Sony Clarifies What PlayStation VR’s Breakout Box Does

One of the most intriguing extras of the PlayStation VR virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) is the small breakout box that can be found on the wire that connects between the device and the PlayStation 4 with which it runs. Since its reveal, there’s been some confusion as to what the box actually does, with some fans speculating that it could help with the ‘reprojection’ system that allows some titles running in 60fps to be reprojected at 120fps. That’s not the case, however, and now Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE’s) Richard Marks has clarified what the box actually does do.

PlayStation VR headset

Marks expressed a desire to clear up confusion during his talk on PlayStation VR at the 2016 Vision Summit earlier this month. “That little box? It’s not like doing all the graphics rendering for VR,” he explained. “That’s not what it does. It’s just a little breakout box. But, because we want the best possible image to be in the headset, all that pre-computation of making everything in the right warped way for the optics of the headset is all done on the PlayStation and that’s shipped over to the headset. So the PlayStation does all that heavy work, gets it all ready for the headset.

“Now, if you just wanted to show that on the TV, first of all the TV wouldn’t even accept that signal, and second of all it would be in this warped looking way and that’s not what we really want people to have to look at. So that little box is just kind of undoing some of the stuff that’s already been done just so you can put it on a television set. That’s what it’s there for.”

Not only that, but 3D audio is also processed within the box. “And since that box is already there it has enough horsepower to do the 3D audio part that I mentioned. So there is where the little bit of 3D audio processing is. It’s not little but it’s a lot less than a PS4’s worth of processing power,” Marks concluded.

Fans will hopefully learn much more about PlayStation VR next month when SCE hosts a presentation on the kit on 15th March during the 2016 Game Developers Conference (GDC). Stay tuned to VRFocus for the latest on PlayStation VR.