Playstation VR Processing Unit Adds no Power to the PS4, Not Accessible to Developers

The Playstation VR may be one of the most talked-about items that are coming up on the game market, but that doesn’t mean that it will necessarily add anything new to the console.

Sony has kept mum on the main details of the Playstation VR, but Polygon just posted an info-dump of everything that the Playstation VR does, as revealed by Sony at the 2016 Game Developer’s Conference in San Diego, California.

For one thing, the Playstation VR processing unit is not very big, bringing to mind the Playstation TV; the entire thing is about the size of four CD cases, much like the PSTV, which could fit in your pocket.

However the Playstation VR processing unit is nothing special, at least to the console itself, according to Chris Norden, a senior staff engineer at Sony.

“It is not extra GPU power [or] CPU power. It is certainly not a PlayStation 4 expansion unit or upgrade. Actually, it’s not really accessible to the developer in any way. The PlayStation 4 is perfectly capable of [running games at] 120 Hz.”

The processing unit is also capable of object based 3D audio. However, that is only possible with the 3.5 millimeter headphone jack that is on the console itself.

The Playstation VR processing unit can also handle the “social screen,” the second screen that the VR uses. This allows the Playstation 4 to beam an image to the headset, and the screen of a television, at the same time.

The Playstation VR processing unit also allows two different settings on the screen, being “Mirror mode,” which feeds an imagine into the right eye side of the headset but allows those not wearing it to share the experience, and “separate mode,” which can put an image on the social screen at 720p at 30 frames a second.

However, Norden also said that the processing unit will have limits.

“You’re not going to get Uncharted 4 visuals at 60 hertz, at 1080p [in the headset], and then render out another 1280 by 720 buffer. You’re going to have to scale things back [in separate mode].”

Time will tell if the Playstation VR will be successful when it comes out, considering its recently-unveiled $399 price tag and the effects of VR headsets on the human brain and body, but so far, the headset appears to be promising.