The Perfect Price – Sony VR Headset

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Now that the dust has settled and the news from GDC has finally spread to the farthest reaches of the world wide web, it seems like a perfect time to discuss the probable price for the Sony VR Headset known as Project Morpheus. Here at PS Nation we conducted a poll to see what price point you would be happy with when buying just the Sony VR Headset. We now have ‘the perfect price.’

Before I get to the results it is important to go over a few points. This new technology isn’t cheap, it has a 5-inch LCD display with a resolution of 1920xRGBx1080 (960xRGBx1080 per eye) which gives a 90 degree viewing angle. Custom 3D audio technology has been built to help immerse the user in the 3D world.

Another important consideration to remember is that this isn’t a stand alone unit, it needs the PS4 camera and benefits from a couple of Move controllers so the likelihood of seeing a bundle is quite high. Not forgetting the fact that consumer awareness in this type of technology is quite low since the last major entity in this field was the film Lawnmower Man, less said about that the better.

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After checking the results* I have found that a massive 50.75% of people would pay $299 (£249) which is the same as the Oculus Rift Dev Kit and a 40.3% of votes picked the lower $199 (£149) price which would probably mean Sony sells it at a loss. The remaining 9% would happily pay the same price as the PS4 itself, $399 (£349).**

Taking all of this into consideration it looks like a price somewhere between the two favorites would please the most people.

So the perfect price for the Sony VR Headset is $249 (£199).

I’m sure Sony will have their own internal discussions about the price but the above seems reasonable, especially if it comes with a game or mini-game collection. But this price is from gamers who know what a Move controller is and don’t think that an Oculus Rift is ‘what happened at the beginning of the Marvel Avengers film, that let in Loki‘.

There are many more considerations when coming up with the final price. One being the general consumer, who might be buying it for their loved one or even themselves and are less inclined to spend so much on a new piece of technology. Because of this, Sony might decide to sell the hardware at a loss and hopefully make their money back on the games instead. But they also might not be in a position to take such a hit on an unknown quantity, they have shareholders to answer to at the end of the day!

There is also the diverse range of things this system could do. It is already known they are trying their hardest to have movies work effectively in the device, which could be amazing if done correctly and help in selling the system to a wider audience.

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What are your thoughts on the findings? Let us know in the comments below and don’t forget you can also hear what Glenn and Josh have to say about Project Morpheus and more on the podcast, episode 363 – Don’t Spoil Me.

*at time of writing.
**Ignoring US to UK exchange rates, based on UK PS4 price equivalent.

[UPDATE: I had incorrectly mentioned it had 2 LCD screen, when it only has one. Thanks [email protected] on Twitter for noticing.]
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  • leeorv

    This definitely rings true to me. 250$ is no joke, but it is also low enough to stay attractive, especially to tech enthusiasts like myself.

    The real question here is this: Seeing how the morpheus will possibly require both the PS4 Camera and the Move controller (for games that want truer hand-based motion control than is comfortable with a DS4), how would that factor into the price? would 250$ include a move controller AND the camera? multiple SKU’s with varying inclusions?

    Also, an interesting question is – since this is basically a dumbed down version of sony’s personal viewing platform (http://store.sony.com/wearable-hdtv-2d-3d-virtual-7.1-surround-sound-zid27-HMZT3W/cat-27-catid-3D-Personal-Viewer), which costs an insane amount of money, would it be possible for them to allow the morpheus to be used as a personal viewing platform for playing regular games on PS4?

    • ChazzH69

      I would expect them to be evaluating every option with Morpheus including being able to play/view normal games and films.

      I hope they show more of this at E3, maybe even have a date for it.

      • leeorv

        I don’t think it’s close enough to being final product quality in terms of production cost per unit and infrastructure, but it definitely seems to be headed in that direction.

        I predict we’ll see it on stage with a generic launch window (“coming 2015” or the sort).

        • ChazzH69

          Agreed.

    • Makai

      I dont’ know if I would call Morpheus a dumbed down Head Mounted Display. If anything it’s just a more economical model designed for gaming.

      • leeorv

        I meant dumbed down in terms of hardware components – no Audio output, no HDMI input, no image processing (I’m assuming here) etc’

        • Makai

          I want it to work with the PS3. Otherwise I’ll mostly end up using it for FFXIV.

          Audio output is in the speakers surrounding your head… or the console itself…

          I don’t know why you need it to have image processing. They are tiny screens. What processing is needed exactly?

          • merri

            The display size is irrelevant; it’s the resolution of the displays, as well as the barrel distortion that must be applied to the image in order to utilize the optics within the HMD to give the appearance that things are real.

            These are VR headsets, not just head mounted media displays. They use optics to make the images appear real with a wide FOV, and realistic depth, etc. There’s the need for a breakout box to do some image processing because you have to make the game look like this — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mImcRHsdAvk#t=164

        • Subterflume

          You are assuming. There’s a box that does image processing and pipes out an undistorted image to a tv.

          • leeorv

            Wow, someone’s being touchy!

            I’ll respond to one comment, but reference both of your comments.

            First of all, I’m not arguing with anyone about anything, I don’t know where you got that from. I’m having a discussion about Morpheus as an interested consumer and playstation fan.

            Second, when Sony’s regular head-mounted display costs 1K$, and PM is being suggested by the poll to be 200-400$, it’s pretty clear that there’s a stark difference in hardware between the two. My early understanding was that the Morpheus hardware is loosely based on the HMZ hardware due to Shuhei Yoshida’s comments, and that’s the opinion I voiced – that it’s an HMZ with reduced hardware capabilities (such as inputs and processing capabilities) since they are not needed as the Morpheus is not a standalone screen, it uses data that’s already processed by the PS4 / sends data to be processed by the PS4. I didn’t mean that the hardware was lacking or bad, I obviously can’t judge that without having used it.

            And about the box, it is not significantly clearer to me that this box is only there for the prototype, and is most likely used to output the Morpheus’ image to an additional screen for development/press coverage purposes, I am now even more certain than before that the final product will not feature a processing box.

          • Makai

            When you say “dumbed down” and you’re basically describing it the way you are in this post, people think you are comparing like the Wii Mini to the Wii.

            Or like comparing a Google Nexus Tablet to a Leap Frog one.

            In reality it’s like comparing a PS3 or a PS4 to a Vita. It’s a different product, different choices and another option.

            At the end of the day though all I want is to play video games without light waking my wife up or having to fiddle with the light settings on the t.v. and at a reasonable price. $200 dollars for a retarded down product I’ll take.

            As long as I can see, as long as I can read, as long as I don’t do damage to my eyes, and get headaches real quick that’s all I ask.

        • merri

          It’s not dumbed down. It just has different features, operates in completely different ways. While the HMZ is using more expensive tech, the VR HMDs are producing extremely new, compelling experiences in comparison. So, in that regard, you might consider the HMZ to be the “dumbed down” device despite its cost.

          Additionally, one of the only things that make the HMZ so much more expensive is the OLED micro-displays. Not many devices use those, so they are not produced en masse, along with some other factors, making them quite expensive.

          I wouldn’t call the VR HMDs dumbed down in comparison though; merely more consumer accessible, VR appropriated, and at least as equally cleverly designed.

    • Jessika S.

      So much for you being a tech enthusiast, the Morphious and the Wearable HDTV, 2D/3D, Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound headset are two completely different things. I actually own one, which I got to use for long trips but it now just seats in it’s box. If you ever try one of this on and then use a Oculus VR headset (which I also own a dev kit of) you’ll see that you can’t compare them, one just looks like you have a giant screen in front of you while the other feels like your completely immersed in a new world. I have not tried the morphious but I assume it’s pretty much the same as using the Oculus.

      • leeorv

        I don’t know what you’re basing “Tech Entuasiast” on, I haven’t tried the wearable HDTV, but I have tried oculus, and read a lot on the wearable headset.

        I do know however, that early prototypes for the morpheus were just an HMZ with a Move ductaped to it, Shuhei Yoshida said that himself when he talked about it.

        Seeing how the Morpheus doesn’t replace the HDTV in that no input HDMI goes into it, and that they said that it doesn’t have any built-in audio output (you need headphones) whereas I believe the HMZ does have it, it seems to me like this is a scaled down version of the HMZ hardware with modifications to allow for head tracking and cost-effectiveness.

        • androvsky

          The tech Sony uses in Morpheus and the HMZ are almost completely different. Yes, Sony used HMZ early on for testing prototypes, but they appear to have ditched that idea when the Oculus Rift hit the scene. The HMZ line uses two very tiny, very expensive OLED panels with complicated, expensive and heavy optics to give the appearance of a large screen. Project Morpheus, like Oculus Rift, uses relatively large and cheap mobile phone screens with cheap optics to widen the field of view and put the focal distance far away. This warps the image, so the input imagery is warped in such a way that it looks good in the headset.

          • leeorv

            Having never used an HMZ, I didn’t know that. This is exactly the big difference between the two that I was having trouble understanding, which seems to be the reason behind the price difference. Thank you!

        • Jessika S.

          This two gadgets seat on completely different sides of the table, they are both wearable headsets made by Sony but that doesn’t make them comparable or the same. If you tried the HMZ and the Oculus you would know that. (The HMZ is no VR headset)

          The Morpheus has no inputs on the headset itself because it’s processing is done by a separate box that sits between the headset and the PS4 with an HDMI in and out.

          …and I base the “Tech Enthusiast” on the fact that you said “especially to tech enthusiasts like myself.”

          • leeorv

            I forgot that I wrote that, but in any case, I stand by it. I am a tech enthusiast. Doesn’t mean I have to know everything about Morpheus and the HMZ. What adrovsky wrote below is what I was missing about this.

            Also, what are you basing your “box between the morpheus and PS4” on? I thought it was directly connected to the PS4, is it not? well, we’ll see when the product matures (assuming it does)

          • Jessika S.

            EuroGamer “Box between the Morpheus and PS4”:
            http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2014-03-20-how-does-morpheus-shape-up-to-oculus

            That’s pretty much how you connect the Oculus to your PC as well, lets also remember we haven’t yet seen the retail version of the Morpheus so hopefully will see more of it next week at E3. I can see what your trying say.

          • Subterflume

            God, can’t you do a cursory amount of research before opining like a know-it-all about it? Yes, there’s a goddamn box. Look at any article that examines Morpheus in depth and it will be described.

          • merri

            Currently, there’s a breakout box just like the Oculus dev kits are using now.

  • William

    As for including a game or some sort of mini game, why not patch in a way to use the Playroom as the mini game.its already there, it’s free so it won’t cost them much to just patch it.

    • Makai

      How would that even work. You wouldn’t be able to see your own face, so I don’t think it would have the appeal the way you think it would. Maybe if they interlaced a CG head over it like a Sly Cooper mask or something…

  • Makai

    If I can’t play ALL games on this, I don’t want it. I don’t need motion control, if it’s not at least as functional for gaming as a Headplay unit for less than a Headplay costs, (saw it advertised in Game Informer over 10 years ago wanted 1 ever since and now they are out of business) it will just depress me. I want something that costs about the same as a new monitor that i can play in the bedroom without disturbing my wife.

    I was just about to buy one of those 3D Playstation Displays before they went out of style, but I had to save up money, and weeks later when I saved the money… it was too late.

    • leeorv

      Depending on the final product specification, this may or may not be the case. I struggle to see how a product priced in the 200-400$ range (which is what I expect Morpheus to cost) can compete with Sony’s own HMZ head-mounted HD display, which is priced at 1000$.

      so don’t expect a revolution there, cautious optimism is the way to go.

      • Makai

        I don’t want a revolution.

        I just want a reasonably priced set of screens that won’t wake my wife when I play games on them. That’s what I’m asking for. Headplay were $400 dollars 10 years ago, their competition (they went out of business) is either poorly reviewed or way too expensive.

        I just want something as comparable as Head Play and the same price or cheaper (since that’s what is supposed to happen with electronics over time)

        Why the hell are these things more expensive than tablets. What the hell could they possibly do or require electronically that requires them to be more expensive than a tablet?

        • merri

          The VR headsets, I take it you don’t follow development very closely, are not going to cost more than a tablet. I think you’re referring to Sony’s HMZ head-mounted displays, which are not appropriated for VR in any way, and are expensive because they use micro display technology, of which is not widely used or mass produced, which is one of a few reasons that it costs so much.

          The Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus will allow you to play games exactly as you describe, but about 20 times better than you’re expecting. These head-mounted displays will not support every single game immediately though, but there will likely be ways to play older games, that haven’t had support thrown in, in ways like this — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d_ccpGmUAP8#t=403

      • merri

        Their HMZ uses OLED micro display tech. They cost a lot to produce, and are not produced en masse, which is just one of many factors why they cost so much.

        Their Project Morpheus design, mirroring that of the Oculus Rift, will likely cost similar to the production costs of the OR, which is around $200 to $300.

    • merri

      You’re not going to be able to play ALL games on this. At least not at first. Pretty much any game can be played in VR in some sort of application/implementation, but not everything is going to immediately support/be supported by VR right off the bat. You can get into early and experience the completely new, compelling, amazing experiences in gaming never before existing, or you can wait some years until the ridiculous stipulation that every single game should be playable in VR.

  • Bliss Seeker

    BEHOLD, MY BROTHERS!

    THE TIME HAS COME FOR REVOLUTION… NO… THE EVOLUTION OF GAMING!

    …I ASK OF ONLY ONE THING, BROTHERS…

    JOIN ME… JOIN ME IN THIS ADVENTURE TO GREATNESS, GLORY AND GRANDEUR!

  • Solid Snake

    theres no way it will only be £200 when they have an inferior headset already available which costs almost a grand.

    • Subterflume

      It uses different screen technology that the smartphone bizness made affordable. Apples and oranges.

    • merri

      Their HMZs use OLED micro-displays which is largely why they cost so much. The OR and PM designs are very consumer accessible regarding cost.

  • Subterflume

    Yeah, isn’t it “hilarious” how we can actually do reasonable VR now without spending 20k or having a government grant to slide 10 polygons around. Of course it’ll be expensive at first, but costs will come down as it picks up steam.

  • kontis

    If Sony does everything they promised it will cost at least $500 to manufacture.

    Yoshida wanted it to be wireless, which means they will have to use WHDI or WirelessHD (wifi is NOT an option – the bandwidth is too low and would require video encoding which takes too much time). The cheapest, unreliable transmitters with this tech cost $100…

    Sony also presented Morpheus with a HDMI splitter that also had good optical distortion correction for a TV view – they are proud of this feature. Off-the-shelf devices like this are ridiculously expensive, not consumer electronics (but I assume mass produced version could be reasonably priced).

  • Subterflume

    The Project Morpheus prototypes do not use two screens. Do your research, Chazz Harrington.

    • ChazzH69

      I did. Sadly I cannot find the press release I worked from and any specs were subject to change anyway so I updated the article. Thank you for the comments and have a nice day.