PlayStation VR 2: What Can You Expect?
At the just-concluded CES 2022, Sony Interactive Entertainment president and CEO Jim Ryan finally confirmed the name of its next virtual reality headset as PlayStation VR2.
Sony is yet to reveal what its next-generation VR headset will look like but a lot is already known about its technical specs based on a series of leaks and patent information. We know the headset will work with Sony’s new PS5 console. Sony has in the past also provided details on its controllers which are officially dubbed Sense controllers.
We know the PSVR2 will provide eye-tracking support. It will also support haptic feedback, foveated rendering, 4K HDR, a 90/120Hz refresh rate as well as a field of view (FOV) of 110 degrees. The headset will connect to the PS5 via a single USB-C cable.
Sony’s PSVR has been hugely successful. More than five million of these have been sold although this is still a considerably low number compared to the more than 102 million PS4 devices sold so far.
The PSVR success was attributable to its excellent comfort which allows it to be worn for an extended duration of time compared to other VR headsets. The original PSVR has a comparatively lower resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 but it has a higher subpixel density (three per pixel, close to that of the Oculus Rift S) that renders a surprisingly clear picture, based on the software used.
The PSVR platform also has a large repertoire of virtual reality games, many of which are PSVR exclusives.
However, the tracking system in the PSVR is still somewhat lacking. Its Move controllers are unreasonable and it has a stiffer cable.
These and other shortcomings have necessitated a need for a successor to the PSVR. For a time, Sony kept mum about this until information started leaking out from patents and leaks that a successor to the PSVR was in the works. Now that it is officially announced, here is a look at some of the details that are known so far about the PSVR2 headset and some that we might expect.
How is the PSVR 2 an Improvement Over the Current Model?
Sony’s PSVR 2 offers the following improvements over the current PSVR: –
- Improved tracking
- A new VR controller
- A more flexible cable (unlike the stiffer cable in PSVR) or even a completely wireless operation
- Improved displays
These are some of the most clear-cut improvements that we are expecting to see in the PlayStation VR 2.
The tracking system in the PSVR 2 should be at least as robust as the inside-out tracking found in the Meta Quest 2 or Oculus Rift S.
With the inside-out tracking, the previously stiffer cable will also be history. We could also see a simpler and more flexible solution like in the Meta Link (previously, Oculus Link).
The PSVR 2 will also need proper controllers. Although the PS4 DualShock controller works excellently in games such as Astro Bot and Moss, the Move controllers are outdated and inadequate and need to be replaced with something better similar to the Oculus Touch or something even more sophisticated like the Valve Index controllers.
What Will Be the Resolution and Field of View of the PlayStation VR 2?
Here are the sketchy details on PSVR2’s resolution and field of view (FOV):-
- The PSVR 2 will have a resolution of 2,000 x 2.040 pixels per eye
- The headset will feature two 4K HDR OLED Displays
- The field of view will be 110 degrees
The PlayStation VR headset is currently relaying content in full HD. As a result of the aforementioned subpixel distribution, it gives very clear pictures but users will be expecting an improvement in the display technology as well as in the resolution.
At the moment, the best display is the Varjo Aero which delivers 2,880 x 2,720 pixels per eye. However, this is currently also the most expensive VR headset for consumers (home use). Sony’s PSVR 2, expected to be priced in the consumer range, has a resolution that’s less than this but it is still in the upper range of the current VR headsets. PSVR 2’s 4K HDR OLED displays give you a resolution of 2,000 x 2,040 per eye.
Sony’s PlayStation 5 also supports the basic structure (like chip architecture) of virtual reality and there won’t be a need for additional hardware for PSVR 2 and PS 5.
However, the use of the current PSVR with PS5 still needs additional PSVR hardware such as the processor box, a camera adapter, and tangled cables.
During its CES 2022 presentation, Sony detailed the PSVR 2 specifications as follows: –
- 4K HDR OLED displays that give a resolution of 2,000 x 2,040 pixels per eye.
- A field of view (FOV) of 110 degrees (with Fresnel lenses according to a leak)
- Eye-tracking and foveated rendering to provide better VR performance as well as for social interaction.
- Haptic feedback in the housing of the headset: This is aimed at improving the immersion and minimizing the risk of motion sickness.
- Capacitive sensors: These are in the new Sense controllers. The sensors are capable of detecting how far a user’s fingers are. It also detects the use of the thumb, index finger, or middle finger. The Sense controllers will be part of the PSCR 2.
Will PSVR 2 Support Eye Tracking and Face Tracking?
PSVR 2 will support eye-tracking and foveated rendering but it won’t support face tracking.
Sony researchers regard eye-tracking and foveated rendering (where maximum graphical details are displayed at the focal point the user is looking at) as particularly crucial for the future of virtual reality.
The PlayStation 5 Console would also benefit hugely from eye-tracking and foveated rendering in the PSVR 2 as the graphics and computing power will be expended in only a small part of the display thereby saving on the computing power and simultaneously improving the image quality.
There are headsets that already feature eye-tracking such as the HTC Vive Pro Eye which even has foveated rendering. The Varjo Aero also has eye-tracking.
Eye-tracking will be implemented in the PSVR 2 and it could even have foveated rendering where only the image in focus will be rendered at full resolution with the peripheral image being displayed with reduced resolution. An infrared camera is used to track each eye.
The PlayStation VR 2 will also have an adjustable interpupillary distance (IPD).
Will PSVR 2 Feature Inside-Out Tracking?
Yes, the PSVR 2 will use optical inside-out tracking like the one in Meta Quest (2) headset. However, PSVR 2 will not be a standalone VR headset.
Will PSVR 2 Be Wireless?
No, the PSVR 2 will not be wireless and has a single cable connecting to the PlayStation 5. This will be a USB-C similar to the Meta Link (formerly, Oculus Link).
Comfort in a virtual reality headset is a decisive factor in the user experience and the PSVR has always been extra comfortable. Few other VR headsets can match it in wearing comfort. However, the comfort in usage can be improved further through flexible cables and getting rid of cumbersome connections. The original PSVR, particularly, is known for its stiff cable.
The PSVR 2, in contrast, is connected to the PS using a single and more flexible cable. It isn’t clear whether this cable is a custom-made product like the official Meta Link cable. A wireless PSVR 2 is unlikely although you can’t entirely rule it out.
Will PSVR 2 Have New Controllers?
Sony had already announced new controllers for the PSVR 2 known as Sense Controllers. The Sense Controllers have DualSense technology and are much more ergonomically designed than the PS Move sticks.
The Move Controllers are already 10 years old and are so outdated that many VR enthusiasts will only touch them when they really have to. The Move Controllers have unreliable tracking and their operation is also too cumbersome. They are not as intuitive as some of the more recent controllers like the Meta Touch controllers or Valve Index controllers. So, it is obvious that the PSVR 2 needs new VR controllers.
Fortunately, Sony had already developed and unveiled the new VR controllers much earlier. The Sense Controllers are like the Meta Quest 2 controllers although their tracking rings go around the waist of the virtual reality user.
The tracking rings in the Sense Controllers use infrared technology which does away with the light-ball tracking in the first PSVR generation. The PSVR 2 Sense Controllers track as precisely as the Oculus Touch controllers.
The Sense controllers also record the thumb, index finger, and middle finger position via capacitive sensors without having to press the buttons just like in the Touch or Valve Index controllers. Users can perform gestures like operating switches in virtual reality using an outstretched index finger.
The DualSense technology which is in the PS5 controller has also been integrated into the PSVR 2 controller. The superb haptic feedback like the sensation of resistance when pulling a trigger will certainly add to the quality of immersion and is an edge over the competition.
The controllers feature the following sticks and buttons: –
- Left PSVR controller: PlayStation button, Action buttons (triangle/square), Create button, L1 button, L2 button, the left analog stick.
- Right PSVR controller: Options button, PlayStation button, Action buttons (circle/cross), R1 button, R2 button, and the right analog stick/R3 button
What Audio Solutions is PSVR 2 Likely to Have?
You can expect the following: –
- Integrated microphone
- 5mm jack connection for headphones
The PSVR 2 doesn’t have an integrated sound solution which is a big disappointment. Users will, thus, have to connect headphones or where necessary, use speakers in their sound systems. Speakers usually create a bigger spatial distance while headphones reduce comfort and increase set-up times.
Hopefully, Sony may eventually offer users different head mounts for PSVR 2 as accessories like the Elite Strap for Meta Quest 2. Or even better, offer users an integrated or over-the-ear audio solution.
When Will PSVR 2 Be Released?
So far, Sony has been tight-lipped about the release date but we expect the headset to be launched later in the year. Certain reports have cited a Christmas 2022 release date. A leak suggests that Sony is planning to talk about the release date in early 2022.
We expect PSVR 2 to be released in the third quarter of 2022 although a Bloomberg report says the headset will be released in the fourth quarter of 2022 to capitalize on the Christmas shopping bonanza. A recent leak also states Sony will discuss the release date in early 2022.
What Will Be Some of the PSVR 2 Games?
One game has been officially announced so far: Horizon Call of the Mountain. There are also rumors that studios like Naughty Dog (The Last of Us) are currently working on next-generation virtual reality games for PS5.
Reports have also emerged that Sony plans to focus more on AAA titles for PlayStation VR 2. Some of the PSVR games will also be issued as remasters for PSVR 2.
Horizon Call of the Mountain was announced during the announcement of the PSVR 2 technical details. The title is a virtual reality spin-off of the successful action-adventure Horizon Zero Dawn. The sequel, Horizon Forbidden West, will soon be released for PS5. In Horizon Call of the Mountain, you will meet Aloy and the other well-known characters. There isn’t much that can be gleaned from the announcement trailer so far as it only shows a short scene of the upcoming virtual reality game at the end. London Studio, the developer behind Blood & Truth, is reportedly working on a next-generation virtual reality blockbuster. Rumor mills also claim Naughty Dog is working on a virtual reality game. Sony’s Astro Bot has also been transformed into a studio in its own right which is a great sign. Even Moss 2 might appear for PSVR 2.
What Will PSVR 2 Cost?
The price hasn’t been revealed. However, users can expect the price to be close to that of the original PSVR when it was launched in 2016. Should there be a wireless PSVR 2 version, it will certainly cost more.