easily handle more that 2 or three competitor

      i will reserve my judgment on which is better until they are both released.

  • Hector Velar

    Virtual Boy anyone?

    • PoweredByHentai

      No, Virtual Boy sucked. All laser red LEDs is both confusing and really messes with your eyes regardless of your age.

  • Suicunesol

    …this could present a lot of brand-new problems for the game industry. Immersion in video games could begin to reach an unhealthy level.

    But I do want to find out what the VR headset is like. And I do want to see how it evolves.

    • http://s1.zetaboards.com/Espada_of_Alexandria/index/ konpon568

      This is only the beginning. Besides, this is an obvious evolution to visual displays.

    • PoweredByHentai

      I’m normally not fond of VR headsets but since they said that people who wear glasses can use it, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.

      • MrJc

        Basically for the Oculus Rift headset you can adjust it to your eye sight so no matter how strong the prescription is, you’ll see it clearly

        • PoweredByHentai

          So you have to physically adjust it, right?

          • MrJc

            Yup it’s pretty easy to do tho and you would only need to do it once

          • PoweredByHentai

            Good to know, thanks!

    • ishyg
      • Suicunesol

        Weeeeell…. thanks for sharing that.

        I guess.

  • DragKudo

    What’s up with the ninja?

  • Nitraion

    This might be good tech or bad tech….
    If this tech developed further well like 50-100 years in future VR become stable and real deal…. then i’m not gonna surprised human never out to “real” world
    anyway game like .Hack, Digimon,SAO or Log horizon might be possible now?
    In the past Nintendo already got this idea by making virtual boy but the tech aren’t there yet in that time… i dunno about this..
    i will be fun if they can use it to playstasion home
    also doesn’t VR in this stage somehow like watch TV at very close range?

    boy i can imagine very dizzy after use it :X

    • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

      Yeah, they’re basically eye headphones

      • Morricane

        I definitely am missing the component of *smell* then :)

        • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

          …someday..

  • Ferrick

    the vision of actually playing THE WORLD is becoming a reality…

    • J_Joestar

      does that include the “getting stuck in THE WORLD” part too?

      • Morricane

        Well, we already are stuck somewhere…:)

  • Ultima-X

    I’m guessing it’s going to take at least 1-2 until people forget this thing just like how they did with Move, 3DTVs, and Vita?

  • rpgmaniac

    Can I hope that in 10 years from now we will be able to jump into Aincrad & experience SAO in all it’s “VR” glory? :P

  • s07195

    Freaking ninjas… They move so quickly.
    …Stupid time zone differences. T_T

  • SirRichard

    All very well and good, but does any of it really have any application or appeal in games outside of first-person ones?

    • http://nabe.kokidokom.net/ Cybersteel

      Games with questionable content?

      • PoweredByHentai

        I second this wholeheartedly. :P

    • shuyai

      i dont think it have to be first person game, it can be like any 3D tv but with 360 degree view and allow you to immense yourself much more than standard TV

      and for certain 3D video/game with questionable content like Cybersteel said. and lol at anyone who say that never cross their mind

    • Guest

      If it works as a monitor, I might use it to get the ultimate Excel experience! Extreme spreadsheets!!! :P

  • http://nabe.kokidokom.net/ Cybersteel

    Neural interface would be the next step.

    • J_Joestar

      They have been planning it for a while actually
      http://youtu.be/p0DEfwHrd4A

      note that at one point they even mention mind control…

    • darke

      Yeah, add me as one disinterested. I can’t see 3d as it is, so I can’t imagine this will be all that useful to me, I want my neuraljack. :P

  • fairysun

    VR in God of War III? Hmm, I know the first thing I will try when the time comes. Now, I need to work on a save game before that happens XD
    (I swear, this is the tamest SFW picture I can find on her)

  • Prithivi

    Great, I found Strider the day after the contest ends D=
    P.S: Sorry for the offtopic v_v

  • sakusakusakura_nyo

    Sony’s VR headset will come out 5 years before Oculus Rift.

  • Samsara09

    From someone who is always marveled with those new techs,this is gonna be great…but,from a pratical standpoint,this device is somewhat useless.

  • specs10

    I can’t wait to see what the creators of senran kagura do with this tech.

  • Ni ~Algidus~

    CC2 you know exactly what to do now.

  • lackofstyle

    wait what?

  • Aerione

    AFAIK first .hack came out 2002.
    I believe you need something to support your claim.

  • revenent hell

    SAO came to life as a novel in 2009 (for print) sure the “web series” for it was in 2002 the same as when the .Hack novel, anime and game was released but technically under the circumstances unless one was around or can actively hunt down Japanese sites for the exact month I believe even the SAO web series didn’t appear until the fall of 2002 of which the anime of .hack sign was already airing on Japanese television (April) and the game was being released (June) both of which come before the fall seasonally.

    Its safe to say SAO did not come out before .hack. Unless you want to count the web series and even still the creator pulled it so the full date upon its real first appearance is hard to determine other than it was as well in 2002 when the .hack series was already being released on medias other than a web series for the masses at large as an anime,novel and video game which tells me it was in the works long before SAO as well.

  • Six

    Yeah… .hack started in 2002.

  • PoweredByHentai

    I believe the analogy to this would be something like James Cameron’s Avatar 3D movie. That movie sold a ton of 3D-theater specific tickets because the 3D effect was done well and did not pose any discomfort to its viewers. When done well, the audience was essentially captivated by the sense of “being in the movie”.

    The fact that they have a demo of EVE: Valkyrie where you are a fighter pilot lends credence to this.

  • Weskalia .

    Cool story bro.

  • revenent hell

    He could have been writing it from birth for all it matters it didn’t get access to the public at large until at the earliest some time in the middle of 2002 which the premise of .hack could have been in its creation/thought or rough draft stages itself as well before that and frankly probably was.

    Generally dates for publication or licensing tend to be what matters most when figuring out “what came first” in things like this. Just because he was creating it doesn’t mean much when there’s no valid date of its entry before 2002.

    If it had been published with a date predating .hack I would give you that SAO came first but realistically it didn’t and what makes proof worse is he pulled the web comic so most would go upon its print release date of 2009 which is unarguably way past 2002.

    Sure it was a web comic in 2002 but it could also be said it was a rough draft since there where changes in the print version so regardless of it being “in the works” or not is really rather moot since lots of stuff around the world are “in the works” it tends to be what’s made available first that matters and in this case signs point to .hack

  • Lucky Dan

    Sorry mate I have to disagree with you a whole 4 part game came in a span in 2 years with many hours of gameplay has a more substantial effect than a shitty webcomic buried in the depths of his basement, so no you can’t credit him as being first.

  • http://gentlerobot.com/ Gentle Robot

    Oh man, bad choice for an analogy. EVERYONE went to see Avatar. Then, poof, that was it. Everyone stopped caring about 3D movies.

  • Lucky Dan

    Actually I kinda like Accel World alot more better than SAO the characters are more fleshed out and the main character isn’t a Gary Stu.

  • PoweredByHentai

    People stopped caring about 3D movies because the other me-toos screwed up 3D royally.

    Watching Avatar in 3D was not painful to my eyes.

    Watching Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Part 1 in 3D was painful to my eyes. It was very clearly a movie that was finished on regular movie format but had pretty bad 3D effects added to it.

  • J_Joestar

    filled with wannabe kiritos….

  • AuraGuyChris

    And massive real-life death counts.

  • sakusakusakura_nyo

    Just like Final Fantasy 14.

  • kaotron

    yeah, I heard about it too.

    I understand that sao may have a big fanbase but are the fans so unoriginal that hundreds of player name their character kirito..

  • PoweredByHentai

    I’m more of a Shiroe-type of person.

  • Anko Is Furious (King T.G.P)

    Released in 2002 and was in development since 2000 lol.

  • revenent hell

    With all do respect I enjoy both series but thanks for assuming otherwise.
    I just don’t let my enjoyment of something cloud the facts in to what I want them to be.

  • PoweredByHentai

    The new VR techs ARE expensive, regardless of which company you’re looking at.

    Because the technology involved with integrating the whole thing is new.

    It also comes down to which parts/components make it into the final build. For example, 5 inch LCDs are roughly 12 dollars each when bought in bulk whereas the same size OLEDs are about 45 dollars each.

    This is kind of why the Vita went from Samsung’s AMOLED screen to an LCD screen with its revision.

  • http://www.HealyHQ.com/ HealyHQ

    Nice reference. I am saddened that I’ve seen so few people talk about LH. It’s all SAO this and SAO that. I love all the shows about VR, myself, so I’d just like to see them ALL get some love and not just the most mainstream one. :)

    Of course, I think we can all agree dothack is the best franchise on the subject, yes? :P

  • PoweredByHentai

    Depends on which .hack you are referring to. As a whole? I’m ambivalent about it. Regarding certain specific iterations? Sure.

    But seriously, Log Horizon needs more love and I NEED my Akatsuki dakimakura. She’s so huggably cute. XD

    What really sold me on the Log Horizon anime was the ending theme. Instantly ordered it from my local Kinokuniya store.

  • lordsofskulls

    I be fine with VR Death XD o.o it my dream after to experiance true VR ;3

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