For those that have experienced PlayStation VR we have all pretty much had the same moment when we realized that what Virtual Reality brings not only changes how we step into a new world of gaming and other media, but how we interact withing that within that world. It’s no longer press a button to just see a 2D image jump or control our character on a flat screen. Now, when we push a button to jump or when we move, it feels like we are there in that world. But as much as some of us play and experience with PlayStation VR, ask yourself this question. What can be next?
Over the past months there has been a lot of patents released in regards to PlayStation VR. There have been a patent on a version of a new controller, a patent on maybe of an internal upgrade, a patent to help with the gaming experience, a patent for even how the social aspect will change, and even a possible wireless patent option was filed. So could all these patents be part of the PlayStation VR 2? Possibly or it could just be a few. But what is starting to get even more interesting is the discussion that PlayStation’s own Dominic Mallinson from Collision 2019 that was held in Toronto has stated. When you look at the numbers in general that over 96 million PlayStation 4’s are capable of great VR and out of that, over 4 million PlayStation VR headsets have been sold. Think about that and the amount of PlayStation 4’s that are out there vs how many PlayStation VR headsets have been sold, but also the key words used “capable of great VR”. Capable of great VR? Why this is very much true, think about how much better things could be and how much more immersed you could be.
But as we think about how how things could be better, we have to look at some things that Dominic pointed out. The first being that VR ‘s impact is unlike any other media and the second is how improvements to VR tech will help widen the appeal and how fast that tech is changing. This is very true when you look at games and how we experience them to even shows and movies. But that in itself is being brought to the next level with new innovations such as the FeelReal Mask that will allow you to smell things in Virtual Reality.
Just think about a VR movie where you could smell what was going on or a choose your own adventure show where you move with your feet and when you combine the smells with movements in games, it will take what we experience to new levels. But with the wants, comes the needs. We all want to have these new ways of being immersed, but in order to do that, we need to get to what Dominic’s third point. In order to accomplish it all, we must be able to reach new and improved resolution, a much wider field of view, and HDR to help achieve these goals. Sure the 100 degree of view is great, but what if you could get to 120 or even more? And just like we saw with the PlayStation 4 and how 4K TV’s with HDR enhanced the viewing pleasure, think about how that would impact the visual candy in VR.
But could the one patent of wireless VR, be something we see in the PlayStation VR 2. With the first version of PlayStation VR, the cables are thicker and did not include HDR pass through that the newer model has now along with thinner cables. But in order to get wireless, you either will need a battery that will require recharging and then you have to start to ask, how long will the battery last and how much more will it cost due to it being wireless? So would you rather have a wired or a wireless headset? Lots to think about, isn’t it? But what if you really didn’t have to think too hard, but instead, the PlayStation VR came in multiple skus?
But for those that have been primarily console gamers, there is something that the PC side has had with some of the PC gaming side of things and that is eye tracking. Using Tobii Eye Tracker, you can do new things just by looking. Just think about how awesome this would be in VR.
But not only would you be able to do things like aim just by looking or even finding that certain object just by looking, something else eye tracking would improve on what is called Foveated Rendering. Basically by reducing the peripheral vision, your focus area will be sharper when it comes to VR.
And here is Micheal Abrash talking about how Foveated Rendering is important and how it will become standard by 2021.
And of course with the current and future VR technology is the need for the software that will meet those needs and wants. But with all this being said, I am more than happy to see more of these patents being released and as much as I would like to see the PlayStation VR 2 release when the PlayStation 5 releases, if it takes until 2021 for it to be released (which is really not that far off), then take your time to allow us to reach new heights and immerse us in ways we never thought possible.