Our biggest questions about PlayStation VR2 have been answered

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Onward and upward with a new virtual reality system.
Enlarge / Onward and upward with a new virtual reality system.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

Ahead of Sony’s arrival at this weekend’s Tokyo Games Show 2022, the company’s PlayStation division sent fans a ton of news online over the last 24 hours. Arguably the biggest news came from practical and face-to-face impressions of its PlayStation VR2 add-on for the PS5 console.

The new VR system, slated for a retail release in “early 2023,” is now being talked about outside Sony’s careful PR hands, with its early testers offering impressions of both the hardware and its apparent software. launch.

PSVR2: What we already knew

Thanks to Sony announcements from earlier this yearAs we know, PSVR2’s OLED display packs a 4000×2040 pixel resolution, which can run VR software in either 90Hz or 120Hz modes. That performance is boosted by a new foveated rendering system, which aims to emphasizing full pixel resolution where your eyes are in focus and blurring the parts where your eyes aren’t, and this, unsurprisingly, is combined with new internal eye-tracking sensors.

We also know that PSVR 2 will ship with two brand new gamepads, one for each hand, that follow the Meta Quest archetype of VR controllers (complete with buttons, triggers, and joysticks) but with the added tech upgrades found in recent games. Sony DualSense gamepads. —ie, more refined rumble and tension-filled “impulse” triggers.

A new “inside-out” tracking system resembles the kind found in Meta Quest and various Windows Mixed Reality headsets, and uses built-in cameras to scan players’ real-world environments and track VR positioning , no external cameras or tracking boxes are required. . However, unlike the Meta Quest 2 wireless by defaultPSVR2 requires a wired connection for power and data transfer to a PlayStation 5 console.

PSVR2 Hardware: What We’ve Learned This Week

Speaking of that wired connection: we’ve now seen it in action. The new single-cable connection, via the PS5’s single USB Type-C slot, is a revelation compared to the ubiquitously wired external “processor unit” required for Sony’s first VR system. This 15-foot cable has reportedly been designed to weigh as little as possible, but a cable that can wrap around your legs may still be a deal breaker for some.

Sony also confirmed that PSVR would not have built-in audio. Like the latest model, PSVR2 owners will need to connect the headset via a 3.5mm jack. The original PSVR shipped with budget headsets, which may happen again with PSVR2, and to Sony’s credit, the new headsets include nifty built-in “headphone plugs” that you can squeeze your existing headset into for neat storage. But this is a bummer compared to the built-in audio found on valve index and all Meta Quest models. This week’s demo videos show Sony’s larger PS-brand headset restricting users in VR, reducing airflow and leaving them sweaty, so interested users should look High-quality, lightweight wired headsets ahead of PSVR2’s release in 2023. (My 3.5mm recommendation is the affordable and high-performance Koss KSC32-i.)

In better news, Sony’s lens mechanism includes a precise Interpupillary Distance (IPD) slider, which can be accessed with a handy dial while the system is attached to the face. (This is a big differentiator from Quest 2, which omitted a slider as a cost-saving measure.) New users can access a handy calibration menu at any time to make sure the IPD settings are aligned with their unique face, and this also prompts users to look at a series of moving dots to calibrate the eye tracking sensors from PSVR2. So far PSVR2’s “floating” fit, complete with a foam backstrap and a nifty dial to adjust the fit, looks like the same one we loved in the original PSVR. The fit around the eyes is reportedly roomy enough for eyeglass wearers, though we’re still waiting to hear about the weight and distribution of the new system compared to the original, at least beyond suggestions that current headphones are quite light.

A July 2022 sneak peek at how PSVR2's automatic room tracking technology will work when the system launches in 2023.
Enlarge / A July 2022 sneak peek at how PSVR2’s automatic room tracking technology will work when the system launches in 2023.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

PSVR2’s new room-tracking system, which relies on four built-in cameras, seems to automatically take objects in your playspace into account. When users point the system’s cameras into a new room, the black-and-white pass-through view covers objects (furniture, entertainment centers) in a trippy pattern of 3D triangles as the PSVR2 cameras scan over them, instead of doing users point their hands to scan and “paint” a game space. If PSVR2 messes up, users can still use the system controllers to adjust their VR “limit” before starting to play. The headset includes a button on the bottom that can enable PSVR2’s pass-through camera mode at any time so users can see what’s around them without removing the headset.

We previously learned that PSVR2 includes a number of built-in rumble engines, a first for consumer-grade VR, and now we know how they work in action. The severity of the noise can range from a subtle sensation, like when flies buzz in your face during a sequence in Resident Evil: VR Villageor a more intense full head blast, like when a monster flies over your head and sends a gust of wind at you in Horizon VR: Call of the Mountain. So far, reports suggest that this sensation is more immersive than unpleasant.

Sony has yet to confirm the maximum brightness of its OLED screen, merely suggesting that it’s rated for “HDR”, but Sony is clearly taking screen quality and light bleed seriously. OLED panels are generally better at managing an “infinite” contrast ratio, so they put the deepest blacks and brightest lights next to each other, and PSVR2 apparently includes a superior foam arrangement and nose pads that block the light.

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