The future of console gaming has arrived in the PlayStation VR and, with that, new branded accessories are expected to arrive. Revealed on their blog, the new Platinum Wireless headset aims to produce audio the way “games were made to sound” and has 7.1 surround sound, 3D audio, lightweight design, noise canceling microphones, extended life battery, and 50mm drivers for solid range. There’s also a companion app available that allows you to use audio modes designed by developers to better express their games audibly. Sony has introduced the audio tech to the market with PS VR, and these audio accessories are compatible with the VR headset, but Sony is also finding ways for some of its elements to cross over into standard PS4 games.
As noted in the developer diary with Naughty Dog, visuals are usually highlighted more as video games become more advanced. Graphics continue to improve, but sound is a crucial element of games as well. With PlayStation VR, sound could even be considered more important. Immersion is key in virtual experiences but, despite whatever visual design is in place, the 3D sound has to be consistent and quality to maintain the illusion. Left and right directional audio is not sufficient in virtual space. Players will be engaging in actions with a lot of freedom and need to be aware of the full space they operate in so there needs to be sound from above, below, and all around.
That 3D sound design is being brought to more than just the VR titles now, with Naughty Dog patching it into Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Additional titles like MLB The Show 17 and Days Gone will also take advantage of 3D audio. The headset is currently available for pre-order on Amazon and Gamestop for around $160. Current release date for the headset is January 10th, 2017.