Virtual reality is one of the most exciting technological advancements in gaming today, and has many important applications in other fields like medicine, tourism, architecture, and more. Although VR technology is used in interesting ways in a variety of fields, this technology will always have a strong link to gaming as one of the primary industries developing the technology. The PlayStation VR2 is set to update the immersive potential of VR gaming. While some believe haptic suits are the future of VR, the PlayStation VR2 specs prove Sony is moving towards implementing more haptic feedback in their VR experience.
Haptic refers to understanding information through touch, so haptic feedback in VR is vibrations or other sensory elements to make the experience more immersive. This will be familiar to most gamers from the vibrations of current-gen controllers. The PlayStation VR2 is also updating the display so that the possible worlds to explore in virtual reality can be in higher definition. One of the major practical improvements with the VR2 is the camera, which is now integrated into the headset, rather than an exterior camera the player has to set up. This should make switching from standard gaming to VR easier and more fluid, and makes the PS5 more attractive overall as a console.
Tracking Technology in VR2
As mentioned, the integrated cameras are a big change from PlayStation's first VR headset. Instead of having to set up a camera and make sure they are in the designated range, players will now simply have to put on the headset. The player's movements and controllers will be tracked from the integrated cameras and then reflected in-game. While it may seem small, this update improves the ease of using the VR2, which in turn makes the virtual reality game experiences more immersive.
In addition to the cameras on the headset to track movement, there will be two small cameras inside the headset to monitor eye movements. This detail opens a huge amount of doors in terms of immersion, but it will likely be a while before games can fully explore this potential. Sony describes this eye-tracking as allowing players to interact more intuitively and heighten emotional response.
A game being able to read exactly where the player is looking could open the doors for some interesting interactions with NPCs, and clever game design could implement this feature in exciting and innovative ways. One such example might be a horror game that can tell when you have your eyes closed or are looking away. How this feature will work with glasses users hasn't been addressed just yet, and more VR headsets do work better with contacts.
Haptic, Visual, and Audio Specs
Both the controller and the headset of the PlayStation VR2 are equipped for haptic feedback. What this means is that the headset will vibrate in particular ways to increase the tactile element of gaming and increase immersion. Sony has already given a few potential implementations of this feature, such as being able to feel a character's pulse during intense moments of gameplay or feel objects flying past their head.
This feature is intended to be minor vibrations around the head, but obviously, it is at the player's discretion whether this would be safe/comfortable to enable. It is a big step by Sony towards the more haptic-based virtual reality and is sure to excite a lot of VR enthusiasts, as well as being a pretty fun feature for those who can use it.
Like the previous PlayStation VR, the VR2 will have an OLED display panel. However, the VR2 boasts improved graphical capabilities with a display of 2000x2040 pixels per eye (for comparison, the Oculus Quest 2 offers 1832x1920 pixels per eye). There will be two rendering modes for the VR2, at 90Hz and 120Hz; this essentially refers to the refresh rate/frame rate for games and how smooth the experience will be for players. Finally, the VR2 will make use of the PS5's Tempest 3D AudioTech, as well as including a stereo jack, to make the player's aural experience more immersive.
While the price and release date of the PlayStation VR2 has not yet been revealed, the technical upgrades make it something fans of VR will want to keep their eyes on for sure.
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