PSVR 2 – it’s the question on everyone’s minds. When will we see Sony’s next headset? What new features will it include? Will it ever actually release?
Note: This is an evolving article, originally published at the beginning of 2020. Today’s update contains additional information on PS5.
There’s still a lot to learn about Sony’s future plans for VR in a crucial year for PlayStation itself. PS5 is now with us but we still find ourselves endlessly speculating about what VR will look like on the new console. We do know a few things about the possibility of PSVR 2, though, all of which we’ve rounded up for you in one handy article below.
Sony Won’t Say If PSVR 2 Is Happening, But There Is Hope
In the weeks leading up to launch, Sony has delivered somewhat mixed messages about the future of VR. A few weeks back, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan said the future of the platform was “more than a few minutes away”, suggesting it won’t arrive in 2021. It sparked concern as to if Sony might ever release a PSVR 2 but, earlier this week, Hideaki Nishino Vice President of Platform Planning & Management said he would like PS5 to have a “suitable VR experience“, so there’s still hope.
If It Does Happen, PSVR 2 Will Run On PS5
This one’s a bit of a no brainer but, just in case you didn’t know; PSVR 2, if it does indeed happen, will almost certainly be released for PS5. Sony’s next-generation console is now rolling out across the globe (if you’re reading this in New Zealand at the time of publication, we’re officially jealous). Sony has an official page for the console with more details about the anticipated console.
It seems most likely that, if a new PSVR headset is going to be released, it’ll come out on PS5. Sony could be planning a Quest-like standalone, but we haven’t seen any evidence to support that idea. Instead, the headset would need to take advantage of the console’s improved horsepower. PS4 was able to deliver some amazing VR experiences, but it was no secret that it couldn’t measure up to games pushing the limits of the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index. The added processing power of the PS5 should go a long way to improving the PSVR experience. Luckily, it looks like that’s the case…
PS5 Specs Show Promise For PSVR 2
Sony released specs for the PS5 a while back, promising high-end PC power for console VR. Here’s a chart outlining the specs for the console stacked up against the PS4 and enhanced PS4 Pro, whipped up by our own David Heaney.
Based on these specs, we’re expecting PS5 to be comparable to Nvidia’s RTX 2070 Super in terms of GPU power, and six times more powerful than the standard PS4. That will enable a huge leap forward for console VR games; hopefully no more blurry PSVR ports at the very least. Plus the console boasts an on-board solid-state drive (SSD) that Sony says reduces load times to near-instant. Again, that could have a big impact on crafting believable virtual worlds.
Sony Is Researching Next-Generation Headsets For PSVR 2
Perhaps the most important point to stress here; we know for fact Sony is researching the device that could become PSVR 2. In mid-2019, Sony’s Vice President of R&D, Dominic Mallinson gave a talk outlining what to expect from the next generation of VR headsets.
He outlined devices that boast ‘roughly double’ the pixel count of then-current headsets (PSVR, Rift, Vive) and support for high dynamic range, which brings a wider array of colors to the screen. Plus Mallinson pointed towards a wider, 120 degree field of view to see more of the virtual world, and optional wireless support. There might even be eye-tracking included.
Not to mention that there’s been a steady stream of revealing patents for a potential PSVR 2 over the past few years. We’ve seen fillings for new tracking tech, systems for local multiplayer VR and more. Beyond that, we don’t know exactly what stage Sony is at with developing PSVR 2.
…But PSVR 2 Won’t Be Out This Year
Shortly after his talk, Mallinson stressed that any possible to successor to PSVR probably wouldn’t arrive alongside PS5. “There’s no reason for us to coincide it with a new console,” he explained. “From the point of view of the consumer, to be bombarded with many many things — oh, you have to buy this, you have to buy that — is a message that we don’t want to send.”
Given that PS5 is out at the end of the year, that likely means we won’t see PSVR 2 until 2021 at the very earliest. Better dig in; it’s going to be a long wait.
In The Meantime, PS5 Supports PSVR For Backwards Compatibility
Not only is PS5 backwards compatible, but we know the console will support the original PSVR, too. That means you’ll be able to play original PSVR games on the headset, but you’ll need a special adapter to attach the PS4 Camera to your PS5. You can’t use the new HD Camera for PS5 with the headset, but Sony is sending out the adapter for free and bundling it in with new units. You’ll need to use all of your existing controllers for PSVR on PS5, though gamepad-supported games that don’t use tracking like Resident Evil 7 can use the next DualSense controller.
We also know that, to some extent at least, PSVR developers will be able to update their titles with PS5-specific features, perhaps improving the visuals and performance of existing games. Blood & Truth will have improvements as will Firewall: Zero Hour, but other titles are yet to be announced.
Also bear in mind that not every PSVR game is compatible with PS5. Sony says the ‘vast majority’ of PS4 games will work on PS5, but we do know Robinson: The Journey isn’t compatible with the new console. DWVR won’t work at launch, but will be updated via a patch.
…But PSVR Can’t Be Used With New PS5 Games
While backwards compatibility support for PSVR seems robust, one thing you can’t do is use the headset with new PS5 games. Sony told us it had not announced plans for PSVR on PS5. That means cross-generation games with PSVR support on PS4 like Hitman 3 and No Man’s Sky don’t support PSVR on PS5. You need to run the old versions via backwards compatibility for it to work.
DualSense Seems PSVR 2-Ready
In April, Sony gave us a first look at its brand new controller, DualSense. This gamepad iterates on the DualShock 4 with advanced haptic feedback technology and trigger resistance. We’ve been hands-on with the kit and we think it’s pretty incredible. More intriguing, though, is the moving of the light bar that tracks the controller’s position from the front of the pad to the top. Two thin strips now appear on the sides of the touchpad. This could be a hint that PSVR 2 will have inside-out tracking, with a camera mounted to the headset. That’s all speculation at this point, though.
Expect Some Motion Controller Updates Too
PlayStation Move troubles are one of PSVR’s biggest problems. They don’t have analog sticks and it’s easy to move your arms out of view of the camera unless you have a hugely optimized setup.
Thankfully, we’re expecting this situation to improve on PSVR 2. Lots of Sony patents have suggested the company might be looking into new Move controllers. One specifically mentions some interesting haptic technologies and trigger resistance, the same features being applied in DualSense. Plus a recently-released research video seen above pointed to the controllers having new finger-tracking tech. We’re hopeful to see all these new features come together in the new motion controllers.
Some PS5 Games Seem Primed For PSVR 2
This year’s gaming showcase for PS5 definitely featured some titles that look primed and ready for VR support. Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village are good bets considering their previous iterations supported PSVR,
What’s your take on PSVR 2? Are you looking forward to the headset? Let us know in the comments below!