A key missing component from the PlayStation 5 launch line up of accessories - which included a new Pulse 3D headset, media remote, and camera - was a next-gen version of the PS VR headset. The original PS VR headset, released in October 2016, is still compatible on the new console with the use of an adapter.
While Sony haven't released a new VR model since then, their competitors such as Oculus and Vive have released multiple models over recent years - some of which are able to be used totally independently from a PC. Many were surprised when no new VR device was announced at the launch of the platform, as the enhanced next-gen technology offers the perfect opportunity to evolve the genre.
A report from Lets Go Digital seems to indicate Sony are in the early stages of development for a next-gen VR system. Images from a patent taken out by the company on November 24, 2020 shows two different models currently under consideration for the platform, one following the traditional headset design and another which follows a slimmed down glasses design. The patent lists plans for the device to support both a PlayStation console and PC.
The headset model features several new upgrades from the original model release in 2016, including LEDs and haptic (touch-sensoring) feedback generators, the purpose of which is to be disclosed "shortly". While the original model already includes motion sensors to detect various types of movement, the plans for the new model include even more sensors, likely to allow for further accuracy.
The new designs prioritize adding further comfort to encourage further use of VR technology and to allow devices to be used for extended periods.
WHAT THIS MEANS
As Sony are just filing the patent for this device's development, this seems to indicate it is relatively early on in the design stages of development, so release is likely a few years away still. Patents are used to protect a company's intellectual property from theft, meaning they tend to be filed promptly after plans are made. The designs and details in this patent are extremely conceptual as of now and its likely some of these features won't appear in the final release.
Some of the new features added to this device seem extremely interesting. The addition of haptic generators is something that was mostly recently seen in the PS5's popular new DualSense controller to create more immersive feeling, so the use of this in a VR platform could be ground-breaking. The alternate model design features sleek glasses as opposed to a bulky headset, could potentially be revolutionary if Sony is able to follow through on this, as this has yet to be successfully achieved by any of the major VR developers.
VR fanatics may have to wait a while to get their hands on Sony's next evolution of the platform, but for now the PlayStation VR is available now for use on PS4 and PS5.