In a surprise announcement, Sony on Tuesday announced the next-generation Virtual reality (VR) headset for its best-selling PlayStation 5 home console. The headset will come with an improved field of view and a new controller inspired by the PS5’s DualSense.
The upcoming PlayStation VR will offer “dramatic leaps in performance and interactivity” and “an even greater sense of presence,” Hideaki Nishino of Sony Interactive Entertainment said on the PlayStation Blog.
The new version of the PS VR, which is currently under development, will require a single cord to connect with the PS5, a major change from the previous generation headset that was introduced for the PS4 in 2016.
The original PlayStation VR for the PS4, even though a successful one, was criticised for using multiple cables to make the headset work in the first place. Despite that, the PlayStation VR goes on to become the best-selling VR headset in the world selling over 5 million units as of January 2020.
Unlike other VR headsets from Oculus or HTC, the PlayStation VR don’t need a high-end computer or a smartphone to run the headset. Instead, it uses the PlayStation 4. Because the VR headset got high-quality VR games, the PlayStation VR became so successful.
The headset, originally introduced at $399, wasn’t high-end as the competitive VR headsets but proved more successful due to Sony’s faith in the platform. The PlayStation VR also supports Sony’s latest PlayStation 5, but requires an adapter to work.
Nishino isn’t ready to reveal more details about the next-generation VR headset for the PS5 yet. The headset won’t launch in 2021, he said, but confirmed that developers have access to the early hardware.
The move to launch the next-generation VR headset for its flagship PS5 console will give Sony an edge over Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Nintendo’s Switch console. Out of the three big console manufacturers, Sony is the only company that is investing heavily in the development of VR hardware and software.
Virtual reality is currently at a nascent technology, with limited content available that excites mass consumers. There have been efforts made by Facebook’s Oculus, Sony and Vive to crack the market, but there isn’t a killer app that makes people interested in virtual reality (VR). Apple too is interested in virtual reality. The Cupertino company is reportedly working on a high-end VR headset that it could launch in 2022. Experts say the entry of Apple into the VR headset space could shake up the market, which has so far attracted enterprise consumers and professional users.