Well ahead of Sony’s introduction of a next-generation console, likely to be called PlayStation 5, the company’s lead system architect has confirmed that the current PlayStation VR headset will remain compatible with the new machine. The revelation came from Mark Cerny, who has spearheaded development of the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro for Sony, in an interview today with Wired.
At a time when Microsoft has refused to step into console VR and Nintendo has taken only tentative steps with the release of inexpensive cardboard Labo kits, Cerny described VR as “very important” to Sony, and confirmed “that the current PSVR headset is compatible with the new console.” He also said that the upcoming machine will feature an SSD for faster load times, AMD-developed raytracing graphics hardware, and a “dramatically different” custom 3D audio solution with “presence” that will sound best through headphones.
While Cerny didn’t rule out an even more powerful PSVR2 headset, the potential capabilities of which have been rumored, patented, and even teased at industry trade shows, the company’s continued support for PSVR could further boost sales of the the most popular tethered virtual reality headset of its generation. Sony announced last month that over 4.2 million PSVR units have been sold, not just shipped to stores, making its actual installed base an estimated two to four times larger than PC-based VR rivals.
All signs point to a second-generation PSVR launching at a higher price than the current model, which can currently be had for $199. Between patents and component leaks, Sony appears ready to move to a wireless headset design with higher-resolution displays and new controllers, all requiring hardware that is unlikely to be cheap.
Another reason for on-the-fence PSVR users to jump in now: Cerny suggests that the next PlayStation won’t hit stores in 2019, which is to say that there’s plenty of time for users to enjoy PS4-based PSVR experiences prior to the turnover. Not only will the accessory be compatible with both platforms, but Sony confirms PS4 games will be, as well, which might mean both backwards compatibility and the potential of PS5-powered audiovisual upgrades for existing software.