You know how this works. Up until the official announcement or release of a product, the rumor mill swims with excitement, pumping out every possible (and impossible) feature to the forefront of what could be coming next. We know it'll be one of the best PS5 accessories when it's released and, based on the original's success, we know it'll provide plenty of amazing and unique gaming experiences. While we can speculate to high heaven on what the hardware will be like, Sony has made several announcements about the PS5 VR (PS VR2) that we can say, without a doubt, are irrefutably true.
PS VR2 specs
At CES 2022, Sony officially unveiled the specs behind its PS VR2 headset. Not only is it drastically better than PSVR, but it shows that PlayStation is finally taking VR seriously, with specs that can compete with the likes of the Oculus Quest and other headsets on the market. What's even more interesting is the inside-out tracking it will now offer alongside eye tracking.
|Device||PlayStation VR2 headset|
|Panel Resolution||2000x2040 per eye|
|Refresh rate||90Hz, 120Hz|
|Field of View||110 degrees|
|Tracking||4 on-headset cameras|
|Eye-tracking||Yes, IR camera for each eye|
|Sensors||6-axis motion sensing|
|Haptics||Single vibration motor|
|Audio||Built-in microphone, stereo headphone jack with 3D audio support|
There's no doubting or questioning Sony's PS5 strategy going forward. While many upcoming PS4 games continue to debut side-by-side with PS5 versions, Sony has made it clear that the original PSVR is solely a PS4 accessory. That doesn't stop them from releasing new PSVR games, which also work perfectly on PS5 with higher-quality graphics, in most cases. But Sony also made it abundantly clear that these games cannot target the PS5 with hardware-specific improvements.
Those improvements are reserved for the PS VR2, where the full weight of all Sony VR hardware enhancements will be felt by the vast power gap between the PS4 and PS5. The second-generation PSVR will be PS5 exclusive and will take full advantage of all the strengths the PS5 can lend VR: better graphics, a higher-resolution display, higher refresh rate for games, and the ability to load faster and do more things than ever before.
PS VR2 Sense Controllers
Sony previously announced the new PS5 VR controller, now dubbed the PS VR2 Sense controller, which is a radical redesign from the first-generation PSVR's PS Move controllers. Gone is the wand shape and confusing button layout and, in its place, is a significantly more elegant design that feels more natural to hold and is far easier to use. The controllers themselves look sort of like a mashup between the Valve Index's knuckles controllers and the Oculus Touch controllers that ship with the Oculus Quest 2.
Like the Oculus Quest 2, the new PS VR2 Sense controllers feature tracking rings that wrap around the controllers, fitting your hands inside so as not to obscure the headset's vision of either controller. However, this time around, instead of using a single camera positioned under your TV to track your movements, Sony has confirmed that the new PS5 VR headset will track the controllers themselves, but stops short of describing the exact technology used to do the tracking.
|Category||PlayStation VR2 Sense controllers|
|Device||PlayStation VR2 Sense controllers|
|Tracking||Six-axis motion sensing, IR LEDs tracked by headset cameras|
|Right controller buttons||PlayStation, options, circle, cross, R1, R2, R3 (stick click-in)|
|Left controller buttons||PlayStation, create, triangle, square, L1, L2, L3 (stick click-in)|
|Touch sensors||Capacitive finger touch detection|
|Haptics||Single controller actuator, trigger effect|
|Port||USB Type-C (for charging)|
|Battery||Built-in Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery|
While we could speculate all day long about the possibilities there, we'll just stick to what Sony said for now. Sony specifically stated there are "no constraints with how you're moving your hands," which means a significant upgrade from the PS Move controllers on the original PSVR. While we're still on the topic of movement, the new joysticks on each controller will enable far greater movement abilities in VR space than current PSVR players have.
The face buttons are much larger, and there are controller-specific buttons now, too. That means instead of the cramped cross/circle/square/triangle buttons on each controller, you'll find larger, spaced-out circle and cross buttons on the right controller, while square and triangle are on the left controller. The amazing haptic motors from the PS5's DualSense controller are in these new PS VR2 Sense controllers, as well as those adaptive triggers, as well. That means when you interact with something in VR using these triggers, you can feel real tension and weight as the triggers push back against your fingers. Now that's a next-gen upgrade!
Will launch with a cable
At launch, the PS VR2 will come with a single USB-C cable attached to the headset. While it's a bummer to be still tethered to the console instead of being a wireless solution, there are several advantages to still using this solution for the headset.
First off, is battery life. While the Oculus Quest 2 is an excellent wireless VR headset, it only lasts a little over 2 hours on a single charge. You can get battery packs to help mitigate this issue, but it means that unless you buy something extra, you're not going to be having marathon VR gaming sessions. A wired PS5 VR wouldn't have this issue since it'll be directly powered by the PS5 at all times.
Second, a direct-plug solution is far simpler and more elegant than the processor box and all the extra cables that are required for the original PSVR. One cable that's permanently attached to the headset plugs right into the USB Type-C port on the back of the PS5. It really doesn't get any easier than that!
A better display and lenses
PlayStation's confirmed that PS VR2 will feature an OLED display, with 2000x2040 resolution per eye and supporting 90Hz and 120Hz. PSVR, by comparison, only delivered a resolution of 960x1080 per eye, so PS VR2 is a serious improvement, increasing the amount of details players can make out.
In addition to an improved display, Sony is packing new lenses inside its PS5 VR headset that provide a clearer image and grant the player a wider field of view. The original PSVR's field-of-view is around 100-degrees, making it a broader perspective than the Oculus Quest 2 and several other headsets. Still, Sony isn't content with just being a little bit better than these competitors, as it plans to increase that field of view to something much wider. How much wider? Sony states that PS VR2 will have a 110-degree field of view.
Big investments in VR games development
While some companies have pulled back their investments in consumer-level VR, others — like Sony and Facebook — have continued to increase their commitment to VR gaming and entertainment over the years. Sony has closed some internal studios but has also partnered with others and opened new ones, some of which are focusing on VR development. In the initial PS5 VR announcement post, Sony stated that they're "continuing to innovate with our new VR system so that our fans can continue to enjoy the unique experiences that are synonymous with PlayStation."
In this, and a few other announcements, Sony has shown that it is committed to further investments in the future of VR as a gaming and entertainment medium, squarely placing that burden on the shoulders of the PlayStation brand. Even with the closing of some of its internal Japan studios, Asobi Team, the developer behind the much-lauded Astrobot series, is sticking around for future development.
Sony also specifically stated that their "commitment to virtual reality as a medium for games is stronger than ever," further backing up everything we see in the company's actions. After all, you don't invest in cutting-edge hardware development more than once if you're not serious about seeing it through and supporting it!
For now, PlayStation only announced one, first-party PS VR2 title: Horizon Call of the Mountain. Developed by Guerrilla Games and Firesprite, Horizon Call of the Mountain is a new experience set in the Horizon universe. Little is known about the game, but Guerrilla says, "this story will be told through the eyes of an entirely new character. You will also meet Aloy, other familiar faces, and new characters along the way."
A release date
This one is a little hazier than we'd like. Our best guess is that we'll see this hardware sometime around the second anniversary of the PS5, which would make it fall 2022. I wish we had a better answer for you, but that's as good as it gets for now.
Sony has made it clear that they're investing in VR in a big way and providing an experience that's going to blow people away when it debuts. Coming from Sony and the PlayStation brand, that builds big expectations that we, ultimately, hope pulls through!
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Next-generation is more than graphics
The PS5 features cutting-edge graphics at 4K and up to 120FPS, but it also features next-generation controllers and loading times to match.
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