PlayStation VR2 Introduces Improved Design and Prototypes
The release of PlayStation VR2 brings a sleek and advanced piece of hardware that surpasses its predecessor. With enhanced features such as multiple cameras, reduced wiring, and ergonomic controllers specifically designed for the headset, Sony has showcased its dedication to iterative development through the unveiling of various PSVR2 prototypes.
Early PSVR2 Prototypes
Sony recently shared a comprehensive report on the initial designs of PSVR2, divided into two sections: one focused on the headset and the other on the controllers. The development process began in 2016, the same year the first PSVR launched, and the prototypes were created the following year. Among the seven prototypes featured in the report, several key improvements were observed.
Refining the Headset
Early PSVR2 prototypes incorporated outside-in tracking, similar to the first PSVR model. These designs featured infrared trackers and external cameras. However, the third prototype introduced inside-out tracking, which better aligns with the tracking technology employed in PSVR2. The fourth prototype revealed a more recognizable front shell but still had multiple wires and chips, as it was created prior to the integration of the system-on-chip that consolidates multiple components.
Throughout the development process, the Sony engineering team prioritized functionality and comfortability. They focused on finding the perfect balance between weight and durability for the headset. Additionally, incorporating eye tracking technology posed challenges, particularly in accommodating individuals who wear glasses or have different iris colors. Surprisingly, the inclusion of headset rumble initially involved attaching a DualShock 4 rumble motor, which yielded promising early results.
Innovating the Controllers
The research and prototyping for the PSVR2 controllers began in 2016. The team experimented with the number of buttons, touch detection, adaptive triggers, and haptic feedback. The initial controller design even utilized the orb from the Move controller for tracking, although it may be difficult to discern on the light background.
The subsequent prototypes featured enhancements, such as incorporating IR LEDs into the grips and later relocating them to the outer ring. However, fitting all the components into a smaller shell presented a challenge, as some early prototypes were impractically large for comfortable use. To address this, the engineers worked diligently to reduce the size and optimize the weight distribution.
Product manager Yasuo Takahashi emphasized the team’s goal of achieving a comfortable fit that catered to prolonged gameplay sessions. To achieve this, extensive prototyping and user testing were conducted, resulting in significant changes to the internal structure. Although the next prototype closely resembles the final product, the team is still working on fully optimizing the fit.
The collaborative nature of the development process is evident, with input from developers and feedback from PlayStation Studios being taken into consideration. This collaboration ensured that various aspects, such as the number of buttons and tracking camera placement, were fine-tuned to enhance the overall gameplay experience.