Sony to release Playstation 4 virtual reality headset in 2016

Sony revealed the latest prototype of its virtual reality headset today, when it announced it will release the Playstation 4-compatible device to consumers in the first half of 2016.

The Project Morpheus prototype displayed at the Game Developer Conference (GDC) doesn’t look much different from the version revealed at the conference in 2014, but it now sports a 5.7-inch screen with a 1920 x RGB x 1080 pixel OLED display, 120 frames per second refresh rate and 100-degree field of view. Latency is less than half that of the earlier model — less than 18 milliseconds, which Worldwide Studios president Shu Yoshida said surpasses the 20 milliseconds at which people can no longer tell virtual reality from the real world, according to Ars Technica.

A rendering of Sony's Project Morpheus virtual reality headset, released during the 2015 GDC conference.

A rendering of Sony’s Project Morpheus virtual reality headset, released during the 2015 GDC conference.

Playstation 4 was designed to output games at 120 frames per second, which the company believes to be ideal for virtual reality, Yoshida said, according to Ars. Games can be made at 60 frames per second and still render in virtual reality at 120 frames.

The headset tracks its surroundings in 360 degrees with 9 LEDs. The goggles can flip up to quickly jump out of virtual reality into the real world. There’s no word on a price just yet.

Project Morpheus is up against an increasing number of virtual reality headsets, including the famous Oculus Rift and newcomers announced just this week like HTC and Valve’s Vive and Nvidia’s Titan. The Oculus developer kit 2’s screen is a lower 1080p and runs at 75 frames per second. The company’s more advanced Crescent Bay prototype doesn’t have publicly available specs, but Oculus previously planned on 1440p and 90 frames per second, according to Fast Company. Further specs on Vive and Titan should emerge at GDC this week.

One of the demos available for Sony's Project Morpheus at GDC 2015.

One of the demos available for Sony’s Project Morpheus at GDC 2015.

UK teen arrested over Xbox and Playstation attacks, swatting

Police in the U.K. have arrested another man in connection with the disruption of Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network over the Christmas period.

The 18-year-old was arrested near Liverpool on suspicion of hacking and also of “swatting” – the practice of calling armed police tactical units to a target’s house to address a made-up threat. It sounds as though the swatting target was in the U.S., as a spokesman for the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (Serocu) described “law enforcement forces in the United States receiving hoax calls via Skype for a major incident in which SWAT teams were dispatched.”

The arrested teenager is suspected of unauthorized access to computer material, unauthorized access “with intent to commit further offenses,” and threats to kill. Serocu seized “a number of electronic and digital devices” for examination. The unit worked with the FBI and the North West Regional Organised Crime Unit (Titan Rocu) on the operation.

The “Lizard Squad” attacks on the gaming networks deliberately caused major disruption just as people were receiving consoles and games for Christmas, and were only called off when Mega entrepreneur Kim Dotcom offered the miscreants file hosting vouchers. According to security expert Brian Krebs, the attackers used a botnet based on compromised home routers to knock out Xbox Live and the PlayStation Network.

This is the second arrest in connection with the attacks — a 22-year-old man called Vinnie Omari was arrested in London at the end of December. A Finnish 17-year-old by the name of Julius Kivimäki has also reportedly been interrogated over the attacks.

Hackers say Xbox/Playstation attacks are over, target Tor

Christmas Day gamers ran into problems connecting their Xbox or Playstation to the internet thanks to a denial of service attack, and the hackers that have claimed credit are now naming a new target: online anonymity software Tor.

A group operating under the name “Lizard Squadposted a series of tweets today about a planned zero-day attack, which target unnoticed weaknesses. In this case, that appears to be taking over the majority of Tor’s nodes: a series of points through which data sent over the Tor network travels. Tor protects users’ identities with these nodes, which obscure the origin of any data. Lizard Squad’s thought is if it controls enough of the nodes, information will no longer be anonymized.

As of this afternoon, Lizard Squad had about 3,000 nodes — nearly half of the 8,000 in existance, according to Gizmodo. But Redditors are questioning if the 3,000 nodes have enough weight to have any effect, as new nodes are vetted before they receive encrypted data.

Why is a hacker group interested in taking down software that has benefited countless other hackers? Lizard Squad posted a tweet documenting a possible motive:

This story is still developing, as Lizard Squad is working to gain more nodes. What has ended is the attack on Xbox and Playstation consoles. Lizard Squad thanked Kim Dotcom, who gave the group vouchers for his secure file hosting service Mega in exchange for ceasing the attack.

Plex is coming to the PlayStation with apps for PS3 and PS4

Everyone’s favorite media center app Plex just took another major step towards total living room domination: Plex announced a new app for Sony’s PlayStation 3 and 4 Wednesday that largely offers the same looks and functionality as Plex’s recently-launched Xbox One app. However, the new app is first only launching in Europe and Asia, and coming to the U.S. and other countries next year. As the Plex blog put it: “Hasn’t your spouse been bugging you about moving to Italy since they watched A Good Year? Now might be the perfect time.”

AMD reports a profit thanks to consoles and its custom chip business

Underdog chip company AMD reported a profit during its third quarter financial results in part because the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Microsoft Xbox One consoles carrying its chips are getting ready to hit shelves. The highly-anticipated consoles contain custom-built AMD chips from a new group inside AMD, the Embedded and Custom Semi group. AMD estimates that group will generate a fifth of its sales this year, and apparently is already improving the bottom line.