PlayStation VR 2 isn’t here quite yet, but at the very start of 2022 Sony revealed the first detailed specs for the headset. Comparing PSVR vs. PSVR 2 specs side-by-side shows us how much has changed since Sony’s first consumer headset released in 2016.

Among the major players in the VR space, Sony has bided its time on a follow-up to the original headset. Assuming the company’s next-gen VR headset is released this year, around the same time of year as the original, it will be six years between PSVR and PSVR 2.

The original PSVR was released about six months after the first major consumer VR headsets—HTC Vive and Oculus Rift—hit the market back in 2016. However, HTC, Oculus, and others have released many new headsets in the interim. To its credit, PSVR managed to feel competitive for many years after its release, but eventually began to feel dated as the rest of the pack charged ahead.

Now here we are in 2022 with PSVR 2 on PS5 set to bring new life to Sony’s VR ambitions. Let’s take a look at how PSVR and PSVR 2 specs compare:

PSVR vs. PSVR 2 Specs

PSVR 2 PSVR
Resolution 2,000 × 2,040 (4.1MP) per-eye, OLED, HDR 960 × 1,080 (1.0MP) per-eye, RGB OLED
Refresh Rate 90Hz, 120Hz 90Hz, 120Hz
Lenses unknown Single element non-Fresnel
Field-of-view (claimed) 110° (diagonal presumed) 100° (diagonal presumed)
Optical Adjustments IPD Eye-relief
Connectors USB-C (no breakout box) USB, HDMI (breakout box)
Cable Length unknown 4.4m
Tracking Inside-out (no external beacons) Outside-in (external camera)
On-board cameras 4x IR (external), 2x IR (internal) None
Input PSVR 2 Sense controllers (rechargable), eye-tracking DualShock 4 (rechargeable), PS Move (rechargeable), PS Aim (rechargeable), voice
Audio 3.5mm aux output 3.5mm aux output
Microphone Yes Yes
Haptics Controllers, headset Controllers
Weight unknown 600g
Release Date Expected Q3/Q4 2022 2016
Console Compatibility PS5 (backwards compatibility not expected) PS4, PS4 Pro, PS5

PSVR 2 Specs – Beyond the Numbers

It’s easy to get lost in the numbers so let’s really break down the major changes between the headsets.

Resolution, Field-of-view, & HDR

PSVR 1 display and housing | Photo courtesy iFixit (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

For one, PSVR 2 has about four times the pixel count of PSVR. All things being equal, that means images inside the headset would look about four times sharper, which is a substantial improvement.

However, we know that all things won’t be equal. Sony quotes the field-of-view of PSVR 2 at 110° compared to 100° for PSVR 1. That means that while PSVR 2 has many more pixels, they’ll be stretched over a slightly wider area. Overall the sharpness of the headset should still be substantially better, but not quite as much as the sheer increase in pixels would suggest.

As for the field-of-view itself, 100° to 110° isn’t a huge leap, but you’d surely notice it if you compared the headsets side-by-side.

PSVR 1 had an eye-relief adjustment that allowed users to move the lenses closer to their eyes which helped to maximize the headset’s field-of-view. We don’t yet know if PSVR 2 will include an eye-relief adjustment; if it doesn’t then some users might not be able to utilize the headset’s full field-of-view because of how faces are shaped differently from person-to-person.

Unless a surprise headset beats it to the punch, PSVR 2 will be the first commercially available VR headset to launch with an HDR (high-dynamic range) display. That means it’s capable of a much wider range of brightness than a typical headset. Functionally this means the headset will be able to produce scenes with more life-like brightness which could improve immersive considerably.

Personally I’ve never seen an HDR display in a headset… nor do I know anyone who has (that’s allowed to talk about it). I’ve seen plenty of HDR TVs and phones, but because of the unique way that VR displays typically work (with things like low-persistence), it’s tough to know if HDR on PSVR 2 will be directly comparable. So at this point it’s unclear if HDR will be a ‘nice to have’ feature, or something that defines the headset compared to its contemporaries.

Lenses & IPD

PSVR 1 lens | Photo courtesy iFixit (BY-NC-SA)

We don’t know what kind of lenses PSVR 2 will use. The original headset is famously the only headsets on the market in its class that doesn’t use Fresnel lenses, which are known to cause glare (in exchange for other benefits).

The lenses in the original PSVR had a large enough eye-box that Sony didn’t feel the need to include an IPD adjustment (which adjusts the lenses to match the distance between your eyes). However, PSVR 2 does have an IPD adjustment, which suggests a significant change in the headset’s optics, but it’s difficult to say what that might entail.

Even if the lenses didn’t change, having an IPD adjustment is generally a good idea anyway, so we’re glad to see this change for PSVR 2.

Ease-of-use & Tracking

Even though this reads minimally on a spec sheet, this is a huge deal for PSVR 2—no more breakout box and no more external camera.

PSVR 1 setup diagram | image courtesy Sony

PSVR 1 ships with a large breakout box that accepts two plugs from the headset that run along a thick cable. The breakout box has to be connected to the host console by a USB cable and an HDMI cable (and also has to be plugged into the TV). And don’t forget that it needs its own power supply. That’s six… yes, six, individual plugs running into and out of the box.

Needless to say, the breakout box was a bit of a pain. Not only did it complicate the user’s A/V set up, in some cases it even created resolution and HDR issues for certain TVs; this was partly fixed with a revision to the PSVR hardware, but even so the breakout box was a hindrance to the overall experience.

Oh and don’t forget about the camera. PSVR 1 required the PS4 camera for tracking, which meant having another peripheral plugged into your console. Not only that, but the camera was never made for VR in the first place and it suffered from poor tracking accuracy and limited coverage.

PS4 Camera | Image courtesy Sony

Sony has identified and eliminated these issues for PSVR 2. The breakout box is completely gone; the company says the headset will plug into the PS5 with a single USB-C cable through the USB-C port conveniently placed right on the front of the PS5.

And the PS4 camera is gone too. Instead of using ‘outside-in’ tracking with a camera that sits on your TV, PSVR 2 has on-board cameras for ‘inside-out’ tracking. That means the cameras on the headset itself are used to track the player’s head movements. This eliminates another extra peripheral compared to PSVR 1.

But there’s a risk in Sony’s move to inside-out tracking. The quality of inside-out tracking varies greatly between headset makers. While the inside-out tracking on Quest 2, for instance, is very good, the inside-out tracking on Windows VR headsets leaves much to be desired. Only a handful of companies in the world have shown that they can deliver top-tier inside-out tracking for VR.

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Granted, the bar is pretty low in this case. Tracking on PSVR 1 was arguably the worst among major headsets on the market, but it still sold very well regardless. Even if PSVR 2 has just ‘ok’ inside-out tracking, it could still be an improvement over the poor tracking of the original.

All that said, Sony tends to be pretty serious about VR, and I expect they’ll have a decent solution for inside-out tracking, if not a very good one.

Continue on Page 2: Eye-tracking, Controllers, Audio, & Headset Haptics »

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  • Great comparison. I think that PSVR 2 is a very solid headset, I can’t wait toread the first hands-on reviews!

  • JB1968

    Good article where comparison makes sense. UploadVR should learn here.

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  • VRFriend

    Announce something which will be released for sale in 10 months? Crazy. Should be immediately, next day or week or month, not at the end of year.

    • Duckman

      lol

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, they haven’t announced anything officially yet.

    • ApocalypseShadow

      They announced PS5 name at CES and released in November. How many months was that?

      What hot item most people want but can’t get for a console? PS5.

      It’s not unheard of. I would love immediate release. But that’s not always the case because they are still planning strategy and dealing with production in this current climate.

  • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

    One thing I havent seen mentioned in articles is that exclusive PSVR2 games will be built ground up for PS5’s fast SSD. Im not sure when it will become common for PC VR games to require SSD, and for now they are limited by HDD compatibility. Though SSD’s are not yet tapped into to the extent I expect they will be, so that may not be a major edge right from the start. I imagine the SSD goes a long way for eye tracking and foreated rendering at the very least, allowing a ton of detail to be added and removed as the player looks to and from different areas. The SSD may be part of the reason Sony can beat the market to this feature in the first place.

    Would love to see what people with much more knowledge than me think about the SSD potential. I think the SSD will be one reason PSVR2 games will hold up well against PC VR even after the next PC HMD’s launch.. at least the PS exclusives. Would love to see Naughty Dog contribute something to VR this gen. Im sure the game they made would look amazing!

    • Lucidfeuer

      A dev who fiddled with a PS5 dev kit explained to me that the faster SSD just saves work on asset streaming, but there’s no seamless and streamlined tool to take advantage of it for now (maybe nanite when it’s eventually optimized for full games), rather it just allows to save on micro-management of memory loads and therefor is more of cop-out for production that a tool being used for now. It’s gonna take some years before you can see it being used to either augment the details of the world streaming or just save on loading times.

  • Charles

    “quality of the tracking will be improved to.”

    Typo in the article.

    • benz145

      Thanks : )

  • FrankB

    I wonder if there will be PC compatibility, given the interesting spec sheet it could well end up being a top class PC headset.

    • shadow9d9

      There is zero incentive for them to do that, especially with the truly abysmal pcvr game sales numbers.

  • xyzs

    If the lenses are not Fresnel, they really got everything right !
    (except the cable need and the just ok FOV)

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Onboard audio? Why? Leave it to choice.

    PSVR 1 needed the breakout box to process the 3D audio. PSVR 2 does not because of a dedicated sound chip called Tempest built into PS5. Sony gave PSVR 1 gamers a choice on how they wanted to hear be it ear buds or headphones.

    The same great audio that makes Returnal sound the way it does is going to be in VR as well. And that’s just a taste. The same 3.5 audio jack on the Dual Sense where you can use ear buds or headsets to hear that audio is being left up to your choosing again. Different gamers have different preferences on how they listen to sound. Sony is giving gamers that choice on what they want to wear. But PSVR 2 may still have included ear buds in the package just like the first headset if you don’t have any.

    Anyway, PSVR 2 is going to potentially be so far beyond PSVR 1, it’s scary. The graphics, sound and haptics along with analog sticks and 360 movement is going to be on another level. It’s like a gamer jumping from PS2 directly to PS4 Pro or better. Just insane.

  • Nepenthe

    Why wouldn’t we expect backward compatibility? I figured that would be a given at least for some stuff even if a per-game patch were required. Don’t most PS4 games play on the PS5? Sure, something that required the PS4 gamepad (like the precursor to Astro-Bot) wouldn’t work, but the PSVR1 has a decent library held back by the HMD and Move.

    • benz145

      Games like Astro Bot are designed for 6DOF input from the controller which isn’t supported by PS5 controllers. My guess is that we’ll see many PSVR games updated for PSVR 2, but there won’t be direct backwards compatibility.

  • TechnoHunter

    Sony needs to create a standalone VR Headset in my opinion, and then have the cables provided to hook it up to a PlayStation console, if they want to compete with Quest 2 which I think all VR headset hardware platforms should be doing or moving towards! :D