Sony’s latest look at the upcoming PlayStation VR2 helmet paints the image of a new virtual reality toy which is competitive with other popular HMDs, like the Oculus Quest 2. But there is a peculiarity in its new broadcasting feature.
With a connected PlayStation 5 HD, you’ll be able to stream an image of your headset wearing yourself in frame whenever you stream a VR game on a platform like Tic. This is really an expansion of an existing feature, as the PS5 HD Camera can already add the player to non-VR streams. But the cast feature simplifies a process that would require a bit of PC technical expertise, so knowing it supports PSVR2 is good news.
It comes as part of a larger tuesday blog post from Sony which goes through a bunch of recently revealed details about the PSVR2 and how it works. None of this is terribly surprising, but they are all positive steps forward for a product. who felt decidedly behind the tech curve when it was released in 2016.
The PSVR2 features front-mounted cameras that give users the ability to switch to a live view of their surroundings with the press of a button. There is no recording in transparent viewing mode, it’s just to get your bearings in a physical space. But it has a lot of value as a safety feature, as competing headsets like the Quest 2 or valve index demonstrated.
PSVR2 users will also be able to define the play area for a more mobile experience in the headset. This is the same concept as the “Guardian” feature introduced in the first Oculus Rift headset. Looking at the play space from inside PSVR2, you’ll use Sony’s new controllers to “paint” your play area. Then, as you play, you’ll receive an in-game signal if anything you do exceeds the previously defined limits.
Both of these safety features were less of an issue with PSVR, which relied heavily on seated VR experiences. By adding these two essential safety features, Sony apparently aims to make “get up and walk” type of VR experiences more accessible to PSVR2 users.
We also have new details on the displays integrated into the helmet. In “VR Mode”, gamers are immersed in a 360 degree view of their game’s virtual environment, with a display resolution of 4000×2040 HDR (2000 pixels per eye width) and a frame rate of 90 Hz/120 Hz. This is the experience you will get when playing a VR game using a PSVR2.
The PlayStation 5 dashboard, non-VR apps and games will also appear in the headset, but only in “theater mode”. This setup casts everything you normally see on your TV onto a virtual cinema screen. Cinematic mode resolution peaks at 1920 x 1080 HDR with frame rates of 24/60Hz and 120Hz.
It would be nice to have a properly immersive virtual environment to interact with at least the PS5 dashboard. But that’s the kind of thing that Sony might also fix post-launch. And even as it stands, the PSVR2 is already set to rival the best headsets available right now – we’ll have to wait and see if Meta’s “Cambria Project” changes that math – and it’s clearly miles away from where the original PSVR was at launch.