Dev: PS VR2 Controllers Could Be the Best in This Generation; Foveated Rendering Is a Smart Addition

By Alessio Palumbo  / 

The curtain on PS VR2 seems to be slowly coming down as more developers discuss its potential. At GDC 2022, we reported the exciting early impressions of Chet Faliszek.

Now, speaking to the official PLAY magazine, Polyarc Principal Engineer Brendan Walker talked excitedly about the PS VR2 controllers - the very first thing unveiled by Sony about the new Virtual Reality hardware.

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I am so pumped about the new PS VR2 controllers, because we finally have a set of high-quality VR controllers. I think that they have the potential to be the best in this current generation for a couple of reasons.

We've had to design a game that works single-handedly with the DualShock 4 or dual-handedly with the PlayStation Move. So now we have two proper hands and what can you do with that? Their design for the tracking ring was super-interesting. You'll notice that it's more toward the back of the hand, and one cool implication of that is that it means it's easier if you need to have two-handed interactions that are closer to each other. You can do that, because the tracking rings aren't going to bump into each other. So, that's pretty cool! You can get higher-precision interactions.

Walker, who worked on Moss and the recently released Moss: Book II, also praised Sony's decision to add foveated rendering and eye tracking to PS VR2 as it will greatly benefit the system's performance.

It turns out there's a narrow window in the human eye. The field of view is where you're focusing your attention and you can actually put a lot - most - of the detail there and then have lower resolution outside of that. So we are actually wasting a lot of rendering horsepower without eye-tracking and putting detail where there actually doesn't need to be as much It's funny because it's one of those things that engineers are excited about - we can improve performance and increase fidelity - but when it's working right, you won't notice because everything that's outside of your peripheral vision, you won't realise it's lower resolution.

It was smart of Sony to lean into this on a console because, you know, you have this hardware that hopefully is going to be around for quite a while. And in order to eke out as much lifetime out of it, you need to be able to optimise where you can and this is another axis of optimisation.

Indeed, during the GDC 2022 panel 'Building next-gen games for PlayStation VR2 with Unity', Unity Senior XR Graphics Developer Fabien Houlmann stated that the combined use of foveated rendering and eye tracking can deliver up to 3.6x frame time improvements while keeping equivalent graphics quality.

You can check out the whole panel via the embed below. PS VR2 doesn't have a release date yet, but that might change soon given the amount of information that's been shared lately.

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