Amid much anticipation, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan confirmed what avid fans have been holding out for…a new, dedicated VR headset for PS5 consoles.
This move by Sony puts the PS5 in a league of its own, backed by impressive horsepower under the hood and now a headset certain to outperform its predecessor in a variety of ways.
Announced on Tuesday, February 23rd., Sony put the rumors to rest, confirming that the next-generation of a PlayStation VR System is well underway, capitalizing on recent advancements in VR technology and making a “dramatic leap in performance and interactivity”.
What We Know about the PS5 VR Headset Thus Far, and What Consumers Can Expect
The next iteration of PSVR will borrow some of the key features of its predecessor (such as haptic feedback), as well as introducing enhanced ergonomics.
Fans of the original PS5 DualSense controller will be happy to learn that Sony’s new PSVR for the PS5 will follow a similar path, taking inspiration from the DualSense and requiring but a single cord to connect to the hardware.
The PS5 VR Headset
Although some elements remain shrouded in mystery, Sony has confirmed on their own blog post that the new PS5 VR headset will feature:
- Enhanced resolution
- Improved field of view; and
- Better tracking
All of which are exciting prospects for those who loved the original PSVR but found it’s capability a bit limiting when compared to other VR headsets on the market.
PS5 VR Launch Date
Sony isn’t giving much away here. Currently, there is no ‘official’ launch date set for the new PS5 VR headset. Eager fans will have to be patient, taking solace in knowing that the product is in the pipeline.
PS5 VR Development Kits
In a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Sony Playstation CEO Jim Ryan spilt the beans on a major milestone for the VR headset: the distribution of Development kits. Although no official ‘send out’ date was given, Ryan was quoted as saying, “Dev kits are about to go out”.
When pressed, Ryan declined to further elaborate on any development partners or who would be getting a kit, although speculation has it that Sony’s current line-up of VR-first party studios such as Sony London (developer of Blood & Truth) may be among the first to get their hands on it.
PS5 VR Game Lineup
Similarly, we don’t have much information on what games are in the pipeline, and/or which games will be compatible.
The Future of Playstation VR According to Sony
One thing we can bet the house on is that Sony is ‘all in’ on VR. According to Ryan, “…Wer’e very pleased with all the experience that we’ve gained with PlayStation VR, and we look forward to seeing where that takes us in the future.”
Senior VP of Platform Planning and Management, Hideaki Nishino was quoted as saying, “We’re taking what we’ve learned since launching PS VR on PS4 to develop a next-gen VR system that enhances everything from resolution and field of view, to tracking an input….It will connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup and improve ease-of-use, while enabling a high-fidelity visual experience”
Sony’s continued investment in VR is a clear indication that they see a strong future for virtual reality in gaming and other applications. And with good reason. The global market for virtual reality has risen to an impressive 10.32 billion USD, with a projected compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.6% through 2027.
Advancements in technology and lower price barriers, coupled with a growing media library and use cases has propelled VR into the mainstream. Each year more than 5.5 million new VR units are put in the hands of consumers, with some analysts projecting annual sales of 23.5 million headsets per year by 2023.
Ongoing Challenges with Supply Chain Shortfall
Yet, despite mounting enthusiasm for the upcoming launch, eager consumers may still face challenges with obtaining a PlayStation 5 console. Recent issues surrounding supply chain shortfalls have left eager fans of the platform frustrated with the lack of inventory available.
Ryan was cited addressing the issue, saying that Sony is “very sorry” about the shortfall in available consoles, despite efforts that brought 4.5 million machines to physical and digital store shelves by the end of December 2020.
Impacted by a looming global pandemic, supply chain issues, and problematic production, units have been scarce for Sony and Microsoft alike. Unprecedented demand and COVID-related issues weren’t the only bottlenecks faced. According to Ryan, the global semiconductor chip shortage has forced Sony to complete with everyone from auto manufacturers to smartphone companies to get the chips they need.
But it’s not all bad news for Sony fans, Ryan reassured that the production of PlayStation 5 consoles has been “ramping up steadily”, and expects to begin bridging the gap between supply and demand soon.