While the near hourly rumor mill endlessly spins around social media with any drip of information about next-generation consoles. We have been busy sleuthing to find any new information on the often overlooked Playstation VR successor. Sony has yet to even confirm the existence of a PSVR2. However, new patents, developer leaks, job postings and, Sony’s commitment to VR in 2020 leaves a paper trail of evidence. We have sifted through to gather all the details on what could a next-gen PSVR2 look like. All signs point to a new display, new controllers and new VR tech. While Sony has confirmed that the PS5 will fully support PSVR and backward compatibility. How would next-gen PSVR2 take advantage of the PS5?
The current PSVR display is a 120hz low latency, 5.7-inch OLED 1080p screen. With a mear 386 pixels per inch and 100 degree field of view. This is by no means a low-end VR display but, the technology is at least six or seven years old. In emerging tech, that’s a lifetime ago. Other VR headset manufacturers that develop for PC are leaps and bounds ahead, pushing out regular hardware refreshes. Thanks to TechRadar for this find, the current PSVR display manufacture is Japanese Display Inc. A spin-off company of Sony that partners with them on their displays.
Why is this important? JDI attends trade shows to show off concept tech and prototypes. TechRadar believes a prototype 3.25 inch, 1,001 PPI screen shown off in 2018 might be the display for a potential PSVR2. We disagree however, we think they are onto something. At the 2019 SID Display Week trade show, JDI seemed very excited to show off a new head-mounted display that was not yet in production. Yet this same display wasn’t even their most powerful HMD at the show. We believe their 2K x 2K dual 2.89 inch 1058 PPI HMD could be the next PSVR display. This 2K x 2K display would almost exactly line up with the rumored PS5 specs and what it would be able to handle. This dual-screen method might be able to give flexibility to the interpupillary distance (distance between the center of each eye) PSVR2 could support.
The Third-Party Games
One of the more unbelievable things about PSVR is, developers, know they are not going to sell 5 million copies of a game, but they still keep trying. It’s almost impossible to try and guess what new teams are working on next-gen PSVR games. Although, it’s easy to conclude who would come back. Don’t count on a Beat Saber 2 as the developers were recently acquired by Facebook. I would assume Justin Roiland’s studio Squanch Games has something in the works. Roiland and Sony have had a great partnership that included 2 games in the studio’s short three-year span.
In December 2019, PushSquare reached out to Valve to ask about a potential port of Half-Life: Alyx to PSVR. Valve is already supporting all major PC VR headsets including their competitors. Valves’ quote is very interesting and leaves some hope for a potential PS5 mega VR title. Half-Life: Alyx Designer Greg Coomer said,
“We believe Sony’s VR platform has been a huge success for the medium, and we assume that lots of Sony customers would love to experience this new chapter of Half-Life…We’re very focused on the initial release…We have not ruled anything out.”
So there is some opportunity for Sony to score big with 3rd party support on PSVR. There’s also a good chance the improved hardware in the PS5 will allow third parties to not have to hire a second team to develop a VR port.
The First Party Games
Sony still has a number of its own teams working on VR games including some new ones. In 2019 Sony bought Insomniac games. Along with the Spider-Man team came their VR team as well. Japan Studio was responsible for work on 15 PS4 games, five of which were VR. SIE Japan Studio must surely be working on something. The tech demo described in the first PS5 wired article sounds a lot like a new AstroBot. A potential Gran Turismo 7 could support full VR on the PS5. Sony’s new Manchester Studio is rumored to be working on a high profile VR game. In Addition, Guerilla Games has an unannounced multiplayer game. That just what we know, there could be many more.
One of the worst things about PSVR is that the move controllers do not have analog sticks for movement. Motion controllers make for more immersive experiences but, you miss out on the free movement from the analog sticks that you are used to. This is what makes Firewall Zero Hour so great with the use of the Aim Controller and it’s analog stick. Thankfully UploadVR has found new patents showing, Sony is looking to evolve player-controlled movement. Not only are there analog sticks, it looks like Sony is going to leverage tactile sense and haptic feedback in VR. These give the player the free motion from an analog stick. Paired with that, the controllers can expand, contrast or vibrate during gameplay throughout the controllers base.
The most exciting thing about PSVR2 is how it’s going to exponentially be able to improve from the power of the PS5. Higher resolutions, faster load times, improved audio and graphical fidelity. There will also be a number of smaller less notable enhancements that will vastly improve how VR will work. Another recent patent shows Sony is working on eye-tracking. If the PS5 is able to process Variable Rate Shading they will be able to improve graphical performance by only shading the environments the player is looking at. If the rumors of 9.3 teraflops of graphical power are true, that also means almost eight times the power as the current PSVR games. In other words, not only will they have access to more power they would have access to compressing that power through VRS.
A new GPU means that the PS5 can be designed from the ground up with VR in mind. The current PSVR unit requires a break out box to process the 3D audio and the TV video out. A new console means that this can be replaced. In fact, LetsGoDigtial believes this patent is evidence that Sony is planning for a completely wireless PSVR.
This patent also gives credence to our dual display theory. Continued with a drastic increase in motion sensors on both the headset and the controller. All of the current tracking technology dates back to the PS3 move controllers and is nearly a decade old. Another patent filed in 2018 describes how augmented reality would work in conjunction with an HMD. This lines up with rumors of PSVR2 having at least one external camera. This camera would be capable of allowing the player to see through the headset as well as provide AR. Imagine being able to find your water bottle or see who’s calling, while not having to remove the headset.
Keep following Lordsofgaming.net for more news on PSVR and next PSVR2 as we lead up to the new and announcements over the next year.