Editorial: Why PSVR’s Current Library Is An Investment Towards PSVR 2

by Jamie Feltham • February 22nd, 2018

Apex Construct’s release this week once again brought about a recurring topic in its reviews: PlayStation VR’s limited tracking and Move controllers restrict what is an otherwise great experience. The 180-degree tracking makes traversing an entire virtual world much more finicky than it should be and the lack of analog sticks on the controllers make locomotion a hassle. It’s an unfortunate reality that many of us have learned to live with so as to enjoy otherwise incredible experiences like Skyrim VR.

But, as frustrating as these issues can be, they also make me very, very excited for the future of PSVR.

Every VR game out there right now is going to benefit from better headsets; this much is obvious. The Vive Pro demonstrates that we’ll soon be enjoying the same great content with much crisper visuals that keep us better immersed in the worlds we’re exploring. But PSVR is a special case because the room for improvement with Sony’s headset is so massive that we’re foaming at the mouth thinking about playing the VR games we already have today in three to five year’s time.

Why? Well, on the surface, there’s the very simple stuff. Presumably, PSVR 2 would be a headset that works with a hypothetical successor to the PS4 and PS4 Pro: PS5. That’s a huge benefit right from the off; PS4’s limited processing power has been a sore point for developers porting Rift and Vive games to the platform but, should PS5 be backwards compatible, teams could have an easier time bringing their console ports up to standard with the PC version thanks to increased horsepower (even the PS4 Pro gives developers a lot more to work with, but games have to support the standard PS4 too). No more blurry textures in Arizona Sunshine, for example, or perhaps a little less pop-in in Apex Construct.

Then there’s the basic specs of hardware itself. You’d have to assume PSVR 2’s display will be a significant bump up from the original’s functional if dated 1080p OLED screen. The further out the headset is the more viable it is that we could get a 3K or maybe even (if we’re really lucky) a 4K display fitted into the device. From day one, then, we can revisit worlds like Skyrim and Resident Evil 7 and feel much more immersed from a purely visual perspective.

More than any other aspect, though, it’s controllers and tracking that stand to benefit the most from the hardware upgrade. With some fine-tuning, you can get a pretty good setup for PSVR right now but you still won’t be able to turn around when using the Move controllers (the camera can’t track what it can’t see) and you’ll still experience some drift even when you’re not moving. It’s also all too easy to move outside of the camera’s field of view or struggle to get the right lighting conditions for perfect tracking. As new inside-out solutions and improved SteamVR tracking nears, PSVR is looking older by the day.

Imagine a PSVR 2 with backwards compatibility that fixes all of that. The ability to turn around when enemies circle you in Skyrim, raise your gun to your sights in Arizona without tracking confusing one tracking light for the other. Perhaps this could be achieved with the same inside-out tracking seen on Microsoft’s mixed reality headsets, eliminating the need for a camera entirely.

And, as for those Move controllers, we’re praying that something comes of recent Sony patents for improved designs. Developers have done the best they can with the archaic designs of these devices, originally built for the PS3, but there’s only so much you can achieve without full 360 tracking and an analog stick or trackpad.

Simply put, provided backwards compatibility is included, once PSVR 2 is here the PSVR community will already have an expansive library of great content that will be hugely improved. The patience so many of us have shown will be rewarded with hours of immersive content that we can dive right back into and enjoy like it was our first time in VR all over again.

So next time a PSVR game is held back by the hardware, don’t despair at a wasted $20. Instead, close your eyes and think ahead to a time when these issues will be a distant memory and you’re enjoying the exact same experience with none of the issues facing us today.

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What's your reaction?
  • mellott124

    Don’t be too surprised if you have to repurchase all those games for PS5 and PSVR 2.

    • kool

      Why the cell processor was the only reason they couldn’t do this gen. All other gens were bc, and ps will use off the shelf parts going forward. They picked so many xbots this gen theyd be stupid to not try and keep them attached to the ps brand.

    • Gary

      I highly doubt it. Sony makes bad decisions yes but something like this would lose a lot of their fanbase

  • Fear Monkey

    I wish Sony would have released an updated move controller with sticks, or would have supported the move’s navigation controller. I dislike playing with the move controllers compared to a dualshock. I dont think I would feel the same if Move had sticks on them. It was a great way to clear out old inventory and save on design, but it has really held PSVR back.

  • Allsons

    Honestly, I’m kind of expecting the PS5 to continue using the current iteration of the PSVR headset on the PS5. The largest barrier to the success VR will always be the entry price, and requiring everyone who’s already bought in to buy in again. This isn’t like buying a new gaming console, it’s like buying a new TV.

    Oh sure it will be better, they’ll probably add an additional camera or two to grant better roomscale, as well as new controllers, but I just can’t see a new headset, especially considering that the headset itself isn’t what’s holding PSVR back.

    Let’s not forget that the controllers and tracking system are both being reused from other ventures. Sony is no stranger to reusing old tech.

  • Hone McBone

    I was a bit skeptical about PSVR before it came out with the limited hardware & processing power. Thankfully it’s decent enough (from what I’ve heard) & while I’m keen to see an improvement since it’ll benefit the entire VR space, it’s seems like the PS5 is a few years away & any changes before then will strain the system.

  • PJ

    I’m a PC gamer and an Oculus Rift user. But I’m looking forward to seeing what the PSVR2 brings to the table, my guess is inside out tracking and controllers similar to the Oculus Touch, and with the Sony’s funding and exclusive IP’s I can see them pulling it off, and becoming the go to device for VR gaming.

    I wouldn’t be at all surprised if in the future we see console VR as an ‘all in one device’ simalar to Oculus’s Santa Cruz

  • Carpediem06

    Sony and backwards compatibility. Mwha ha ha ha

  • Eddie Barsh

    Well wrote. Looking forward to the PS5 and PSVR2 headset !!

  • Nate Leiper

    Its amazing how great it already is, this is the FIRST real generation of VR.

    Remember the first gen of consoles, compared to the 2nd, compared to the 5th? The possibilities are exciting.

  • chris miller

    This is a fundamentally flawed string of “logic” for a number of reasons.

    First, Sony has no backwards compatibility, so why would we assume they will suddenly do a 180?

    Secondary, if I have a brand new headset with higher resolution, better tracking and such, why would I want to go back and play 3-4 year old tech demos instead of the more evolved games?

    Third, just because the updated system has better resolution and tracking doesn’t mean the game will suddenly look and play better. It’s made for old hardware and would need to be updated to support the new system and personally I want newer more evolved games, not wasted investment in old titles when that money should go to new development.

    Finally, this notion tries passing the risk to consumers for keeping the industry alive and tries to justify it’s okay to buy a lot of the crap put out on PSVR because down the road…That’s not our job. It’s the industries job to support the device and there is zero guarantee this industry will even survive another couple years at this time. VR adoption is still very small and not even Sony who leads the premium market by a mile right now, is investing much in full, 1st party content, so they clearly are also not confident right now in its viability.