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Virtual reality gets real with Sony's Morpheus (pictures)

Sony shows off the Morpheus VR headset at the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco.

James Martin
James Martin is the Managing Editor of Photography at CNET. His photos capture technology's impact on society - from the widening wealth gap in San Francisco, to the European refugee crisis and Rwanda's efforts to improve health care. From the technology pioneers of Google and Facebook, photographing Apple's Steve Jobs and Tim Cook, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai, to the most groundbreaking launches at Apple and NASA, his is a dream job for any documentary photography and journalist with a love for technology. Exhibited widely, syndicated and reprinted thousands of times over the years, James follows the people and places behind the technology changing our world, bringing their stories and ideas to life.
James Martin
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Shuhei Yoshida unveils an updated Morpheus

Sony's Shuhei Yoshida shows off the updated Morpheus virtual reality headset at the GDC in San Francisco on Tuesday.

"This looks like last year's model, but under the hood we've put a lot of improvements," said Yoshida, president of the company's Worldwide Studios for Sony Computer Entertainment. This version of Morpheus "is close to the final consumer product," he said.

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Sony's Morpheus

Enhancements include a new 5.7-inch display and a faster refresh rate -- to serve up virtual worlds that seem close to real.

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The virtual and the real

People wearing the Morpheus VR headset will have a hard time telling the difference between virtual reality and the real world, Yoshida told the audience of gaming developers.

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Inside the game

CNET's Nick Statt gets a first look at Sony's Morpheus VR virtuality reality headset. His verdict: "Morpheus feels the closest to being able to sustain a longer-term gaming experience."

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Morpheus at

CNET's Eric Franklin gets a first look at Sony's Morpheus virtuality reality headset during the 2015 Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco.

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A lighter headset

Donning the Morpheus eye-piece, headband and separate earphones delivers a completely immersive experience.

Sony said the headset has been made lighter so that players do not find the unit cumbersome or uncomfortable to use.

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1920 x 1080 OLED display

The headset has a 1920 x 1080 OLED display with a 120hz refresh rate. The 5.7-inch display gives wearers a 100 degree field of view.

The update "improves the visual experience and tracking accuracy, both of which are critical to achieving sense of presence," according to Sony. In other words, the virtual can feel more real.

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A single band design

Sony made the Morpheus headset easier to put on and remove. A single band design supports the weight of the unit on the top of the head, taking weight and pressure off the face.

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A more lifelike experience

This updated version also delivers a more practical feature -- a slideable display that lets you re-enter the real world without having to remove the head gear.

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The Heist

CNET's Nick Statt  on Tuesday checks out The Heist, a short game demo produced by Sony's London studio, that had Statt at the mercy of a thug preparing to torture information out of him.

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Motion-control remotes

Unlike virtual reality competitor Oculus, Sony has its own motion-control remotes that delivered what CNET's Nick Statt called "sharp and reliable hand motions to the VR gameplay."

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Available 2016

The virtual reality headset for PlayStation 4  will reach consumers the first half of 2016, according to Sony, which declined to say how much it will cost.

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