Sony ‘Morpheus’ Holds Promise for Porn Producers

Jun 11, 2014 12:00 PM PST

LOS ANGELES — While next generation wearable displays such as Google Glass and Oculus Rift have made headlines and piqued the curiosity of adult developers, Sony has snuck up on the marketplace with an immersive device of its own.

Dubbed “Project Morpheus,” the virtual reality (VR) system takes the PlayStation 4 (PS4) entertainment center to what the company calls the next level of immersion that demonstrates the future of gaming.

The PS4 is a popular platform that reportedly sold more than 6 million units within three months of its release and is continuing to show strong sales. Known primarily as a gaming system, Sony is evolving the PlayStation to become an all-in-one system for media delivery and consumption. Early indicators of this trend include the vast numbers of PS3 adopters that use the device as an inexpensive alternative for Blu-ray Disc playback, along with online gaming and other interactive uses.

Developed by Sony Computer Entertainment (SCE), the Morpheus prototype features a 5-inch LCD display with a full HD resolution of 1920x1080 pixels — split to provide each eye with a 960x1080-pixel panel and a 90-degree field of view. The device includes advanced sensors such as an accelerometer and gyroscope, plus 3D audio, a “Social Screen” and ability to connect via HDMI and USB interfaces.

“At SCE we view innovation as an opportunity to build on our mission to push the boundaries of play,” said Shuhei Yoshida, President of SCE Worldwide Studios. “Project Morpheus is the latest example of innovation from SCE, and we’re looking forward to its continued development and the games that will be created as development kits get into the hands of content creators.”

According to the company, Morpheus enables developers to create a sense of "presence," where users feel that they are physically inside the virtual world. A spokesperson described this sense of presence as “a window into another world that heightens the emotions gamers experience as they play.”

Bringing heightened emotions to viewers is not the exclusive province of gamers, however, with porn promoters eagerly awaiting “the next big thing,” and immersive, wearable systems high on the list of these future technological possibilities.

On the technical side, Sony states that Morpheus’ visor style head-mounted display works seamlessly with PlayStation Camera for a unique VR experience. Inertial sensors accurately track head orientation and movements, so when the user’s head rotates, the virtual world image rotates naturally in real time. 

Morpheus is compatible with the PlayStation Move (PS Move) Motion Controller, allowing the device to reproduce movement and to visualize the user’s hands and the virtual object they are holding — so the user feels as though they are actually interacting with their virtual world — a feeling boosted through unique 3D audio technology from SCE. 

“In addition to sounds coming from front, behind, left and right, Morpheus recreates stereoscopic sounds heard from below and above the players, such as footsteps climbing up stairs below them, or engine noises of helicopters flying overhead,” the spokesperson explains. “Sounds that players hear change in real-time depending on their head orientation, creating a highly realistic audio environment within an immersive 360-degree virtual world.”

Sony is quick to note that these specifications and designs are subject to change.

A new software development kit will help developers create Morpheus-compatible content.

Only time will tell whether or not that SDK will find a home in adult developer’s toolboxes, but Sony is setting the stage for widespread adoption of what is poised to be the first mass-market virtual headset — and as such, its evolution will be closely watched. 

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