With the PS5 on the horizon, we suspect the PSVR will also get a new iteration that improves upon everything its predecessor excelled at and remedies the things it didn’t do so well. However, the existence of PSVR 2 is currently unknown, even with the console’s release date coming up so soon.
The question we need to ask is how PSVR 2 will improve on its predecessor. What new technologies will Sony implement to justify consumers purchasing another expensive piece of hardware? And if it exists, when will we actually be able to get our hands on it?
If you’re curious about any of this, here’s everything you need to know about PSVR 2, including its release date, rumors, price, specs and what we want to see from the advancing technology.
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PSVR 2 release date
Sony won’t let the PS5 go very far into its life cycle without VR support, which likely means we’ll get a reveal of the new headset sometime at the end of 2020. If not, we can definitely expect to see it on the early side of 2021. Even though this makes sense from a business perspective, it’s hard to say for sure. Sony has been unpredictable with its reveal patterns this year and it wouldn’t surprise me if this also applied to the PSVR 2.
As far as the PSVR 2’s release date goes, Sony is probably more concerned with getting enough PS5 consoles in the hands of consumers. For reference, the original PSVR released nearly three years after the PS4 launched.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Jim Ryan explains how he believes VR hasn't had its chance to shine yet. Specifically, he states that "at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment."
He continues, "will it happen this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that. And we’re very pleased with all the experience that we’ve gained with PlayStation VR, and we look forward to seeing where that takes us in the future."
Ryan is referring to the VR landscape as a whole, but part of this could be referring to the future of PSVR in general. It's quite clear that PlayStation has yet to give up on PSVR, but we probably won't see its successor until a few years into the PS5's lifespan. If Sony was intending on releasing a PSVR2 soon, it probably wouldn't be offering free PlayStation Camera Adaptors to make PSVR compatible with the PS5.
PSVR 2 rumors
Sony filed a patent in 2019 for a “VR sickness reduction system, head-mounted display, VR sickness reduction method and program that can further reduce VR motion sickness.” This patent seemingly intends to make the VR experience far smoother by using an “oscillating unit capable of oscillating the head of the user” and “a display control unit that causes the display unit to display a moving image showing a state viewed from a viewpoint, and acceleration of the viewpoint in the moving image displayed on the display unit.” There will also be a “swing control section that controls swing of the swing section according to the situation.”
This means the display within the VR headset will try to more accurately emulate what actual movement feels like to convince the brain that they’re experiencing natural movement. This could help reduce motion sickness, but patents can easily be disregarded and never utilized, so we’ll see what happens.
Another patent filed this year indicates that Sony wants to develop a technology that can allow users to experience sporting events live within a seat. It’s called “Insertion of VR Spectator in live video of live event,” and the image for the patent shows people entering their VR headset to view some sort of live event without actually being there.
Sony also was approved for a patent in 2019 that could show the PSVR 2 tracks eye movement and head movements. This patent describes that the PSVR 2’s “image identification determines two images for use in the generation of left- and right-eye parallax images from a plurality of viewpoint images stored in an image storage in accordance with the user's gaze direction and the binocular inclination angle.” This could greatly increase the depth of each image and allow for the rotation metrics to be far more accurate to how the user moves.
And finally, Sony’s thinking about adding a feature that will allow PSVR 2 users to experience their friends playing a game by being a spectator within the world. This patent was filed in 2018. The example Sony uses shows a user playing a racing game with a group of spectators watching from behind a railing. Normally, they’d be NPCs, but if a friend joins the game, they can take their spot within VR and watch as the player speeds by. Once again, patents are merely representative of ideas the company has and not what we might see in the final product, so it’s unclear if this is what we can expect out of PSVR 2.
A new PSVR patent also suggests that the next edition of the technology would include haptic feedback similar to that found on the DualSense controller. How exactly this would be used (and how effective it might be) is unknown, but it's definitely a fascinating prospect.
In an interview with Wired, Sony’s Lead System Architect, Mark Cerny, confirmed that the current version of PSVR would be completely compatible with PS5. “I won't go into the details of our VR strategy today, beyond saying that VR is very important to us and that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console.”
We can also possibly see a new VR game out of Rockstar according to a LinkedIn post that suggests the company is looking for “Senior Programmers, Engine Programmer, Designer and Animator.” Furthermore, as Resident Evil 7 was fully playable in VR, we can expect Resident Evil 8 to follow its lead.
Sony is also currently looking to hire new team members to work on VR technology, according to a recent job listing. This could be PSVR 2, although it’s currently hard to tell. All we do know is that it’s most certainly related to VR.
Another patent that went relatively under the radar suggests that Sony is looking into assisting glasses wearers who intend to use PSVR. While it could just be a patent with no intention to be produced, Sony's patent refers to "prescription glasses with eye gaze tracking and electro optical signaling to a HMD."
PSVR 2 price
For insight on PSVR 2’s price, we need to consider that the original headset launched at $399. It’s unlikely that Sony will make it any more expensive, as this was already considered quite a steep price for a headset with a limited library. Even then, PSVR currently retails at $299, although you can find some deals that chop off an extra $40 or $50.
Considering the PSVR 2 will likely boast a handful of intuitive design choices and features, it’s unlikely that Sony will price it at $299. Instead, we can probably expect the console to launch at the same price as its predecessor: $399.
To provide further context, some of the best VR headsets range anywhere from $399 to $800. For example, the HTC Vive Pro will cost you $799. However, HTC’s headsets have been targeting enterprise markets as of late. The PSVR 2’s real competition will come from Facebook and Oculus. The past few years have seen the company release the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest which both cost $399 and offer better graphics and a wider mix of games and apps. And the Oculus Quest takes things a step further going completely wireless and throwing hand-tracking technology into the mix. If Sony tries to market its hardware as something on a similar level as the Oculus headsets, based on upgraded specs, it could get away with pricing it this high. Then again, PS gamers expect cheaper hardware given the limited library of VR games.
PSVR 2 specs
Japan Display, a joint venture owned by Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi announced in 2018 that it was developing 1,001 pixels-per-inch (ppi) displays at a 2160 x 2432 resolution. In a press release on Japan Display’s website, the company revealed that it “not only features high pixel density, but also has improved LC response time from 4.5msec to 2.2msec which helps to reduce motion blur.” The company continues on about how its display “is able to operate at 120Hz refresh rate” and that it will ”contribute to minimize system latency.”
While we’re not sure if this tech will be used in the PSVR 2, we expect Sony to use the newest VR display built by a company it co-owns for its next VR headset. If it does, the new PSVR would have one of the fastest refresh rates on the market, which would make for one of the smoothest VR experiences available.
It’s also possible that PSVR 2 could be entirely wireless. When Sony released a slightly upgraded PSVR, it made the chords less disruptive and frustrating to handle. As this change made the headset easier to use, it makes sense that the next logical step would be to forego wires entirely. This would also allow PSVR 2 to compete more closely with the Oculus Quest (you have to buy an adapter to go wireless with the Vive), which comes standard without wires.
Additionally, we expect the PSVR 2 to have some form of room tracking to more accurately follow the user's movements and actions. This isn’t necessarily guaranteed, but it would allow the headset to be as successful as those from competing brands. It could also help the PlayStation 5 keep up with third-party VR titles, which require room tracking to function at optimal performance.
Sony also patented a new “Controller Device,” which clearly looks like it will be used for PSVR 2. This controller intends to improve movement functionality and tracking. This is only a patent so it's unclear what the full version will look like, but it gives us a general idea of what we can expect.
PSVR 2 what we want
Most of all, PSVR 2 needs to ensure that players have access to an extensive video game library to justify the price of a VR headset. While the original PSVR had quite a few fun games to mess around with, it paled in comparison to what’s available on PCs with HTC or Oculus headsets. This could change if PSVR 2 increases its functionality as much as we expect it to, allowing for the PS5 to better support more demanding third-party titles like Half-Life: Alyx.
The PSVR 2 will soar if it receives the wireless functionality we are expecting. Getting rid of wires is the best step to make the system much more immersive. At this point, it’s difficult to count how many times I’ve had to be untangled from a mess of wires while deep into VR.
We also want to get confirmation on whether or not the original PSVR library on the PS4 will be available to play on PS5. Sony's confusing statements are unclear about backwards compatibility, but it would be nice to know whether or not the console can handle this generation's VR titles.
With the release of the fantastic and affordable Oculus Quest 2, the PSVR 2 has a lot to compete with. Sony definitely needs to step up its game for the next iteration of its virtual reality hardware.