Sony Reveals VR Headset Prototype with Display Tech That Could Wind Up in PSVR 2

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During an online showcase today, Sony revealed a VR headset prototype with a 4K OLED microdisplay. While it appears to be a wholly different project than the upcoming PSVR 2, the company says it expects the display itself to be “used in the entertainment field,” which could include other VR headsets.

Today during the Sony Technology Day showcase the company highlighted new technology from across its various businesses.

During the event the Sony Group R&D Center revealed a VR headset prototype which employs a 4K OLED microdisplay. The headset is shown connected to a PC and uses a hand-held form-factor rather than a headstrap. The prototype appears to only support rotation tracking for the time being.

The headset’s 4K OLED microdisplay is ostensibly Sony-made. It’s not only significantly higher resolution than what was in the original PSVR headset, (roughly 1MP vs. 16MP per-eye) it’s also much more compact. The exact specifications weren’t given but a 1-inch² size was suggested.

While the original PSVR used a single large display that spanned both eyes, the display shown in the prototype headset has a nearly square form-factor which makes it better for VR headsets since one display can be used for each eye (which improves design flexibility and pixel utilization).

Image courtesy Sony

Although the new display is more compact, it’s appears to be so small that zooming and focusing the image for an immersive field-of-view would necessitate more advanced optics than what’s in most consumer VR headsets today. Doing so could lead to a rather compact headset, though the presentation doesn’t offer a clear sense of the headset’s fundamental size, nor what kind of optics are used.

Image courtesy Sony

The prototype headset appears to be a totally different project than what Sony’s PlayStation group is working on with the upcoming PSVR 2, however it’s an intriguing possibility that PSVR 2 might make use of the same displays.

Although Sony is in the display business, the original PSVR actually used a Samsung-made OLED display. While many first-gen VR headsets similarly used OLED displays, second-gen headsets have largely moved to LCD for improvements in price, resolution, and brightness, at the cost of the rich colors and dark blacks that OLED displays are known for.

Sony has yet to release its second-gen headset and at this point it’s unclear if it will continue to opt for OLED in the next PSVR headset or move to LCD like most of its peers; rumors suggest it will be OLED, but possibly made by Samsung once again.

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For Sony’s part, however, the company says it expects its 4K OLED microdisplay will be used in “industrial applications” as well as the “entertainment field.” This suggests that if PSVR 2 doesn’t use the display, we might ironically see it in other non-Sony VR headsets. The size suggests it might be best fit for compact VR headsets like Vive Flow.

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  • Holdup

    Stand-alone psvr vita confirm

  • Keopsys

    4k – OLED – RGB…
    Can’t wait to have such a thing available. Take my money and shut up!

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    • Cless

      Yeah man. I wouldn’t even care if FOV was 110-115 if I get 4K RGB OLED.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Oh… those are available at every street corner! It’s just that the current 48″ and up models would be rather unwieldy on your nose….

  • Ad

    Even UploadVR said it wouldn’t be in the PSVR2 and considering how much RnD goes into these things and when PSVR2 is releasing, I don’t think it will either. Maybe the Valve one, which feels like it’s been delayed for panels like this, and will be produced in much smaller quantities at a higher cost.

    • VRFriend

      Who is UploadVR? Somebody who setup WordPress hosting and writes what he wants.

    • JB1968

      What credibility UploadVR have? None! It’s just tabloid VR news website paid mostly by Facebook. When is PSVR2 releasing? Noone knows officially. It can be 2022 2023 or 2024? Sony is even not able to satisfy PS5 market so logically there is no hurry with the PSVR2 release.

  • Blaexe

    We already have two different sources independently confirming the resolution of PSVR2 being 2000 x 2040.

    No, this will not be inside PSVR2.

    • VRFriend

      Long time ago Sony showed high resolution displays it plans to have in VR. Much higher ppi than 2000×2040. Let’s hope it will be better than G2.

      • Blaexe

        If we have learned anything in the past years, then it’s that tech demos have no implications on actual products.

        2000×2040 RGB OLED with high quality lenses would be much better than the G2.

        • Bob

          There were also rumors that Sony were going to favor fresnel lenses over aspherical. Now depending on what kind of individual you are, this may adversely affect the quality of the visual experience. Personally, I’d prefer a little barrel distortion and improved clarity as opposed to the constant glare and occasional god-rays inherent in the fresnel design.

          • Blaexe

            The use of fresnel lenses is more than a rumor, it’s a leak of an internal Sony developer briefing.

          • Bob

            The conflation of rumors and leaks is often something of an annoyance.

          • Blaexe

            I disagree. Anyone can start a rumor. Not anyone can provide leaked info.

          • Bob

            And to support that argument, you’re able to provide a link to the original source of that information?

          • Blaexe

            If you’re that out of the loop, sure.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnAOWbzBEco

            The event took place on the 03.08.2021, independently verified by UploadVR.

            https://uploadvr.com/ps5-vr-headset-hdr-oled-aaa

          • Bob

            Danke schön.

          • david vincent

            “I’d prefer a little barrel distortion”
            You mean the heavy eye-position dependent distortion that we know can cause discomfort and motion sickness ?
            That’s the main reason why every maker (or almost) uses Fresnel lenses.

  • VRFriend

    My fav company.

  • Dawid

    They have not mentioned anything about the brightness. It might not be that good as they use colour filters on white OLED instead of direct patterning.

    • Bob

      I’ve heard somewhere that some of the micro OLED displays are capable of up to 10,000 nits in order to compensate for the usage of pancake lenses.

      • Andrew Jakobs

        You don’t want that shining in your eyes, instant blindness..

        • Bob

          “in order to compensate for the usage of pancake lenses.”

      • Correct.
        Look up: “SadlyItsBradley” on YouTube.
        His last three or four videos cover 10K nit uOLED completely.

  • Lucidfeuer

    I’m at a point where I’m completely uninterested by resolution and refresh-rate. The only evolution that matters is FOV°.

    • Bumpy

      What matters first is video card price and availability becoming normal again so one can even use that FOV.

      • Lucidfeuer

        Performance is almost irrelevant for the FOV compared to the actual drivers, software, rendering and frame pumping (even though higher FOV implies higher resolution).

        • cataflic

          FOV is actually a simple technical problem to resolve, it requires only two of these screen sbs per eye.
          It double costs and requires a fovetead rendering to fit the actual generation of videocards…this is the problem!
          At the end VR is only a question of screens e money….
          In my opinion what does really matters now, is that a mainstream brand like Apple or Samsung or Meta&co unleash a new trendy device like a simple ar glasses to begin the transition from smartphone to smart glasses…that will be the point of disruption.

    • Keopsys

      what is needed is fov AND extra definition..

      • Lucidfeuer

        Sure both, but given the sheer number of high-density screen offers for VR, I’m more interested in who is doing anything to improve on FOV in a consumer headset.

    • Charles

      First priority is getting rid of SDE. That requires roughly 4K (or a filter like the Odyssey+). Refresh rate needs to remain at least 90Hz. Then FOV should be increased, but NOT at the expense of binocular overlap (lesson learned from the Vive Pro 2).

      Honestly, having had an Odyssey+ (with a thin VR Cover) for over 2 years, the only thing I really need ASAP is better physical comfort.

      • Lucidfeuer

        SDE? What is this, 2016?

        • Charles

          Most headsets currently on the market still have SDE. We should be entirely past that in 2021, but we’re not.

          FOV should be increased, but not if it comes with a trade-off that ruins the experience, such as poor binocular overlap or mid-gray black levels.

  • If you’ve ever poked around AliExpress, you’ll see TONS of micro-OLED screens. You can easily get full HD at the size of a postage stamp. This is the first 4k I’ve heard of. The only thing the Chinese don’t have in large quantities are useful ways to track the head and hands in space. That’s the only thing holding back an influx of super-cheap VR headsets.

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  • JB1968

    Better wired than wireless with shitty mobile graphics and Facebook spyware tracking.

  • Keith James

    Some of the best VR experiences I have had so far have been on the PSVR. Cant wait for PSVR2 with the new controllers!