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Sony PlayStation VR 2: Everything we know and what we want to see

The PSVR 2 looks amazing. Here's what we know, and what we want to see.
By
May 31, 2022

The Sony Playstation 5 is a massive leap forward for console gaming and has technically been on the market since late 2020, though many of us have struggled to buy one due to stock shortages. At the time of the PS5’s announcement, many wondered if Sony would continue to meaningfully support VR during the PS5 generation. We got our answer in February 2021, as Sony finally confirmed it was working on the PSVR 2. And then it was radio silence — at least until recently.

In the last few months, we’ve learned a fair amount about the PSVR 2 and its new controllers. Here’s everything we know about the PSVR 2, as well as some rumors and speculation to help fill in the gaps.

What we know about the PlayStation VR2: at a glance

The PlayStation VR2 is an upcoming virtual reality headset designed exclusively for the PlayStation 5, and the follow-up to the original PSVR made for the PS4 in 2016. At a glance, here are the key details we officially know about the upcoming VR headset:

  • The PSVR 2 design has been officially confirmed for both the headset and the controller. Images in this article are based on official Sony renders.
  • The PSVR 2 will deliver a notable ergonomic and feature upgrade for its controllers, moving away from the aging PS Move controls found on the PSVR. The new controllers features haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
  • The PSVR 2 headset has tons of improvements within, including an upgrade to a per-eye resolution of 2000×2040, 110 degree field of view, 3D audio, four built-in cameras, and support for rumble/feedback through a single built-in motor.
  • Sony is set to reveal more about the PSVR 2 and its game library at a State of Play event on June 2nd.

PSVR 2 controllers and headset gets a major revision over the PSVR

psvr vs psvr2

The PSVR 2 features a brand new design for both its headset and controllers. The headset’s design change isn’t as massive as the controllers, but still a small departure from its predecessor. The PSVR 2 headset looks less bulky, has a more refined black and white color scheme to match the PS5, and seems to have ditched the blue lights found on the PSVR. We love this design, as it feels a bit more modern and sleek.

Aside from cosmetics, you’ll also find a few other improvements with the headset including an adjustment dial, a slight reduction in weight, haptic feedback, and a vent to prevent the lenses from fogging. As a glasses wearer, I certainly appreciate that last one. The headset even apes the PS5 controller by having thousands of tiny PlayStation symbols on it.

While all those improvements are noteworthy, the weight especially stands out. As someone who has worn the HTC Vive, Rift, Quest 2, and many others — I can tell you weight matters. The PSVR was reasonably comfortable but during long play sessions it could still get a bit heavy, so we’re excited to see how the reduction affects comfort with the PSVR 2.

Obviously, there are plenty of hardware improvements to the display and other components as well, though we’ll get to those a bit later in this article.

The PSVR 2’s controllers are officially called PlayStation VR 2 Sense controllers. As you can see, they are dramatically different from the PS Move controllers that were used on the original Playstation VR. The shape is reminiscent of modern VR controllers from Oculus, HTC, and others. The button layout is also quite a bit different from its predecessor.

This time around you get a pair of analog sticks, one for each controller. The right controller will also have the PS button, the Options button, the Circle and Cross buttons, the R1 and R2 buttons, and the Right Stick/R3 button. The left-hand controller will have the PS button, along with the Create button, the Triangle and Square buttons, the L1 and L2 buttons, and the Left Stick/L3 button. The PlayStation VR 2 Sense will support Bluetooth 5.1​ wireless connectivity.

It’s not just the shape or the buttons that are different here, there are plenty of tech improvements you can’t see. The Sense controllers will offer haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, essentially mimicking the feature set found in the PS5 Dual Sense controller. This allows you to feel tension when pressing buttons and get unique vibrations depending on the action you are performing in-game. Another big addition is finger-touch detection.

Finger-touch detection allows the controller to detect your fingers without actually pressing in on any areas where you have the thumb, middle, or index fingers placed. This allows for fluid hand movement and gestures in a way that the PSVR couldn’t offer.

PSVR 2 specs and special features

all PS5 related items releasing holiday 2020

Considering the power of the PS5 alone, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that the PSVR 2 will have better graphics than its predecessor. All that power means little if the PSVR 2 doesn’t offer big improvements to take full advantage but, thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that. At CES 2022, we learned the PSVR 2 offers some impressive upgrades. Now that we know about the design changes and the improvements to the controller, let’s talk a bit deeper about the PSVR 2 specs and other unique features.

The PSVR 2 displays offer some substantial improvements

Probably the most important component for a VR headset is the display technology. Poor lenses ruin the experience not just by breaking immersion, but by causing motion sickness and other issues. The PSVR 2 offers a much-needed jump from the 960×1080 resolution found on the original PSVR, with new OLED panels that offer a resolution of 2,000 x 2,040 per eye along with HDR and a 110-degree field, as well as support for refresh rates of 90Hz and 120Hz.

The rendering technology is also getting a boost. Rendering smarts are set to include flexible scaling resolution and foveated rendering, both tasked with redistributing computing power based on a user’s viewing direction and eye position. This will reportedly result in better overall performance.

The PSVR 2 will feature vibration feedback, eye tracking, and 3D audio for better immersion

In addition to the haptic feedback found in the controllers, the PSVR 2 headset will contain a single motor for vibration effects. Sony offered some examples of how this will work, saying that gamers will be able to “feel a character’s elevated pulse during tense moments, the rush of objects passing close to the character’s head, or the thrust of a vehicle as the character speeds forward.” It’s anyone’s guess whether a buzzing sensation in your head will prove immersive or annoying but hopefully it’s a feature that can be turned on and off at the user’s will.

Sony also stated the PlayStation VR2 will use the PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech to make the audio in a game also feel more immersive.

Lastly, the headset utilizes eye-tracking, which Sony says will allow players to “interact more intuitively in new and lifelike ways.” This could include using eye movements as a form of input. Imagine if you were in a Superman VR game, you could stare at an object directly and it could trigger a reaction like laser vision.

Setting up will be easier than ever before with the PSVR 2 with less wires and no external camera required

The PSVR was a decent headset, but it wasn’t without limitations. You had to position an external camera for tracking and had multiple wires to connect every time you wanted to use the headset. Sony is simplifying things this time around with a single cord setup. You simply plug in the headset to your PSVR and it’s ready to go. The external camera is also no longer needed. The PSVR 2 has four built-in cameras, which provide motion tracking instead of an external camera. This is similar to what we’ve seen in handsets like the Oculus Quest 2.

It’s also possible the setup process could get even easier in the future, thanks to wireless technology. Sony has made it clear the PSVR 2 will require a wired installation, but this could change in the future. A previous patent from Sony lead many to speculate the PSVR 2 would offer a wireless connection. Sony has since confirmed this isn’t the case, but it’s clear this is a technology Sony hopes to eventually explore. This could always come later in the form of an attachment or even a PSVR 2 Wireless Edition. That said, patents get filed all the time and often mean very little, as only some patents are ever fully realized.

 

new patent design psvr 2
Sony

 

Like VR? Stay up to date with all the latest VR news at VRSource.com

Related: Best upcoming PS5 games – Release dates, latest trailers, and more

The PSVR 2 could feature technology designed to reduce motion sickness

VR motion sickness can be pretty intense for those of us prone to it, and it only gets worse if the game features tons of quick movements with an analog stick. That’s why many games use teleportation movement where you click a place on the game screen and instantly transport there. Considering the PSVR 2 adds analog sticks to its controller, there might be situations where you will run into motion sickness. Although Sony might be working on a way around this.

Sony filed for a Motion Sickness Reduction patent in 2019 to improve the VR experience for players. The main goal of this patent seems to be to more seamlessly connect what the player sees in the game and feels in real life. Obviously a patent doesn’t mean it will happen, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this was an area of focus for Sony.

Previously a specs leak stemming from a private developer conference suggests a “rotary motor” would be used in the headset for haptic feedback and also could be used to reduce motion sensing. At CES 2022, Sony stated the PlayStation VR2 will include headset feedback that will indeed include a built-in motor. While Sony mostly focused on how this would be used for immersion, it’s possible that it could be part of some kind of motion sickness technology as well.

PSVR 2 release date and price

While we’ve heard whispers from the rumor mill that we might see the PSVR 2 release date scheduled for Fall 2022, there’s really nothing concrete to back that up. With Sony teasing PSVR 2 games on June 2nd though, it’s certainly a possibility. Just don’t get your hopes up that the headset will hit this year until we hear a more concrete release rumor.

As for the PSVR 2 price tag? Honestly, it’s really hard to call. The PSVR launched back $499.99, but with a combination of inflation and dramatically improved tech under the hood, it wouldn’t be too shocking if the PSVR 2 commanded a slightly higher premium. On the other hand, the VR market has changed a lot since the PSVR was launched. Expensive headsets have lost ground to more affordable options like the Oculus Quest 2 at just $299. If Sony wants to expand its reach into VR and not put off would-be consumers, it might be wise to price competively. Considering the impressive hardware though we wouldn’t be surprised if the price ends up around $399 to $549.

PSVR 2 games and backward compatibility

The PSVR 2 is set to launch with over 20 games, though we don’t have a lot of details just yet. We do know that Horizon: Call of the Mountain will be one of the titles, which isn’t too surprising given the Horizon series popularity. Based on the video above, it seems likely this game could be a side story tWe can also expect more news about the PSVR 2 game library on June 2nd during its State of the Play event.

The original PSVR enjoyed reasonably decent support but it looks like Sony is aiming higher this time around. “Right now, there is a considerable amount of money being spent on partnerships with independent and other third-party developers to secure a considerable pipeline of attractive VR content at the launch of PlayStation VR 2,” said Sony’s SIE president Jim Ryan to VGC. “That energy, that effort and that money will continue to grow as the installed base of PlayStation VR 2 headsets grows also.”

More: The best PS5 games

Every company talks a big game pre-launch, let’s just hope they deliver (and we believe they will). Of course, there’s an even easier way to give PSVR 2 users more experiences right at launch: backward compatibility. While Sony hasn’t officially spoken on the matter, given the PS5’s compatibility with PS4 games, we’d say it’s very likely the PSVR 2 will also support original PSVR games.

What we want to see from the PSVR 2

A competitive price tag

Meta Quest 2 Desk Roger Fingas
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

The PSVR 2 sits in a strange position between expensive PC-based headsets and affordable options like the Oculus Quest 2. Considering you need a console to use it, it’s already going to be a much larger investment than a Quest 2 and so we’re really hoping for an aggressive price tag. As mentioned in the pricing section above, something around $399 or lower would allow them to better compete with the Quest 2. While it would still be much more expensive than the Quest 2, the PSVR 2 looks to offer a substantially better VR experience than the mobility-focused Quest 2 can deliver and at just $100 more than the Quest 2, this could be enough to win over mainstream PS5 owners that were considering a Quest 2.

On the other side of things, PC VR is likely going to offer a better experience than the PSVR 2. Not only are there more expensive headsets out there, but high-end gaming PCs offer a lot more oomph than the PS5. The PC also allows for VR productivity, something the PSVR 2 isn’t aimed at. Still, at just $399 ot would still be at least $100 cheaper than higher end PC-based headsets from Oculus, HTC, HP, and Valve. The PS5 is also a lot cheaper than a high-end gaming PC, making a $399 PSVR 2 the perfect middle ground for those who want high-end VR but in a more accessible package.

Wireless support… eventually

To get a high-end VR experience you currently need wires. Sure, the Quest 2 is wireless but it also features much less powerful hardware than you’ll find with the PSVR 2. As we mentioned above though, Sony has at least hinted at the possibility of a wireless future. It’s pretty much a guarantee that there will be just one iteration of the PSVR 2 at launch, but what if Sony gave us a wireless option too? I personally would love to see this and would be willing to pay a premium over the wired version.

If not at launch, I personally would love to see wireless support come eventually through an adapter or special edition headset.

Better game support and more fleshed out experiences

PlayStation 5 PS5 images next to controllers 2
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority

As we already mentioned, the PSVR had fairly decent game support. If we’re honest though, the number of games didn’t hold a candle to what you could find from mobile and PC VR platforms. The PSVR 2 had some fun games and experiences (I for one loved Iron Man and Batman: Arkham VR) but it didn’t have any killer apps that made you want to buy the system. There were a few “full games” that offered countless hours of play like Fallout 4, but overall the PSVR felt more like a promise of what was to come than a real game-changer for the PS4. I’m hoping that the improved technology of the PS5 and the PSVR 2 will allow for even deeper experiences, as well as ports of more complex PC VR titles like Half-Life: Alyx.


That’s all for now. We will update this post as we hear more from the rumor mill, or (better yet) Sony itself.