2019 is turning into the year of new hardware releases with Oculus Quest and Rift S now available, Valve Index coming next month and HTC Vive Cosmos estimated to arrive later this year. However, one of the biggest players in the field, Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) with PlayStation VR hasn’t made any mention of updating the headset which launched in 2016. Yet during Collision 2019 in Toronto this week, Dominic Mallinson, senior vice president of R&D at SIE, discussed what he expects to see in the next-generation of VR devices.
Mallinson mentions quite a few technologies that could impact the future of VR hardware without ever mentioning a PlayStation VR 2, reports CNET. One issue would be to make it more user-friendly, which would include reducing the weight and the cables. “We do want it to be lighter weight, and easier to put on, less cables, less mess,” he says. “Wireless suffers from the issue of being expensive. If you don’t care about cables, then it’s a lot cheaper than to have a wireless system. But at the same time, having wireless just makes you so much more free.”
This is important when considering the release of Oculus Quest, a standalone device. It’s received great feedback just don’t expect a mobile PlayStation VR: “I do applaud them for doing something that is mobile, but it’s something you would more likely do in a private living room space. I don’t think you’d go out on the road and do this stuff. But I think having no wires, making it light and unencumbered, it is great. So I think going mobile for both reasons is important.”
Another factor Mallinson regards as important is eye-tracking. A feature that’s yet to arrive on consumer devices – enterprise-focused headsets like HTC Vive Pro Eye are now coming to market – he comments: “That’s the one that excites me the most… I think there will come a point in time in the not too distant future when you cannot launch a VR headset without eye tracking.”
He also discusses resolution and field of view (FOV) reports VentureBeat: “I would expect the resolution to roughly double in the next set of VR products. Along with that, we also need a greater field of view,” he notes. “Most VR headsets today are about 100 degrees. There are diminishing returns to get wider. But I would expect the next set of products to be roughly 120 degrees in terms of field of view.”
Don’t get your hopes up that a new SIE headset is coming soon. PlayStation lead system architect Mark Cerny recently mentioned that the current PlayStation VR would be supported by the next PlayStation console which is expected to arrive next year. As further details are released VRFocus will let you know.