When will PSVR 2 be released?
Sony may have confirmed that it's working on the PSVR 2 headset, but don't expect to see it in stores any time before 2022.
In the blog post confirming that work is underway on the headset, Sony's Hideaki Nishino warned that "There’s still a lot of development underway for our new VR system, so it won’t be launching in 2021."
That's no real surprise, coming after comments from PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan hinting that we have a while to wait. Speaking to The Washington Post ahead of the PS5's November 2020 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 first confirmed 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 still another four years off though - we reckon it simply means that Sony is already starting work on the next-next-gen VR headset, or that it 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.
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 the best look at what PlayStation VR 2 might offer.
Sony itself has confirmed a few features, but given few specifics - though the company promises enhancements to "everything from resolution and field of view to tracking and input."
It probably won't be wireless
Let's get the bad news out of the way first. One of the most anticipated upgrades to the second-gen PSVR is wireless connectivity, but Sony has already debunked that one, confirming on the PlayStation blog that the headset "will connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup and improve ease-of-use, while enabling a high-fidelity visual experience."
Fans had hoped for wireless support in part because of a patent discovered by LetsGoDigital. The patent, which was approved on 3 October 2019 by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, depicts a VR headset with Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in power supply, which is why fans thought that the company could be planning to ditch the wires altogether.
Still, so far the only VR headsets that are wireless as standard are standalone models like the Oculus Quest 2, which are by their nature less powerful. HTC has released wireless add-ons for the Vive and Vive Cosmos, but doesn't support wireless play as standard - perhaps Sony will take a similar approach and release a wireless adapter post-launch.
Upgraded PlayStation VR 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 - and Sony knows it.
Weeks after Sony confirmed that it was working on new controllers for the PSVR 2 headset, the company published a PlayStation Blog post detailing our first proper look at the upcoming controllers, and there's a huge upgrade on offer.
Sporting an orb-like design reminiscent of the Oculus Quest 2 controllers, Sony says that the shape "allows you to hold the controller naturally" with no constraints on how you can move your hands, and the ergonomic design should translate to a more comfortable experience than holding the ageing batons.
The new controllers also sport the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback present on the DualSense controller for PS5, arguably the best features of Sony's new controller. That's backed up by finger touch detection, allowing you to make natural gestures in-game, along with the standard plethora of analog sticks and action buttons.
There aren't any big in-your-face lights to rely on for tracking this time either, with Sony instead opting for smaller tracking rings that live at the bottom of each controller.
The new controllers are a huge step for Sony, and the company teases that there's still more to come.
There may be built-in headset cameras
Sony has promised improved tracking, and that might be accomplished through a combination of cameras and LEDs within the headset.
According to the same patent mentioned above, 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.
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,.
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
Another patent suggests that the PSVR 2 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.
Sony has already confirmed that the next PSVR will have improvements to both resolution and field of view, so we know to expect some sort of improvement here.
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.
Wear sensors and haptic feedback
Another patent discovered by LetsGoDigital hints that Sony is working on both a VR headset and AR/VR glasses that might include new wear and haptic sensors.
The patent details a headset featuring pressure sensors and accelerometers that can detect when and how the headset is being worn. That could be used as simply as turning the headset on or off as you wear or remove it, but could also be used to help detect if you're wearing it correctly and give real-time feedback.
Haptics, speakers, and LEDs also feature in the new design as ways to give direct feedback to users while the headset is on. We've seen all of those incorporated into the PS5 DualSense controller to great effect, so it makes a lot of sense that Sony might be applying the same tech to the PSVR 2.
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.
Confirmed PSVR 2 games
Despite the fact that we won't be seeing the second-gen PlayStation VR headset in 2021, that hasn't stopped one developer from confirming that its upcoming game will be available for PSVR 2.
On Twitter, developer Vankrupt Games revealed in a surprisingly candid reply to a fan that Pavlov: Shack, currently available via SideQuest ahead of the Oculus Quest 2 launch later this year, will also be available on PSVR 2, suggesting that the original headset "doesn't have fidelity" required by the title.
PSVR2, psvr1 doesn't have the fidelity for Pavlov— davevillz (@davevillz) March 29, 2021