I’ve encountered a number of frustrating situations in which the PlayStation VR loses its tracking. That either breaks the illusion of virtual reality or, at worst, it makes me feel nauseous. Now, Sony has come out to address growing consumer concerns about its headset technology.
Sony Interactive Entertainment has updated its PlayStation Blog post about PSVR’s most frequently asked questions with responses to inquiries about room lighting and reflective surfaces. Many reviews for the PSVR, including GamesBeat’s own impressions, criticize the device for its unreliable positional tracking, which is a crucial link in the process that makes VR work. Some tinkering from me and others has found that you can get better results in a dark room that doesn’t have any mirrors or reflective surfaces. Sony has generally confirmed that those solutions are accurate.
In a response to the FAQ question about whether a room needs to be dark for PSVR to work, Sony explained that only certain lights cause problems.
“Ambient lighting will generally not affect PS VR gameplay,” reads the blog post. “Bright light sources directly behind the person using PS VR, lights coming in from windows and room lights, and lights reflecting off mirrors can interfere with the PS Camera and interrupt the tracking of the LED lights on the headset. It is recommended to eliminate bright light sources behind the PS VR player.”
This means you’ll want to move lamps and close window shades to keep any light sources behind the PSVR headset from interfering with the tracking. I don’t think this was ever my problem, but I did run into troubles with reflective surfaces. Here’s what Sony is saying about this.
“The PS Camera is expecting to see only a single set of tracking LEDs,” reads the blog. “Mirrors that are in the view of the PS Camera will confuse the tracking. Smaller shiny surfaces are generally fine, but if you have problems with tracking performance then these may be contributing to the issue.”
I live in Denver, and every house here has gigantic windows on every wall, and I keep one open behind me during the fall. My guess is that the reflection of the headset lights on that back window was causing some of my tracking errors.
Sony understands that it has to deal with this tracking issue because it could turn a lot of players off of VR. But even with these tips to improve the reliability of its tech, I still have concerns about how the camera and tracking works. Even when I’ve set everything up as ideally as I could, I still ran into moments where the world around me would wobble or jerk around unpredictably. Hopefully, Sony continues to work on this to improve its take on virtual reality.