Sony has been working on its new generation of PlayStation VR gaming headsets for quite a while and now we’re finally seeing what they are going to be like. During Collision 2019 in Toronto, PlayStation showed off several “must-have ‘evolutionary’ improvements” for PlayStation VR 2. PSVR 2 will have Gaze Tracking, Optional Wireless, 120 Degree Field Of View, and much more.
Collision 2019 happened earlier this week in Toronto. Sony Interactive Entertainment’s Vice President of Research and Development, Dominic Mallinson, took the stage and detailed the next generation of PSVR. One important thing to note here is that Mallison never specifically referred to PSVR 2 but that is what he means by “next-gen VR.”
Mallinson’s whole presentation can be summed up into three major points:
- VR’s impact is unlike any other media.
- Rapid improvements in VR tech will further widen its appeal.
- Great content is already here, but we need more.
Of course, there’s more than just that. According to Mallinson, PlayStation is planning to adopt dynamic HDR into their PSVR.
The human eye sees an enormous range of light from bright sunlight to deep shadow. Today’s VR panels only capture a tiny fraction of that. So in order to increase the sense of presence, I do expect to see HDR adopted in the near future.
During his presentation, Mallison also shed some light on multiple versions of PSVR 2 existing in the future.
“That’s one easy way to do it. Here’s a wired headset,” he said. “You can take the wire and replace it with wireless. And then you can have a range. So you can have an introductory model and a high-end model. That’s something we’ve done with PlayStation 4. We could do that with PSVR.”
Another big thing Sony is planning with its PlayStation VR 2 is Eye Tracking technology. Patents have shown that Sony was developing something relating to a camera that tracks the movements of the player’s eyes. The highly ambitious Eye Tracking technology has been sought after by many developers and now it seems Sony will use it in its new PSVR 2 headsets.
I think that the gaze tracking is the most exciting change that we’ll see in next-gen VR,” Mallinson said. “So really, if you look at the history of user input, starting off with keyboards, and then the mouse, and recently touchscreen interfaces, I seriously think that having gaze as a user input is going to be as fundamental as each of those changes we’ve had in the past. That’s my number one point about next-generation VR: Gaze will allow much, much richer user interaction.
Of course, PSVR 2’s gaze tracking can also be used in a number of ways, not just for visuals but also for performance.
More pixels needs more rendering performance,” Mallinson explained. “If you just brute force it, it requires a lot of extra rendering performance. The human eye has a part in the retina called the fovea, which is responsible for our super-sharp vision. We don’t see very much in the peripheral vision. So if we can match our rendering performance to the fovea, we can deliver higher effective resolutions, and also better quality images. So gaze tracking is a win-win in this respect.
Rendering pixels can take a huge amount of hardware power. The more the pixels, the greater the requirement. By using gaze tracking, PSVR 2 can mimic the fovea by reducing the detail of background objects and only focusing on the foreground.
Even though PlayStation hasn’t officially confirmed PSVR 2 just yet, it will be interesting to see how Sony handles it whenever it is announced and what kind of features players will see.