Sony have confirmed that a next-generation VR system is in the works and coming to PlayStation 5, replacing the original PlayStation VR with a new headset that is designed to take advantage of the new generation of console hardware. There’s no word on when PSVR 2 will be coming to market, outside of that it will not be launching in 2021.
What’s new with PlayStation VR 2?
On a base level, Sony SVP of Platform Planning & Management, Hideaki Nishinothey will “develop a next-gen VR system that enhances everything from resolution and field of view to tracking and input. It will connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup and improve ease-of-use, while enabling a high-fidelity visual experience.”
Compared to the clunky set up required for the original PSVR, with a processing breakout box that diverts a HDMI signal to the user, a single cord set up will dramatically simplify the chore of getting into VR on PlayStation. This will almost certainly be achieved using the USB-C port on the front of the PlayStation 5, a connector that was designed with mixed data and video output modes in mind.
Will there be a PlayStation Move 2 controller?
Yes! As well as a new headset there will be a brand new VR controller “which will incorporate some of the key features found in the DualSense wireless controller, along with a focus on great ergonomics.” We doubt that it will be called PlayStation Move 2, but stranger things have happened.
Again, this is a significant step forward for the system compared to the current PlayStation VR, which relies on the much older PlayStation Move controller for many motion controlled inputs. That limits game designers through the lack of analog sticks and other core features. Building in the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers of the DualSense, or even going so far as to adopt some of the technical advances Valve have made with their ‘Knuckles’ VR controller would open the door to much more immersive gaming.
Will you need the PlayStation 5 Camera?
This one isn’t clear from what Sony have announced today, but our best guess would be no. There’s been years of speculation surrounding PSVR 2, with patent watchers spotting filings for combating motion sickness in VR, new finger-tracking controllers, and inside-out tracking that would mean you won’t need a camera.
Inside-out tracking is very much in vogue with current VR systems, with cameras built into headsets like the Oculus Quest and newer HTC Vive models to track your hands and controllers instead of relying on external cameras and tracking stations. Again, this would simplify the set up for VR gaming.
One part of the need for the camera in the original PSVR set up was to track the light balls on the PlayStation Move, as well as the light bar on the DualShock 4 controller. The DualSense doesn’t have a light bar on the back of it, so if it is used as a PSVR 2 controller, then it cannot be easily tracked via an external camera.
When is PSVR 2 coming out?
Sadly for VR fans, the new system will not launch in 2021, but Sony say that they “wanted to provide this early update to our fans, as the development community has started to work on creating new worlds for you to explore in virtual reality.”
PlayStation VR is now four years old, having launched at the end of 2016 into the burgeoning market for virtual reality gaming. Through the years since then, Sony have at times been an industry leader through transformative exclusive games like Resident Evil 7, excellent first party titles Astro Bot: Rescue Mission and Blood & Truth, and a low price point that made it relatively accessible at the time.
There are several games still coming to PSVR, such as After The Fall, Sniper Elite VR, and Humanity, but the system is now falling behind the capabilities of other VR platforms. PC VR systems like HTC Vive and Valve Index dramatically outstrip PSVR in terms of resolution and refresh rate, there’s advanced VR controllers that go miles beyond what the PlayStation Move can achieve. There’s also been the revolutionary standalone VR devices like the Oculus Quest and Quest 2, which work as completely cable free VR headsets, but have the option of letting you plug in a USB-C cable and connecting up to a PC for more high-powered VR experiences.
Exciting times lie ahead for virtual reality gamers, and it’s great to have the reassurance that Sony plan to still be a part of it in the next few years.
Source: PS Blog