Project Morpheus first-impressions: PS4 VR-headset in motion

In Project Morpheus is Sony's vision for Virtual Reality Gaming, set in the universe of SCE. Here Sony Computer Entertainment brings a virtual reality headset to the PlayStation 4, complete with full PlayStation Move and DualShock 4 integration for a top-notch virtual reality experience. This week at GDC 2014, we've gotten the opportunity to experience Project Morpheus up close – and tonight we'll be giving it another full whirl for a full "hands-on" experience as well – many, many months before it's ready for the consumer market.

While we're not expecting this device to be released in final form inside 2014, we can expect many, if not most, of the features we're seeing and hearing today to stay in play. One of these is 3D audio technology. Because this headset integrates speakers in several locations, we're able to hear sounds coming from in front of, behind, to the left and to the right of us.

This system works with real-time changes as well. If you hear someone sneaking up behind you in metal boots, you can turn your head to hear clangs from the left, the right, or straight in front of you. Thus far the audio experience seems spot-on, and certainly something we wish we had more of in our everyday gaming experience.

Several games have been announced working with Project Morpheus from the outset. One was Thief, developed by Square Enix, the same Thief we recently reviewed, a game that seems to have been custom-fitted for virtual reality simulations. Another is The Castle, made by Sony Computer Entertainment, as well as The Deep – the former making heavy use of the PS Move, while you'll control the basics in The Deep with a DualShock 4.

Finally there's EVE Valkyrie, from CCP, made by the same folks that brought you EVE Online, setting us here in the cockpit of an EVE Online spaceship. As it stands, the original Oculus Rift co-publishing deal seems to have been exclusive to the PC, while Sony still had wiggle-room to bring it to the PlayStation 4 here with virtual reality.

With PS Move, or PlayStation Move, if you prefer, you'll be able to swing a sword (in The Castle) – or a lightsaber, if we're lucky at some point in the future if Disney decides they're willing. Just as you were able to use the PS Move on the PlayStation 3, here we're seeing the unit integrated into PlayStation 4 gameplay once again.

While there isn't much chat about the PS Move for the PS4 thus far, it does already work – directions are up through Sony as we speak. Grab one right now and you'll be able to use the PS Move as a standard controller.

The entire experience is exhilarating. With a full-coverage 5-inch RGB 1920 x 1080 panel (960 x 1080 per eye) and field of view at a future-ready 90-degrees, this experience is just as massive as Oculus Rift's DK2. While it's not all as perfectly smooth as Oculus Rift, since we're still ever-so-limited by the PS4's abilities in this unit, it's still not bringing us the same queasy feeling we had with the first Oculus Rift experience.

With Project Morpheus it would appear that Sony does more than just bringing their DualShock 4 and PS Move controllers to their full potential (given their always-on lights, that is), they're entering a whole new era of gaming. As Oculus Rift is to PC gaming, Project Morpheus is to console gaming, it would seem. Now we only wish we'd be getting access sooner than 2015!

This is only the first dishing we've got of the PlayStation 4-aimed Project Morpheus. In the near future we'll be bringing you our full Project Morpheus hands-on to you up close and personal. You can also stick around for our full Game Developers Convention coverage in our GDC 2014 tag portal all week long!