One idea is dominating this year’s Game Developers Conference: virtual reality.¬†From Treadmills to bodysuits, from guns to games, the emerging VR ecosystem is vast–and growing.

At this year’s Game Developers Conference, currently underway in San Francisco, one idea has dominated the field: virtual reality. Could the tech’s time truly, finally, be here?

On Tuesday night, at a Sony session on the “future of innovation at Sony Computer Entertainment,” Sony researcher Richard Marks and Sony Computer Entertainment president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida revealed the existence of a new prototype VR headset for the PlayStation 4, called Project Morpheus. Using the existing PlayStation Eye camera for positional tracking and the PlayStation Move for 3-D motion controls, the current Morpheus prototype has specs on par with other VR headsets: 1080p screen, 90 degree field of view, and head-tracking at 1000hz. The price and release date of the new model were not yet released.

Now the question is: Can Sony, among many others, catch up with Oculus VR? Oculus has controlled the virtual reality conversation since its debut in July 2012. And Oculus revealed a second version of the Oculus Rift development kit earlier today. Besides the basic features of the Crystal Cove prototype they showed at CES, including positional tracking using an external camera and a low persistence 1080p OLED screen that reduces blur, has improved optics for the magnification of the screen. The company also dropped the clunky control box, so cables plug directly into the headset. Preorders start today, but the $350 kit will be released in July to help developers create VR games for the consumer launch of the Rift, presumably by the end of the year.

The Reality of Virtual Reality

You are in Tuscany. You walk into a rustic home and examine the aged furniture. Perhaps you lean toward the fire in the hearth, or walk upstairs to the rest of the house. Eventually you walk outside to the gardens surrounding the building. Soon enough you are cliffside, turning your head every which way to take in the vista before you, the verdant valleys stretching into the distance.

The Tuscany demo is one of the first virtual experiences made for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

The experience I described above–rather naturally looking around an artificial space that immerses you–can now be had with the purchase of a $300 Oculus Rift prototype development kit. By the time the actual consumer version of the Rift is released, there will be many more such experiences. The immersive quality of such experiences and the subsequent success of the Rift–$2.4 million raised on Kickstarter in September 2012 and nearly $100 million raised from investors since–has had a ripple effect, with other VR-based companies emerging. These many companies, most of them orbiting around Oculus VR, are creating a new galaxy of technology.

“People are building so many cool things,” says Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus VR. “It’s awesome because a few years ago a lot of this stuff couldn’t have existed. There was no way to drive it. There would be nobody who would buy it. We are all creating this VR future together.”

Read the full article at Fast Company.