Gaming

PS5 could finally make VR mainstream, patent filing suggests

Not too simple, not too fussy.

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Sony has filed a patent for yet another piece of its next-generation virtual reality rig. Previously published patent documents hinted that a new PSVR headset is in the works. Now, gamers could have possibly caught their first glimpse of Sony’s completely redesigned PSVR controllers, which has the potential to VR tech into the mainstream by offering console gamers a middle ground between quality and price.

On February 13, the company filed a concept for a never-before seen game controller to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The blueprints, first spotted by 91 Mobiles, mention many of the features you’d expect to see in a state-of-the-art VR controller: finger-tracking sensors, adjustable grip straps, and ergonomically arranged buttons and triggers.

“This controller device is worn on the hand of a user and includes: a plurality of sensor units that detect the fingers of the user; and a sensor support part that supports the sensor units,” states the patent description.

These additions would be a monumental step up from the current PlayStation Move controllers that have been around since the heyday of the PS3. The new designs also appear much sleeker, doing away with the PS Move’s clunky light ball. Here’s what they look like side-by-side:

The PSVR 2 controller could be a massive upgrade compared to the clunky PlayStation Move controller.WIPO / Sony

Sony is clearly aiming to go mano-a-mano with the industry’s leading headsets — like the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Valve Index — and it might be able to come out on top when it comes to balancing quality and price. Premium VR headsets can range from $600 to more than $1,000. That doesn’t include the four-figure PC you need to use them.

There’s evidence to believe that the PSVR 2 hardware will be a more affordable alternative to Sony's competitors. On Tuesday, a leak of the alleged specs of Sony’s next VR headset claimed it would include cheaper LCDs instead of pricier OLED lenses. This swap could allow Sony to add premium features like finger-tracking controllers while still keeping the overall price point reasonable.

A better look at the patented controller's finger tracking that could let gamers interact with VR objects more realistically than ever.WIPO

Sony’s most recent patent was published on the same day Bloomberg reported the company is working on a PSVR follow-up. Anonymous sources familiar with the company’s next-gen plans revealed a new VR headset is “tentatively scheduled [for release] after the PS5 goes on sale.”

The final price of the PS5 has yet to be announced and supply chain reports suggest it might fall near $500. However, the PSVR 2 price could be a lot closer to that of Sony’s current VR headset, $299. That means a PS5 and PSVR 2 bundle would cost well under $1,000, which is considerably cheaper than the HTC Vive Pro headset alone.

The future of reasonably priced VR gaming could start with the the PS5.

PS5 comes to stores in late 2020.

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