As the life cycles of PS4 and PS4 Pro officially come to an end and Sony confirms a release date for PS5, we must ask ourselves what Sony has in store as a successor to PlayStation VR. Could it be PSVR 2?
Sony has already released a second PSVR headset in 2017: the CUH-ZVR2 with additional HDR compatibility, built-in headphones and a smaller interconnect cable. The real PSVR 2.0, however, offers a much larger leap in specifications by using next-generation hardware to improve resolution, pixel quality, and refresh rate.
The key question is whether the PlayStation VR 2 simply improves on its predecessor's graphics, or adds features like 6DoF tracking, or even becomes wireless to compete with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive?
We have the latest rumors and industry insider information on what the PlayStation VR 2 might look like, its likely release date, possible backward compatibility, and more.
(Update: PlayStation VR 2 could bring wireless virtual reality to your PS5 – and more, see more here.)
Cut to the hunt
- What is, is? The next version of PlayStation VR
- When is it out? Possibly in late 2020 or 2021, matching the PS5 release
- How much will it cost? TBC – probably around the starting price of the PSVR of 499 US dollars
Release date of PSVR 2
It's almost certain that PSVR 2 will only work with the PlayStation 5, but we now know that we will not see the next generation Sony console until the end of 2020. That is, we will definitely see PSVR 2 only by the end of 2020 and (more likely) at least 2021.
If Sony uses its workforce mainly for PS5 production, the PSVR 2 could be launched much later than the release date of the console – maybe a year or more. After all, PlayStation VR was released three years after the PS4.
PSVR 2 News and rumors
Could PSVR 2 be wireless?
LetsGoDigital has unveiled a patent for the next generation of virtual reality hardware, which states that the PlayStation VR 2 will be wireless with built-in cameras and a transparent mode.
Sony Interactive Entertainment filed a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office earlier this year for "Data Processing", which was approved on October 3, 2019.
This patent describes a virtual reality headset with three built-in cameras – two front and one rear – and motion detection technology. If that's not enough, the PSVR 2 headset could also be wireless (connected via Bluetooth) and have a built-in power adapter, microphone and video / audio source. In other words, there is no need to connect headphones to the sound because speakers are installed.
This is a big change from the current wired PSVR headset, which lacks an integrated speaker and built-in microphone, although the actual appearance of the potential PSVR 2 headset is not far from its predecessor.
The potential PSVR 2 headset, according to the patent, could also be much better in motion tracking, with numerous LEDs mounted on the back of the headset.
While the headset itself may be wireless, a separate camera (such as the PlayStation Camera) may need to be used to track these LEDs and the player's movements.
We also saw the PlayStation Move controller get an upgrade, including its own built-in camera.
Next is the possible addition of the transparency mode. This allows the headset to display a certain level of transparency when needed so that the user can see the real world. The purpose of it? Allow AR applications.
And finally, we mentioned again a holographic mode that allows users to play 3D games in PlayStation VR.
Release date of PS5
Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will be released by the end of 2020, which means we will not see the PSVR 2 until then.
Leaked internal e-mail
According to Sony's "leaked internal email" (and posted on NeoGaf), the PS5 will be unveiled on 12 February 2020 at a launch event for the "PlayStation Meeting 2020". This meeting is rumored to "present the future of the Sony PlayStation for the whole world".
In addition, the e-mail states that "new investments have been made in the VR area of the company" and "numerous tests have been carried out on the new PSVR 2 prototype". The e-mail also states that "the top management of the marketing team began planning official consultations on the official marketing presentation of the new PSVR 2 device before the start of fiscal year 2021," suggesting that PSVR 2 may not be finished 2020 or 2021 will be published.
It is worth accepting this rumor with a big pinch of salt as it has not been confirmed that it is an official internal email.
On a request for comments, a Sony spokesman said, "We do not comment on rumors and speculation."
Siliconera spotted two announcements about Sony's Virtual Reality Headset, which may indicate the kind of experience the company plans for the future. The two were filed in 2017 and 2018 respectively, suggesting that they (if followed by Sony) could soon bear fruit.
The first one refers to live events. Sony's patent describes a scenario in which a user is present in a real-world location, such as a sports stadium, and the headset "anchors" it in a physical location at the venue.
They would be surrounded by real participants and let them track the event as if they were actually there. It sounds similar to other live VR applications like Next VR, Melody VR or Oculus Venues.
Friends as NPCs
A second patent describes how to make friends from your PSN game list to watch your games while you play. Instead of frolicking in the stands of a FIFA game or on the track of a Gran Turismo race, your friends might opt for an Avatar performance in their game.
These avatars can be lifelike or any kind of stylized presentation they want to submit. They can either watch real-time in virtual reality or show their support through a "preprogrammed" clip.
The fact that Sony has already filed these patents suggests that PSVR 2 could be closer than we thought …
Could it track eye movement and head movement?
A new patent suggests the PSVR2 eye movement and head movement.
What will that do for the VR? According to the Sony Interactive Entertainment patent, immersion is enhanced by refining what each eye sees – also known as "parallax images" – for enhanced stereoscopic depth. Sony also develops technologies to keep these images relative when you turn your head.
However, there are other options for eye tracking in the VR, including alternative control methods and / or interface options – which would be an excellent accessibility option for disabled users.
PlayStation VR 2 could fuel the future of Gran Turismo
Kazunori Yamauchi, the creator of the Gran Turismo series, revealed in a conclusive interview with GT Planet that Polyphony Digital's focus on using next-gen console performance is primarily VR.
"The first thing that will be affected by more power is VR," Yamauchi told GT Planet. "I do not think that anything else requires so much computing power, I really like VR, I'm one who believes in the possibilities and is great at driving."
Since Gran Turismo is an exclusive PlayStation series, the future of the racing franchise is likely to be determined by PlayStation VR and its likely successor, the PlayStation VR 2.
While Sony has not officially confirmed that PSVR 2 is under development, Yamauchi's comments suggest that the company will rely heavily on VR for the upcoming PS5.
"VR is something that really depends on the evolution of GPU performance, and on the hardware as well as on display devices," Yamauchi continued. There will always be this hardware limit, and that limit will never be high enough for us! Obviously this will gradually improve over time and we will make sure we follow that. "
Current PSVR headsets work with the PS5
The first details of the PS5 were released in early 2019 and confirm that your current PlayStation VR headset is compatible with the next generation console.
Speaking to Wired, Mark Cerny (senior systems architect at Sony working on the upcoming console) confirmed that all existing versions of the PlayStation VR are compatible with the next-generation console.
Whether there will be a new PlayStation VR 2 at the start, is currently unclear. Cerny said, "I will not go into the details of our VR strategy today."
While he has not said that Sony will not be upgrading its virtual reality headset when launching the next-gen console, he quickly made it clear that buying an existing PSVR is worth buying if you do not already have one.
He also said, "VR is very important to us and the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console."
The PlayStation 4 games are backward compatible with the PlayStation 5, so you may want to move your existing PSVR catalog to the next console.
Good news for eyeglass wearers?
According to a published patent (discovered by Upload VR), Sony is working on "eyewear with eye tracking and electro-optical signaling to an HMD".
These Sony-developed prescription glasses were designed specifically for the wearer and the gaze could be captured by the VR headset via a coded sensor. In other words, eyeglass wearers could use VR much easier. We do not expect these glasses to be cheap, but the implementation of eye gaze software means we can probably expect it to arrive in PSVR 2 …
PSVR 2 price
The current PlayStation VR Starter Bundle costs $ 200 / $ 259 / $ 420. However, these affordable costs were incurred after several price reductions.
The original price for a full bundle of 499 USD (399 GBP, about 650 AU $) could give us a good idea of what Sony calculates for the PSVR 2 headset.
Of course, this new headset will have some potentially expensive technologies that go along with the increased potential of the PS5.
Japan Display (JDI), a Sony-led LCD manufacturer, recently announced its 3.2-inch displays with a resolution of 1,001 pixels per inch (ppi) and a resolution of 2160 x 2432 pixels. PSVR currently uses a resolution of 386 ppi and 1920 x 1080 for a 5.7-inch screen.
Adding better display quality and doubling the number of screens could drive up the price.
Currently, the only next-generation VR headset on the market is the HTC Vive Prowhich are retail for $ 800, £ 800, or around $ 1,045. Depending on the hardware of the PSVR 2, Sony may choose this device as a premium device.
However, this would likely contradict the brand, which offers affordable entry into the VR. We are confident that Sony will avoid rating all but the richest among us with VR.
We have also discovered a patent for improved motion control rods with finger tracking and haptic feedback.
Among the more expensive packages of PSVR 2, these controllers may also be for VR experiences that a DualShock controller can not provide.
Why exclusive to PlayStation 5?
PlayStation 4 owners (especially Pro owners) may be upset if they find that PSVR 2 is not working on their consoles.
However, it could be Sony's only option that makes the second headset feel like a true next-gen.
We tested PSVR on the PS4 and compared the graphic quality with the Pro. In "Pro Mode", we have seen slight improvements in texture, graininess, and delay reduction. In the end, however, the difference did not feel so significant.
The PS4 Pro certainly offers a lot of power, but may not be able to support VR with the higher resolution and pixel density offered by Sony's new JDI displays.
The PSVR 2 could demand computing power that last-generation consoles simply can not provide.
The PlayStation 5 uses the latest AMD Ryzen CPU and updated Radeon graphics, an upgrade to the AMD Jaguar CPU of the PS4 and Pro. Sony may have problems making its new headset compatible with two separate graphics systems.
All updated hardware, design and accessories
The most specific information about what PSVR 2 could do comes from JDI's announcement of the 3.2-inch display at 1,001 ppi and a resolution of 2160 x 2432.
JDI claims that this display reduces latency to 2.2 milliseconds (compared to> 18 milliseconds today), allowing 120 Hz (as with the PSVR 1), and requires less processing power for better image quality – potentially resulting in a lighter, smaller design for the PSVR 1 is unlocked headset.
The upgraded AMD Ryzen chip that Sony uses in the PS5 could certainly bring the computing power needed to support these displays.
Sony, which uses the screens of JDI his smartphones will most likely rely on these updated displays for his new headset. Considering that the design of the PSVR 1 was already enjoyable for long seasons, it could make the use of his heir even more enjoyable.
Of course, if the PlayStation VR 2 has two screens, the graphic demand for the headset is much more difficult. For example, if Sony wants 4K VR, the PS5 must be 8K streaming capable – and it will be.
We suspect that the PSVR 2 works wirelessly, considering that Sony is primarily reducing the size and weight of the cable connecting the headset to the PSVR 1 console UpdateIt is clear that the company sees this as annoying or even annoying. Complete removal is the logical next step.
In this way, Sony will also simplify support for PSVR 2 space tracking. Oculus and HTC have been supporting 6DoF tracking for experiences for several years. This is one of the key areas where PSVR can not compete with the competition.
The PlayStation camera records your head and controller movements while you sit down. However, she can not keep track of it when you move. Our examiners found that she often does not keep an eye on the controller even when she is not moving.
Adding support for room tracking only helps Sony to increase the size of its games library because it supports more experiences based on wandering around a room.
Of course, this could mean that the new PSVR 2 bundle contains some room sensors to improve tracking of the camera.
However, Sony could instead take the path that Lenovo has taken with the Mirage Solo Headset that incorporates WorldSense tracking technology into the headset. If you reduce the number of peripherals, setting up the device can be easier.
We also suspect that Sony plans to double Move Controller. A patent shows that it wants to compete with the Oculus Touch and Vive controllers by adding improved tracking functionality to its Move-Wands.
The most promising idea of Sony is the "reaction force generator", in which parts of the moving rod are extended or reduced depending on what the user "holds" in the game.
This technology can make your experiences feel more immersive than before, without giving up the controllers completely (see: Oculus haptic gloves).
According to another published patent (discovered by Upload VR), Sony is working on a "goggles with eye tracking and electro-optical signaling to an HMD".
These Sony-developed prescription glasses were designed specifically for the wearer and the gaze could be captured by the VR headset via a coded sensor. In other words, eyeglass wearers could use VR much easier. We do not expect these glasses to be cheap, but the implementation of eye gaze software means we can probably expect it to arrive in the PSVR 2.
PSVR 2: What does the VR industry need?
As we mentioned before, PlayStation VR did not meet Sony's sales expectations, but sales are not to be underestimated compared to the competition with high-end VR headsets, but Sony had expected that all VR market is growing.
Instead, Sony probably fears that VR will remain too niche to make the profits the company once hoped for. Kodera said Sony would have a "more realistic outlook" on the type of future sales it can expect.
Kodera's statement implies that Sony continues to strive to produce more VR devices. Unfortunately, the lukewarm VR market could mean that Sony is spending less time and money on future VR experiences.
Ideally, the PlayStation VR 2 and other next-generation headsets could rejuvenate the market with better specifications and fewer cables, and keep Sony up to speed with VR.
The price written on this page is true as the time it is written. It may change at any moment.