Next-gen PlayStation VR for PS5 confirmed: Sony's big promises

Sony has spilled the first details of PlayStation 5 Virtual Reality, confirming that a new PlayStation VR system is in the works, though don't expect to be putting the headset on this year. The next-generation VR system is still in development, Sony says, and as such won't be launching in 2021. However there's still more than enough to get VR fans and gamers excited.

PlayStation VR launched for PlayStation 4 back in 2016, a headset that connected to the console and provided virtual reality support for select games and, in time, content experiences like YouTube. When the PS5 launched, meanwhile, Sony was tight-lipped on whether there'd be a new PlayStation VR to go with it.

Instead, it offered adapters to connect existing headsets with the new next-generation console. Problem was, with PSVR having a single 5.7-inch screen running at 1920 x 1080 resolution, the headset hardly does justice to the graphics that the PS5 is capable of.

That looks set to be addressed with the new PlayStation VR for PS5. "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 and input," Hideaki Nishino, Senior Vice President of Platform Planning & Management at Sony, said today. "It will connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup and improve ease-of-use, while enabling a high-fidelity visual experience."

In the years since the original PlayStation VR launched, it's fair to say the virtual reality headset space advanced dramatically. Small displays with high pixel density have become more mainstream, as have panels with higher refresh rates. At the same time, prices have fallen.

The Oculus Quest 2, for example, is a completely self-contained VR headset. It uses two 1832 x 1920 displays, one per eye, with each capable of 90 Hz. That's considerably more detail and speed than the PSVR's single screen.

It won't just be the Sony headset that's redesigned, either. Nishino says there'll be a new VR controller, inspired by "some of the key features" that Sony used in its new DualSense wireless controller for the PlayStation 5, "along with a focus on great ergonomics."

Clearly, with supplies of PlayStation 5 itself still significantly constrained, and restocks as frustrating in early 2021 as they were in late 2020, Sony's primary focus right now is probably production of consoles themselves. Nonetheless, the idea of a higher-quality VR headset to tap into both the back-catalog of PlayStation VR games for PS4, and the new virtual reality titles in the pipeline – which includes After The Fall, Sniper Elite VR, and Humanity – will give Sony's platform an edge that, currently, Xbox Series X lacks.