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Sony goes head-to-head with Meta in the headset wars

Today we’re catching up on the release of Sony’s latest PlayStation VR (PSVR) virtual reality (VR) system designed for use with the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 gaming consoles. The PSVR2 consists of a headset that users wear over their eyes and ears, which displays VR images and sound, and a set of controllers for interacting with the VR world.

The original PSVR headset, released in 2016, features a 5.7-inch OLED display with a resolution of 960 x 1080 pixels per eye, a 100 degree field of view, and a 120 Hz refresh rate. It also has built-in sensors to track the user's head movements, as well as nine LED lights that are tracked by the PlayStation Camera, which is required for the PSVR to function. The headset also includes a built-in microphone for voice chat.

The PSVR system offers a wide range of VR games and experiences, from immersive first-person shooters and racing games to relaxing virtual tourism and meditation applications. The PSVR controllers allow users to interact with the VR world using motion controls, and the system also supports standard PlayStation controllers.

The latest iteration, the PSVR2, also features and OLED display, but with the resolution increased to 2000 x 2040 pixels per eye and a 110 degree field of view. Thus nudges it ahead of Meta’s Quest 2 headset, which features 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye and a 90 degree field of view. Meta’s headset wins out in terms of value for money, with the PSVR2 retiling at £530 against £399 for the Quest 2. The PSVR2 also comes with eye tracking, which allows 'foveated rendering', a trick used by programmers to save processing power by only increasing the visual fidelity of the part of the screen you’re actually looking at, allowing for better quality graphics and more immersive experiences. Eye tracking also gives virtual avatars more expressive and reflective facial movements, increasing social presence.

One thing Sony does have over Meta, is a back-catalogue of great games, and recent reviews have highlighted the quality of VR games like Horizon Call of the Mountain and Resident Evil Village. In addition, Sony has announced eleven new VR titles: The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR, Crossfire: Sierra Squad, The Light Brigade, Cities VR – Enhanced Edition, Cosmonious High, Hello Neighbour: Search and Rescue, Jurassic World Aftermath Collection, Pistol Whip VR, Zenith: The Last City, After The Fall, and Tentacular.

As noted earlier this month in our Future titans of the metaverse post, Sony will likely double down on its PSVR headset range and virtual reality gaming opportunities, and seek to lead the virtual reality gaming market. Sony’s recent acquisition of American video game developer Bungie, which it bought for $3.6 billion back in February last year, gives it access to Bungie-owned IP including the highly popular, massively multiplayer online game Destiny 2. It will also focus on opportunities for music, movies and television shows in the Metaverse.

Games will always be at the forefront of Metaverse adoption, as players seek more and more immersive experiences. Sony’s gaming strengths, combined with its technology credentials and the popularity of its PlayStation consoles, will make it a formidable Metaverse opponent.

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