Sony unveiled a new version of its PlayStation VR headset this week, upping the ante to improve immersion and encourage more players to make the jump to virtual reality. The company has added two key features that will help push it ahead of the likes of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
The company is pushing hard to make VR the future of gaming. It’s announced a $399 bundle that includes the headset and camera (needed to play), undercutting the $599 Vive. Considering the fact a PS4 can be had for far less than a VR-capable PC, Sony’s updated headset looks the ideal way to play VR games like Superhot, Batman Arkham VR and more.
The first new feature is built-in headphones. Where previously users had to plug their own audio device into a plug situated along the cable, the new ones dangle down from the headset itself. Audio is crucial to an immersive experience, and this simplified approach should mean more people playing a better game.
The other change is high dynamic range passthrough. The system places a processing unit between the console and headset, but players with a fancy HDR-supporting TV used to have to unplug the unit to get access to the wider range of colors offered in this relatively-recent feature. The new box now supports a direct feed, so players who aren’t using the headset but want full vibrancy won’t have to get up and fiddle around with cables. This should make the headset into a more accessible experience.
As demonstrated in the below picture, the new headset (on the left) is less of a cable mess than the old one:
It’s not just the headset itself that Sony is improving. In Japan, the company has announced updates to the PlayStation Move controllers that allow players to interact with the world. The new versions will finally ditch the mini-USB connections that were used on the PlayStation 3, replacing them with the micro-USB connections used to charge PlayStation 4 controllers. The battery is also a bit bigger, moving from 1,380 mAh to 1,900 mAh.
Unfortunately, Sony is remaining tight-lipped about a release date for either, simply stating that the improved headset will arrive in North America “at a later date”.
If you liked this article, check out this video about a virtual reality sculpting studio.