Sony has formally revealed the PlayStation VR 2 during its press conference at CES 2022.
The upgraded headset boasts a raft of new features and hardware. 4K HDR in-HMD lenses, with foveated rendering and a 110-degree field-of-view, make this a much clearer, cleaner VR experience over the original.
Foveated rendering, for the uninitiated, is a kind of rendering used by VR headsets with eye-tracking. The headset tracks your eye movement, reducing the rendering quality of everything in your peripheral vision. This, in turn, greatly reduces strain on the hardware. It’s all very clever, and the user doesn’t tend to notice it’s happening while wearing the headset.
So, yeah, all this to say the PlayStation VR 2 has eye-tracking and is already putting it to work.
Among its other new sensory features, there’s also a small amount of headset feedback. The HMD contains force feedback that will give the user subtle, responsive vibrations in concert with their actions in each game or experience.
This connects to the new PlayStation VR 2 Sense Controllers, which follow Oculus’ lead and attempt to provide greater interactivity with VR environments.
The new 4K HDR screens significantly upgrade the HMD’s visual fidelity over the original, and Sony unveiled a trailer for a new VR experience to highlight it. Horizon: Call of the Mountain is a new VR title from Horizon: Zero Dawn creators Guerilla Games and Japanese studio Firesprite. The short trailer shows an incredibly lush visual stage, but it does appear to be on rails. Time will tell if it’s the VR killer app that Sony badly needs.
The original PlayStation VR was a bold move from Sony and set it apart from competitor Xbox, which had no VR hardware of its own. The unit, however, was not the overwhelming success Sony might have hoped for. Its screens were blurry, as were many headsets at the time, and the FOV was quite restrictive. The library of games was also a bit thin, and the decision to retrofit the older PlayStation Move controllers around the device meant it lost a lot of in-game dexterity. The “killer app”, the Half-Life Alyx level must-play title the PSVR badly needed to succeed never materialised, further hurting the incentive to buy.
With Facebook’s Oculus and Valve’s Index now its closest rivals in the VR space, Sony has had to step up its game, and on paper at least, it looks to have done exactly that. We will be very excited to get our hands on this HMD in the future and put it through its paces.
PlayStation VR 2 does not yet have a release date or pricing. We will update you if and when those details come to hand.