Thanks primarily to Half-Life: Alyx, virtual reality (VR) is going through a bit of a revolution. While Valve’s latest triumph is not the platform’s only success, it’s certainly the one bucking trends. Critics still argue the technology is inaccessible, but PlayStation VR (PSVR) has quietly provided an attractive entry point for gamers.
And there’s no way Sony won’t produce a follow up with the PlayStation 5 (PS5).
PSVR is the best-selling virtual reality headset out there. This makes perfect sense, considering it’s relatively cheap and doesn’t require a powerful rig to set up. Players simply plug into their console and go.
But there’s a reason PSVR is so cheap: It features inferior hardware. And we’re not talking a slight resolution difference. The device only offers a 1920×1080 resolution, split between two eyes, with a 120 Hz refresh rate. That’s a pretty subpar experience.
For comparison, the Valve Index sports two 1440×1600 screens – one per eye. It’s a much more expensive, but it delivers a stunning amount of clarity. Resolution, alongside refresh rate, is one of the most important aspects of a quality VR experience.
But relatively weak tech didn’t stop Sony from selling 5 million headsets. Imagine what they could do if they finally step up their game.
And make no mistake, they need to up their game if they hope to keep PS5 players happy.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz , the CEO of VR developer Ndreams, Patrick O’Luanaigh, said that Sony’s VR tech is “dated”:
If VR is going to continue beyond the next year or two, they need to update their hardware. Because it is dated, and it will be even more dated by then. I’d be very surprised if they didn’t continue to support VR.
He predicts that this new headset probably won’t be released alongside the PlayStation 5. Instead, it may come as a mid-gen upgrade a few years down the line.
Convincing gamers to pay hundreds for a new console is tough enough. Adding another few hundred at launch in the wake of the worst economic downturn in living memory wouldn’t bode well.
Plus, with virtual reality access growing, Sony would be stupid not to improve their initial technology. It’s yet another advantage they could score over the Xbox Series X and Nintendo Switch.