Two very important announcements were made in the last 24 hours: Sony's Project Morpheus and Oculus VR's second Rift development kit. Given that Project Morpheus is for the PlayStation console and the Oculus Rift on PC and mobile devices, you can't really compare one against the other.
Or can you?
Unfortunately, Sony hasn't released the full specs of the current prototype, so we have to take what we've received so far and run with the speculation.
According to the specs of the Oculus Rift DK2, the resolution is 960 x 1080 per eye, the refresh rates are 75 Hz, 72 Hz and 60 Hz, and the persistence is 2 ms, 3 ms and full. The viewing optics also provide a nominal 100 degree field of view.
The headset also features a gyroscope, accelerometer and a magnetometer, with an update rate of 1000 Hz. Positional tracking is handled by a near infrared CMOS sensor with an update rate of 60 Hz.
This new development kit costs $350 USD.
"DK2 isn't identical to the consumer Rift, but the fundamental building blocks for great VR are there. All the content developed using DK2 will work with the consumer Rift. And while the overall experience still needs to improve before it's consumer-ready, we're getting closer everyday — DK2 is not the Holodeck yet, but it's a major step in the right direction," states Oculus VR in a recent blog.
The team also said that it's deep into development of the consumer Rift, and have a lot more planned including improvements to comfort, resolution, tracking, software, ergonomics, optics, industrial design, and the overall experience.
"There's no cutting corners or 'good enough' when it comes to VR; the consumer Rift needs to be perfect and we're dedicated to getting it right," the blog reads. "We're moving as fast as possible and promise it'll be worth the wait."
Meanwhile, Sony revealed during GDC 2014 that its Project Morpheus prototype HMD provides a 1080p resolution and 90 degree field of view. This unit also provides accelerometer and gyroscope sensors, as well as a PlayStation camera that tracks head orientation and head movement.
This device also uses new 3D audio technology that re-creates stereoscopic sounds in all directions and changes in real-time depending on the wearer's head orientation. The device is also compatible with the DUALSHOCK 4 wireless controller and PlayStation Move, making for an interesting VR experience.
"The prototype for Project Morpheus is the culmination of our work over the last 3+ years as we've refined our vision for VR," states Sony's blog. "This prototype will serve as the first development kit for PS4 developers that are as enthusiastic about this new medium as we are."
The freshly announced Project Morpheus isn't all that surprising thanks to all the insider jabber. What's also not surprising is the timing of its reveal. There's seemingly no competition between Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus, but they will definitely compete for your hard earned dollars if you're both a PC gamer and a PlayStation owner. Oh, the choices.
The problem Oculus VR might face may be Sony's wallet. Sure the company is facing tough times, but it undoubtedly has the funds to reach out and grab gamers by the eyeballs thanks to advertising dollars. The company might actually be willing to take a hit in the pocket with each Morpheus sold just to win gamers over to the freshly baked fourth-generation PlayStation console. What's more, expect Sony, when the time is right, to offer demos in stores like GameStop to generate some pre-release heat.
We've already said that 2014 will be a huge year for gaming. Now we have two major players in the VR field. That said, Microsoft will undoubtedly reveal its own project sometime this year -- maybe at E3 2014 -- that's tied into Xbox Live.