The PlayStation VR was a big hit by VR standards – though arguably that’s not saying much – offering an affordable take on virtual reality to anyone who already owned a PS4.
With the PS5 due this November, it’s inevitable that fans are hoping for a PSVR 2 headset to go with the new home console, and a few leaks and patents certainly suggest that Sony is working on something – though we don’t know when it might come out.
In the meantime, the existing PSVR headset still works with the PlayStation 5, though owners have to request a free adapter to connect the camera to the system.
When will PSVR 2 be released?
Sony’s first-gen PlayStation VR headset was launched three years after the introduction of the PS4, in 2016, but we don’t think we’ll have to wait that long with the PS5.
The PS5 launches in November 2020, and since we haven’t yet seen even a hint of the PSVR 2 there’s no chance it’s coming at launch. We’re more likely to see it launch some time in 2021 or 2022. That’s what a Bloomberg report suggests too, suggesting that the PSVR 2 is “tentatively scheduled after the PlayStation 5 goes on sale.”
On the other hand, comments from PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan hint that we might have longer to wait. Speaking to The Washington Post ahead of the PS5 launch, Ryan said that “I think we’re more than a few minutes from the future of VR.”
“PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment,” he said. “Will it be 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 forwarding to seeing where that takes us in the future.”
A job listing posted by Sony Japan in August 2020 confirms that the company is working on a headset for “next-generation VR,” though gives few specific details. It warns that the project is “with a view to five years from now,” however. Don’t take that as cause for concern that the PSVR 2 is 5 years off though – we reckon it simply means that Sony is already starting work on the next-next-gen VR headset, or that is is a separate product outside of the PlayStation ecosystem.
How much will PSVR 2 cost?
The first-gen PlayStation VR starter bundle costs around £259 to buy right now, but that affordable price tag came after a handful of price drops. In fact, the full PlayStation VR kit was priced at £399/$499 at release back in 2016, and we think that’s more representative of the potential cost of the second-gen PlayStation VR headset.
The PlayStation VR 2 is rumoured to sport a lot of new and upgraded tech to improve the overall VR experience for PlayStation gamers (which we go into more detail about below), but of course, the use of high-end tech could bump up the overall price.
For reference, the high-end Vive Cosmos costs £699/$699, although the upgraded Oculus Rift S comes in much cheaper at only £399/$399.
What we’re trying to say is that the price will vary depending on the tech on offer, and for that, we’ll have to wait until Sony officially reveals its next-gen VR headset.
PSVR 2 design and feature rumours
We’ve collated all the biggest design and feature rumours right here, giving you a great (unofficial) look at what the PlayStation VR 2 might offer.
PlayStation VR 2 could be wireless
The biggest potential upgrade of the second-gen PlayStation VR headset is wireless connectivity – if a patent discovered by LetsGoDigital is to be believed, anyway. The patent, which was approved on 3 October 2019 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, depicts a VR headset with built-in cameras and a “transparent mode”.
Per the patent, the PlayStation VR 2 headset may have three built-in cameras – two in the front and one in the back – alongside motion detection technology built into the headset itself. The patent also depicts a camera built into all-new Move controllers, but we’ll go more detail about that a little bit later.
Sony also details Bluetooth connectivity, a built-in power supply, video/audio signal source and a microphone in the patent, suggesting the company could be planning to ditch the wires altogether.
Image via LetsGoDigital
The PSVR 2 headset may also sport numerous LEDs on the back of the headset to help improve movement tracking – one of the biggest issues with the current headset. The LEDs could be tracked via PlayStation Camera, much like the first-gen headset, despite the overall wireless nature of the headset.
Transparency mode was also detailed in the patent, allowing the headset to display a certain amount of transparency when required – like when getting close to a real-world object – utilising the forward-facing cameras of the headset. It’s a feature of most other major VR headsets, and would certainly be a welcome addition to the PlayStation VR 2.
It might be able to track your eyes
Wireless connectivity might not be the only upgrade when it comes to the PSVR 2; it could also track your eyes. Detailed in a patent that was published back in July 2019, the headset could detect the “posture of the HMD worn on the head” and “determine a user’s gaze direction” to refine what each eye sees and improve stereoscopic depth, also known as parallax imaging.
While the uses for the tech beyond improved image quality aren’t mentioned in the patent, it could be used to interact with games simply by looking – a great accessibility option for disabled gamers.
The PlayStation VR headset currently sports a 5.7in 1920 x 1080 (386ppi) display, which was acceptable in 2016 but not so much in 2019. As we move away from first-gen VR headsets, consumers are demanding higher-res displays to improve the overall look of VR content and make things like reading text in VR more comfortable, and it looks like the PSVR 2 won’t disappoint on that front.
Japan Display, otherwise known as JDI, is co-owned by Sony and produces the displays not only for the PSVR headset, but Sony smartphones too. The company has developed a next-gen 3.2in display boasting a 2160 x 2432 resolution and a whopping 1001ppi, which many speculate will be used in the next-gen PSVR headset.
Being smaller than the 5.7in display of the original, Sony may need to use two separate displays to power the VR experience, but with the extra power supposedly on offer from the PS5, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
Upgraded PlayStation Move controllers
As mentioned above, the next-gen PSVR headset will be joined by improved Move controllers. The current Move controllers do the job, allowing you to interact with virtual environments, but without 1:1 tracking, they simply can’t compete with the experience on offer from Vive, Cosmos or Oculus Touch controllers.
Confusingly, we’ve seen two possible designs for them. A patent that surfaced back in January 2018 gave us our first look at one possibility; while the overall design is similar, there are a handful of new additions including an analogue stick – helping with smooth locomotion in VR games – and plenty of buttons to help you interact with the virtual world.
Then, in October 2019, LetsGoDigital discovered a PlayStation VR 2 patent that also outlines a key new feature of the next-gen Move controllers; a camera. The addition of a camera could allow the Move controllers to carry on working even when out of view of the PlayStation Camera – something the controllers can’t do at present.
That camera isn’t found on a March 2020 patent however, which shows a whole new form factor that includes a halo ring grip, as seen on some of the PC VR setups. The analogue stick from the other patent is still here, alongside various buttons, a trigger, and an optional touch-sensitive area. There’s no mention of a camera on the controllers, but instead the patent suggests that a camera on the headset could assist in tracking the controllers.
Considering the current Move controllers were first launched way back in 2009 for the PS3, we think an upgrade is well overdue.
Compatible with first-gen PSVR games
While not explicitly confirmed by Sony, the company has stated clearly that the PS5 will be backwards compatible with the almost the entire PS4 library, so we expect that to apply to the PlayStation VR library too.