PS5's new VR tech makes a great first impression

PS5’s new VR tech makes a great first impression

A first person view of a PSVR 2 game shows characters sitting on a boat moving on a river.

Image: sony

Sony’s PSVR for PlayStation 4, the first serious VR add-on for a console, did very well. It was reasonably affordable, well-received by gamers and reviewers, and got far more post-launch support than many previous PlayStation hardware efforts (RIP, dear Vita). Now, various outlets have had their first hands-on sessions with an early build of Sony’s upcoming PSVR2 for PlayStation 5. The planned new VR hardware doesn’t yet have an official price or launch date (just “early 2023”) , but based on those impressions, it’s already making waves with critics.

A variety of outlets that got these hands-on demos describe the experience as being on par with the presumably more powerful PC VR offerings from Valve or Meta. That said, it will still be up to Sony and other developers to create compelling games, and right now the only exclusive experiences on the new platform are a Horizon spin-off and a VR version from last year Resident Evil Village. The latter is playable for the first time in VR on Sony’s headset. There is also a Walking Dead game and a star wars VR Experience, both ports of previous PC/Quest VR games.

Overall, reviewers seem impressed, if not impressed, with the experience. Among the qualities cited are the overall build quality and comfort, which seem to compete well with existing helmets. It’s still attached, but the cable length seems pretty appropriate. The graphic quality and the overall “immersion”, in particular, attract a lot of attention. One of the more advanced features is headset eye tracking, which allows the unit to optimize rendering based on where you’re looking or, in the future, lock eyes with other players. There’s also haptic feedback in the headset itself. Polygon note that both features are used in Horizonwhich is the most advanced hardware showcase to date.

Basically, it just needs a few killer apps, and the quartet of existing demos seems like a good start. Here are some highlights of hands-on impressions from each outlet:

“Last week I tried Sony’s new headset for the first time and was taken aback by the beauty of two of its flagship games, Horizon Call of the Mountain and Resident Evil Village, look at. They didn’t rely on particles or stylized art direction; they looked like AAA console games that happened to be in virtual reality. The past few years of playing at Quest had recalibrated my expectations of how VR games should look, and it was great to see games moving forward visually once again without requiring elaborate setup.

“But how is it to play games on the PSVR2, with all its new bells and whistles? Actual PSVR2 hardware was a joy to use. Like most modern VR headsets, it lets you adjust the headband to make sure everything sits comfortably on your noggin, and you can adjust the inter-pupillary distance (IPD) so the actual lenses inside headset are the correct distance for you. The screens looked great, although things sometimes looked a little fuzzy around the edges, which could also happen with the first PSVR.

“Wow. Wow Wow Wow. That’s the word that keeps coming to mind when I try to sum up my time with PlayStation VR2. As an avid VR fan for many years now, it’s safe to say that my first hands-on experience with Sony’s upcoming headset wowed my VR fans in. This sleek, sleek unit was everything I could have wished for in an upgraded PSVR headset and more.

In terms of technological and visual quality, this looks like one of the console’s most memorable generational leaps. Experiencing the difference in visuals between PSVR1 and PSVR2 brought back memories of switching to the bright, crisp, high definition games of a PS3 after spending years playing games on the PS2 in standard definition.

“Sony touted much higher visual fidelity for the PSVR2, which, for the tech-obsessed, equates to an OLED display that offers 2000×2040 resolution per eye, HDR, 90Hz and 120Hz refresh rates, and a 110- degree field of view. It’s all impressive on paper, but when you experience it through the headset, it’s kind of magical.

The level of detail displayed was truly overwhelming, mostly because I didn’t expect it from a VR game. I know how dismissive that sounds for all VR games, of which there are certainly more than a few impressive ones. However, there is a clear line between the look of a VR game and a non-VR game – there is a level of richness, detail and finish that separates the two. Horizon Call of the Mountain blurs that line on PSVR2.

“Fortunately, PlayStation VR2 looks like a modern entry into the VR landscape, with top-notch visual fidelity and comfortable ergonomics. Its haptic and adaptive triggers, if implemented well, will be a welcome addition to the immersive experience. As with any new hardware, the question now is whether there will be enough games to make the investment worthwhile. Proprietary games like Horizon Call of the Mountain will certainly help allay those fears, and although nothing has been announced yet, I would be shocked if the exceptional Half-Life: Alyx did not reach the platform.

#PS5s #tech #great #impression

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