Next-gen virtual reality looks to be as ambitious as ever.

What you need to know

  • Sony’s Global Head of R&D for PlayStation spoke about VR at a tech conference.
  • He believes the future of VR will involve eye tracking and a wireless headset.
  • Don’t expect a new headset to launch with the PlayStation 5.

The current capabilities of virtual reality amaze some while disappointing others, but it’s only a matter of time when VR will live up to everyone’s expectations. If comments by Sony Global Head of R&D for PlayStation Dominic Mallinson are to be considered, the company has big ambitions for VR going forward, especially in respect to the next-generation PlayStation 5.

Mallinson spoke with CNET at Toronto’s Collision conference where he discussed his desire for eye tracking, wireless headsets, and new VR controllers.

Wireless suffers from the issue of being expensive.

If you’ve ever used a PlayStation VR headset before, you’ll know how unwieldy it is with all of the cables you need to manage. Mallinson recognizes this issue and said, “we do want it to be lighter weight, and easier to put on, less cables, less mess.” However, the problem is that losing the cables makes the technology more expensive. “Wireless suffers from the issue of being expensive,” he said. “If you don’t care about cables, then it’s a lot cheaper than to have a wireless system. But at the same time, having wireless just makes you so much more free.”

When asked about the possibilities of eye tracking, Mallinson couldn’t have been more thrilled. “That’s the one that excites me the most… I think there will come a point in time in the not too distant future when you cannot launch a VR headset without eye tracking.”

Speaking with VentureBeat, Mallinson also said that he expects resolution to “roughly double in the next set of VR products” and for the field of view to be increased from 100 degrees to 120 degrees. HDR is another component he believes vital to creating the best experiences.

And in terms of new controller, Mallinson said that the company would “obviously replace” the Move controllers at some point. The current Move controllers were created with the desire to make everything as affordable as possible, and going forward the R&D team would want to evolve on the design.

Don’t get your hopes up for a new PSVR headset to launch alongside the PlayStation 5, though. The current headset will be compatible with PS5, and Mallinson believes “there’s no reason for us to coincide it [a new headset] with a new console. From the point of view of the consumer, to be bombarded with many many things — oh, you have to buy this, you have to buy that — is a message that we don’t want to send. In some ways, it’s good to have a little breathing space between those things.”

None of these are promises or guarantees, but they do speak to Sony’s ambitions and desires with virtual reality technology.

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