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Sony sets sights on next-gen VR gear that’ll tap the power of PlayStation 5
As any PlayStation Spider-Man fan can attest, with great power comes great responsibility…or, in the case of the PS5, great possibility. As more players get their hands on Sony’s shredding new gaming hardware, the PS5’s potential to play beyond conventional TV gaming is coming into sharper focus, thanks to a new update from Sony that previews some pretty ambitious plans for its next generation of VR gear.
With the PS5 capable of lapping the performance of Sony’s existing PlayStation VR headset — a device that’s already feeling a little long in the tooth compared with newer competing kits like the Oculus Quest 2 — Sony Interactive Entertainment has its sights set on thoroughly refreshing its VR offerings to take full advantage of the PS5’s boosted gameplay possibilities. While no new Sony headset is expected this year, the company is teasing “dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity” when its thoroughly refreshed new VR set does arrive — perhaps as early as 2022.
Writing at the PlayStation Blog, PlayStation SVP of Platform Planning & Management Hideaki Nishino says the successor to today’s PlayStation VR will incorporate some of the innovative feedback features of the PS5’s hugely-praised DualSense controller, while bumping up the visual resolution and streamlining the user interface for a VR experience that keeps players immersed in their virtual gaming world…instead of fiddling with equipment and recalibrating their play space.
“...I’m pleased to share that our next-generation VR system will be coming to PlayStation 5, enabling the ultimate entertainment experience with dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity,” writes Nishino. “Players will feel an even greater sense of presence and become even more immersed in their game worlds once they put on the new headset.”
What does that mean in practical terms? Seeing more of your VR play environment, and seeing it all with sharper vision — while controlling the action via a new handheld setup that’s meant to feel like a natural VR transition for players already pampered by the DualSense controller.
“One of the innovations we’re excited about is our new VR controller, which will incorporate some of the key features found in the DualSense wireless controller, along with a focus on great ergonomics,” Nishino explains, also teasing visual boosts that will round out “a next-gen VR system that enhances everything from resolution and field of view to tracking and input.”
Sony isn’t saying whether all the upgrades will qualify its next VR headset for a rebranded new name, nor exactly when it’ll arrive (“There’s still a lot of development underway for our new VR system, so it won’t be launching in 2021,” Nishino advises.) It’s also not clear whether the new device will be compatible with Sony’s library of existing PS4 games already tailored to the PS VR experience, though Nishino didn’t shy away from giving current PS VR games like Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Tetris Effect, Blood & Truth, and Beat Saber a conspicuous shoutout.
There’s also no early word on what the new gear will look like (that's a plain vanilla PS VR headset in the image at the top of this article), nor on how much it’ll cost to step up your PS5 VR game. But even if Sony’s next-gen VR headset comes at a premium over the PS VR’s base $299.99 asking price, it’s still likely to ring in far beneath what Apple may be charging for its own first foray into virtual reality — which is expected to arrive as a pretty posh (and pricey) piece of wearable future-tech.