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Wireless VR and Eye Tracking are in PlayStation’s Sights

Sony and PlayStation have dominated the gaming industry ever since the release of their original console in 1994, and they’re not slowing down anytime soon. PSVR 2 has been no secret for some time now, and it looks like we have more information about the direction Sony could be going with it thanks to Dominic Mallinson, the company’s senior vice president of research and development. It’s worth noting that Mallinson didn’t confirm anything for PlayStation’s anticipated virtual reality headset, rather, his comments apply to the direction of the VR world in general. Hey, at least we know Sony’s thinking about the future! Mallinson highlighted important aspects of VR, like resolution, the potential for wireless setup, and eye tracking when discussing the improvements to come with the headsets at Collision 2019 in Toronto.

 

“You have to be able to match what people expect to see today with high definition,” he said. “I would expect the resolution to roughly double in the next set of VR products.” From this, he added that the typical 100-degree field of view will likely be increased to 120 degrees to accomplish this. “And finally,” he continued, “HDR… The human eye sees an enormous range of light… Today’s VR panels only capture a tiny fraction of that.” He claims that the bump to HDR will “increase the sense of presence” when playing games and ultimately make VR more realistic.

 

While VR gurus were already cheering after Mallinson’s comments, he began discussing probably one of the most requested improvements in the industry: wireless VR. Speaking from experience, I can tell you what a pain in the butt it is to be turning around with a VR headset and finding yourself having to stop what you’re doing so you can untangle yourself from cords. Not only is it simply irritating, but it also breaks the immersion and reminds you that you’re just playing a video game, something that would severely hurt any game on the market today. While Mallinson suggested the possibility of the headset doing the computing instead of it hooking up to a console or system, I think this just doesn’t make sense for the near future. Something that’s able to compute the way the PlayStation 5 will is going to be bulky and heavy. and this isn’t very realistic for where technology is now. However, the alternative, using a signal instead of cables to connect to a system, is much more attractive for the near future.

 

Tracking

 

While this would probably be the most important improvement, the most impressive and intriguing one is likely the possibility of eye-tracking technology. Eye tracking is already cementing itself in our world, videos of this technology have circulated the internet. However, using this same idea to focus the rendering of a virtual world is another level that sounds beautiful. While it wouldn’t change the way you see and experience VR very much, it’s an innovation that could improve the efficiency of the software you use on it. “The human eye has a part in the retina called the fovea, which is responsible for our super-sharp vision. We don’t see very much in the peripheral vision. So if we can match our rendering performance to the fovea, we can deliver higher effective resolutions, and also better quality images.” In other words, Mallinson is saying that by fully rendering only the parts of a virtual world that the eye is looking at, games will be more efficient and require less computing power.

 

Again, none of this is being promised for the next generation of PSVR, but the fact that the people at Sony and PlayStation recognize the need for improvement shows a lot of promise for the future.

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