The Project Morpheus prototype sitting on a pedestal
Sony’s Project Morpheus prototype

SAN FRANCISCO–At today’s Game Developer Conference in San Francisco, Shuhei Yoshida, the President of Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertaiment, took to the stage to announce that the Japanese electronics giant is jumping into the virtual reality space.

Yoshida unveiled Project Morpheus, a prototype version of the company’s attempt to bring PS4 users an immersive, 3D gaming experience. In order to bring users a sense of presence, Sony’s prototype sports a 1080p screen and an audio system that can simulate 60 virtual speakers around a user. The system relies on the Kinect-like PlayStation Camera to track users in space, using lights on the console’s Dualshock and Move controllers to identify where a user is.

At the moment, the prototype will require a wired connection to a PS4 console, and a PS4 will only be able to support one of the Project Morpheus units right now.

Sony’s Morpheus headset won’t be available for users yet, but developers will have a chance to go hands-on with the headgear this week at GDC.

The headset will put Sony in competition with Oculus VR, the makers of the popular Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, which recently announced that it is opening an engineering office in Seattle. While Oculus has an early foothold in the market, Sony has a consistent platform in the PS4. Rather than having to worry about multiple different PC setups, developers will only have to concern themselves with ensuring that their game runs on Sony’s console.

While Microsoft is rumored to be working on a similar product, Sony’s announcement puts the company out ahead in the virtual reality space. With Valve throwing its weight behind Oculus, and Sony pressing its development forward, it doesn’t look like Microsoft can sit on the sidelines of virtual reality for much longer.

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