Gamers can be a strange breed, you know? It is an industry based on technological innovation: it is a beautiful mix of computers and entertainment. I don’t know about you, but I love this hobby because it never stops: the games we play, the consoles we use – they’re constantly changing. Compare the original PlayStation to the PS5 and see how far we’ve come.
I found the reluctance to accept PSVR of a confusing number of players, then. Don’t get me wrong: I understand that there were real issues with the hardware and its library, but I also got the impression that some felt that their traditional gaming habits were threatened by the existence of ‘a helmet. It confused me, because I see virtual reality as additive – and revolutionary too.
Look, I believe in VR a lot, but I don’t want to live my life with a screen just millimeters from my eyes – sorry, Mark Zuckerberg, I just don’t. However, I think the experiences you can have in VR, as the rudimentary PSVR has proven, are unprecedented and extraordinary: the ability to exist in an entirely different world is the epitome of what this industry is all about. is built.
I remember playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR for the first time. It was a game I knew intimately on PS3, so the fact that I was now able to exist in familiar spaces was actually quite touching. I knew these buildings, I knew these streets – I had seen them before, but not like this. It was a bit like looking for a place on Google Maps and then visiting it in real life.
And this despite the well-documented issues with the PSVR, including a tedious setup process, old motion controllers, and an inconsistent lighting-based tracking solution. The PSVR2 will not only solve these problems, but it will also do so at a much higher degree of fidelity, working in tandem with the established advantages of the PS5, such as the SSD.
There’s talk about how the new headset could take advantage of foveal rendering, which will effectively reserve computing power in order to focus on the objects your eyes are looking at. This will make the graphic details even richer, which in turn will make the worlds more believable. Consider what I just said about Skyrim about crackle tech, then level up.
Apparently, Sony has told publishers and developers that these are oversized proof-of-concept experiences – they want to deliver AAA content in virtual reality. There have been examples of this before: The likes of Hitman 3 and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard are absolutely extraordinary with PSVR. Imagine visiting worlds like Horizon Forbidden West.
Sony clearly faces challenges with PSVR2 beyond convincing a stubborn fan base that it is a wise investment: the pandemic has made it impossible to manufacture as many PS5 consoles as it expected, and that knows what kind of impact this will have on the production of helmets. The price, with the controllers included, will also be steep.
But it’s a price I’m prepared to pay. To me, this is an industry based on escape – the ability to exist entirely elsewhere. When I think of all the perks the PS5 experience has to offer – the SSD, haptic feedback, resistant triggers – and then all of the touted enhancements for the new PSVR headset, I’m confident it’s going to deliver the true next-gen experience of 2022.
Are you eager to learn more about the new PSVR headphones from Sony, or are you already up to date with this technology? Do you still expect the device to launch in 2022? Tie in with the comments section below.