More details about Sony’s next-generation virtual reality headset are beginning to emerge. Sony held a developer summit on Tuesday where it offered new information about the updated PSVR and its controller.
Sony’s PSVR has been something of a quiet hit since its release in 2016. Few flagship games are playable through the headset, and Sony itself hasn’t even kept the product updated — it’s not compatible with the new PlayStation 5 without an adapter. Despite that, more than five million PSVR headsets were sold by 2019 and the product has received generally strong reviews from gamers.
The issue with PSVR has been that developers haven’t felt much incentive to create serious VR games for the PlayStation because most console owners don’t have a headset, and developing VR games can be expensive.
Now, Sony appears to be hopeful that updating developers on its progress with a new headset will motivate them to produce VR-ready titles for its platform. The company has already publicly confirmed that a new headset is on the way, but offered little in the way of specific details. It’s not expected the headset will go on sale until late 2022.
New strategy — According to YouTube channel PSVR Without Parole and corroborated by the website UploadVR, Sony told developers at the summit that it hopes to pursue a hybrid model with future AAA games, with the goal that all major releases will come with a VR option.
It sounds like Sony might be saying that it wants to, at the very least, treat VR as another way to display a game, rather than necessarily creating an entirely new experience around the technology. Some games can take advantage of VR more than others, but the norm will probably remain that most titles are not VR-first.
If every game has an option to be played in VR, though, more players may be willing to grab a headset, and that in turn would spur the development of more VR-specific titles. The immersive nature of virtual reality could still be enjoyable even in games where it’s not needed, like side-scrollers, because you could see the game in front of you, in high-resolution, with no distractions.
New hardware — Sony also apparently revealed more information about the controllers for the new PSVR. We’ve already seen what appears to be the design from patent filings, but they’re reportedly going to be able to detect how far a player’s fingers are away from the controller’s buttons. It’s unclear how exactly that’ll be implemented into gameplay.
We’ve heard from other reports that Sony will use high-resolution OLED panels in the headset that will offer 4K resolution as well as an improved 110-degree field of view. The new PSVR will also reportedly use inside-out tracking, meaning that the headset will feature sensors to track its position rather than relying on the PlayStation Camera, which can be less reliable.
A lot of this is still just rumors, so we’ll have to just wait for more information. But the new strategy, if true, sure sounds to be promising.