Sony Insiders Confirm PlayStation VR 2 is in the Pipeline
A Bloomberg report citing insider sources now confirms that Sony is planning to launch PlayStation VR 2.
Sony had already confirmed that its upcoming PlayStation 5 would be backward compatible with the current PlayStation VR but it so far been hushed about the existence of a next generation PSVR: PSVR 2.
So far, Sony is yet to announce a next-generation VR device that would fully take advantage of its next-generation gaming console but there have been hints all over the place that something was in the pipeline. Most of these have come from published patents and industry analysts. For the first time, insider sources are confirming that something is actually in the pipeline.
The Bloomberg report is citing “people with knowledge of the matter” and it says Sony is planning to release its PSVR 2 headset after the release of PlayStation 5 during this holiday season. The release of the PSVR 2 headset is therefore tentatively scheduled to happen once PlayStation 5 console goes on sale.
At the moment, there is still some uncertainty as to whether “a new version” refers to a minor hardware redesign or a full sequel to the first generation PSVR.
No matter the form it will take, a new piece of virtual reality hardware will certain inject fresh energy to the PSVR ecosystem and to the virtual reality hardware scene as a whole. Sony has so far sold more than 5 million PSVR units and is also financing various virtual reality games including Blood & Truth and the imaginative Astro Bot Rescue Mission.
The original PSVR is already feeling a bit outdated with its screen resolution of 1080 x 960 pixels per eye and a 100-degree field of view. These specs are considerably lower than those of its PC-powered competition.
A major upgrade to the PSVR could therefore reinvigorate and help it gain some of the ground lost to PC VR competitors. It will also accelerate the sales and prompt more developers to support the PSVR platform which still constitute a tiny fraction of the installed PS4 base.
The fact the PSVR 2 will launch after the PS5 comes as no surprise given the comments that made by Sony staff in the past. In May last year, PlayStation’s Head of R&D Dominic Mallinson had said that he saw no reason for a new PSVR headset to launch with the PS5 as this would bombard consumers with too much hardware within a very short time. He favored giving consumers some “breathing space” between the launch of the various pieces of hardware.
However, in January this year, the publisher Immersive VR Education had alleged that Sony would release the PSVR 2 alongside the PS5. These claims have now been disproved.
The Virtual Reality Markets Needs this Commitment from Sony
To sustain its momentum, the virtual reality market needs the continued commitment of some of the serious players like Sony.
While there are now strong signs to suggest that PSVR 2 is set to launch in the future, the only certainty at the moment is that the upcoming PlayStation 5 will provide support for the old PlayStation VR. More will certainly be required for strong market growth.
The current PlayStation VR is technically outdated. Its tracking system and controllers were already outdated at the market launch in 2016 and it has since been surpassed by agile competitors in terms of the technical specs. A new generation of PlayStation VR and the performance of PS5 could inspire more players to try out virtual reality.
A Reluctant Microsoft
The announcement of PlayStation VR 2 will send huge ripples in the industry. New Sony virtual reality headsets could give the market some impetus. The first PSVR has already sold more than 5 million pieces in spite of its technical defects.
Microsoft, which this week announced that the Xbox Series X will launch in the marketplace without virtual reality support is currently listlessly waiting on the wings. Xbox boss Phil Spencer however assured that this could shift in the future: if Virtual Reality grew and became more relevant in the market, nothing could be ruled out.