Ever since the Playstation 5’s launch in 2020, people have been wondering when Sony would release a next-gen virtual reality (VR) platform that could take advantage of the horsepower provided by its beefy new gaming console. The company broke its silence at CES 2022, finally confirming that a successor to Playstation VR was in the works, and revealing the hardware’s specifications, but it didn’t provide any images to accompany that info. Today the company has finally pulled the wraps off its upcoming hardware, giving gamers a glimpse of what the system looks like. Sony still isn’t saying when the PSVR2 will be available or what it will cost.
The company revealed several beauty shots of its new gaming hardware in a blog post. As we reported previously, the new VR system will be a huge upgrade from its current headset, which was released in 2016 and is ancient in gaming terms. The new headset and controllers mirror the “white and curvy” design of the PS5 console, which Sony says will allow the hardware to “become an attractive part of your living room decor.” Yes, it really says that.
As far as what guided Sony’s design thinking with the headset and the new PSVR2 Sense Controllers, it says the PS5 has flat edges since it was designed to sit on a flat surface, whereas the headset is designed for constant human contact, so it’s more rounded for comfort. The “roundness” also harkens back to the rounded edges of the DualSense controllers the company is famous for as well. Sony also says the “orb” shape of its controllers represents the 360 degree field of view players experience when they don the headset for VR gaming.
The blog post notes that a lot of attention was paid to the comfort of the new headset design, with the goal of allowing you to while away the hours in VR “to the point where you almost forget you are using a headset or controller.” That seems like a tall order given the fact that the headset will still be tethered to the PS5, despite using inside-out tracking to allow for more freedom to move about without worrying about being in front of tracking devices. The inventor of the original Playstation told Bloomberg in an interview recently that headsets were “annoying,” so perhaps his words guided Sony’s design decisions as well.
Two notable features detailed by Sony are an adjustable scope, and a ventilation feature. There’s a knob allowing the end user to move the scope closer or further away from your face. This also includes a “vent”, for lack of a better word, but it’s hard to see in the photos. Sony says it’s similar to how the PS5 has vents for increased airflow, and it should allow gamers to enjoy VR without having to worry about the headset’s lenses fogging up.
Overall the new design is a bit chunkier than we imagined it would be, with very thick padding on the forehead area and a really fat pad along the headband as well. It’s also interesting that like the first generation system, the straps don’t connect to the sides of the headband, but connect to an arm that lets the headset rest on your face as opposed to being strapped to it. Keep in mind the PSVR2 headset also has built-in haptic feedback, which is a first for a VR platform, so there’s a lot going on in this new piece of hardware. Sony says developer kits are in the hands of game developers now, so there’s still no word on when it will be released, what it will cost, or what the launch titles will be for PSVR2. The Meta Quest 2 (formerly the Oculus Quest 2) is the most popular headset in VR overall, but Sony’s PSVR is in second place with somewhere north of five million units shipped.