Sony recently revealed its latest PSVR (PlayStation Virtual Reality) sales milestone of 4.2 million units. This figure, according to the company, represents headsets “sold through” to consumers, and not total outstanding units which could still be with distributors. The announcement is a pointer to the possibility that PSVR sales could be growing.
Oculus, with the all-in-one Quest, is at the frontline of the next wave of VR evolution, focusing on enhancing visuals, and Sony’s Senior Vice President of R&D, Dominic Mallinson, affirms that the next PSVR HMD will follow suit.
Speaking at North American tech conference Collision 2019, VentureBeat reports that Mallinson revealed as of March 2019, 4.2 million PlayStation VR units have been sold, a figure that is less than 5 per cent to the 96.8 million PS4 units sold. One of the keys to this PSVR is, gamers do not need to make any investment in a high-end PC to participate. With only the PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Eye, you are good to go; while the Move controllers are optional, they are ideal additions. And according to Mallinson, to improve your PlayStation VR experience, you can detach the headset from a PS console altogether.
In a chat with VentureBeat, while discussing VR comfort, Mallinson says: “Being tethered to this cable is inconvenient. And it’s not just about getting tangled up in the cable. It’s not just about the restriction in your motion. It’s also about how you set things up, how you configure the system, where you store it.
“I think that the all-in-one headsets that you’re beginning to see now are actually getting pretty good. But honestly speaking, they cannot possibly compete with a wired headset today because of the enormous amount of compute and rendering performance you can get on a high-end PC or a games console. You just can’t put that on your head.”
In spite of the fact that it has been on the market now for close to two and a half years, PSVR sales seem to be putting up a strong performance, and may even be accelerating since the last official milestone of Sony.
Bearing in mind the limitations of an all-in-one PlayStation VR, another less-likely solution of Dominic Mallinson to this issue is to use an extra device for transmitting the signal, wirelessly, from a console to a VR headset that is un-tethered. Though he did not make mention of the PlayStation 5 specifically, the manufacturer has confirmed that its next-generation console will come with support for VR, and according to the senior official, Sony will not pull the plug on its drive to convert users to PlayStation VR with the PS4. Streaming the data type required for Virtual Reality rendering as well as low-latency performance from a PlayStation 5 console to a VR headset is not widely available; however, Mallinson considers technology such as 60GHz wireless to be an option, though it is an expensive one.
Mallinson says: “So you can have an introductory model and a high-end model. That’s something we’ve done with PlayStation 4. We could do that with PSVR.”