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PlayStation reveals PS VR2, the next generation of their virtual reality headset



Published Feb 23, 2022


When Yujin Morisawa began to draw the designs for what would become the PlayStation 5, he knew the console was going to be larger and more powerful than the last. So, he started big. Morisawa needed enough space to circulate colder air through the device and regulate the temperature as each component generated heat.

For the second iteration of PlayStation's virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR2, Morisawa didn't have the luxury of going bigger. He needed the new design to rest comfortably on your head, and he needed the headset to weigh less than the last, not more.

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"This is the hardest product I've worked on in my life, actually," Morisawa said. "There's a lot to it. You're actually wearing the product. So, it's a headband, it could be eyewear and it's also a game console."

In an interview with The Post last week, Morisawa, the senior art director for Sony Interactive Entertainment, explained his process behind designing the PlayStation VR2 (PS VR2). Originally announced in January, Sony's second iteration of the virtual reality headset boasts better graphics, added sensory features and four cameras on the face of the headset to track your movement relative to the space around you to better position you in-game. Morisawa said the headset is "a bit lighter" than the previous model, but Sony did not provide a specific weight of the new device.

As Morisawa started to explain his process for designing the PS VR2, he mentioned he was curious to hear my reaction. Morisawa said this is the first time he has shown a PlayStation product ahead of launch and it hasn't been easy. At one point in the design process, Morisawa said he was iterating and tweaking the concept for the headset every week or two based on the feedback from others at Sony.

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"It's actually hard for me to work on the PS VR [2] because the PS VR before was almost perfect," Morisawa said. "It was really hard for me to refine the total design of the headset."

The process for the PS VR2 started with the hardware - in particular, the location of the four external cameras on the face of the headset. The original headset relied on a separate camera system mounted away from the player to track their movement within the game. Now, that won't be necessary.

Morisawa's favorite part of the design is a new ventilation system, which circulates the air inside the console to prevent the lenses from fogging up. And inside the frame, looking back at you, is an eye tracking system that can measure what direction your eyes are pointing in the game. Sony has said that this feature will allow players to "interact more intuitively in new and lifelike ways."

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Morisawa said the team at Sony wanted the new headset to be as approachable as possible. The result, he said, is simpler, easier to wear and more comfortable. There's a dial on the side of the headset to adjust the width of the lenses to fit the bridge of your nose. The buttons from the original headset are in the same place again, to avoid confusion. And, Morisawa shaved off "unneeded mass" where possible, to make the headset a bit lighter to wear.

The design for the PlayStation VR2 is intended to play off the concept for the PlayStation 5; both are two-tone white and black. But, while the PS5 forms between two sharp lines, Morisawa said the headset and controllers are orbs, modeled off the device's 360-degree immersion.

"I wanted to design something beyond a solid object," Morisawa said. "I tried to sculpt the experience . . . the energy behind PS VR."

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Sony's second iteration on the virtual reality headset comes at an interesting time. According to Google, Meta (formerly Facebook) and Microsoft, these headsets are the harbinger for the metaverse - or, the future of the Internet. Meta lost more than $10 billion in 2021 investing in virtual reality and the metaverse.

Sony has not announced a launch date or price tag for the PS VR2. The first PlayStation VR headset originally sold for $400 when Sony released the device in 2016.

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