Users of the original PlayStation VR headset quickly got used to sliding the display away from their faces when they needed to get a quick look at their surroundings. That won’t be necessary on the PSVR 2, which will use a passthrough camera to provide a black-and-white view of the real-world environment.
In a PlayStation Blog post Tuesday, Sony discussed how PSVR 2 users could activate this passthrough function using a dedicated button on the headset or through a Control Center menu while using the device. The passthrough image—powered by four mounted cameras that also provide positional tracking without any external devices—is similar to those offered by competing headsets like the Oculus Quest.
Players will not be able to record the passthrough view using the PS5’s built-in recording options, Sony said. But players who have a PS5 HD camera will be able to film themselves while in VR and overlay that image on a gameplay view for streaming purposes.
The PSVR 2’s external cameras can also be used to automatically detect furniture and other obstructions in a room, creating an automatic 3D model that helps define the safe, usable space for virtual reality play. Players will be able to manually set or adjust the boundaries of the play area, as with similar headsets.
Cinematic mode will also be making a return from the original PSVR, displaying 2D content on a virtual screen at 1080p HDR resolution and up to 120 Hz.
After first announcing the updated headset last February, Sony has detailed other new PSVR 2 features like eye-tracking, a 2000×2400 per-eye resolution, and a console connection that uses a single cable.
In 2017, Sony filed a patent detailing a manufacturing method that could end the problem of crepuscular ray “lens flare” in virtual reality headsets. Sony has yet to publicly announce such a feature for the PSVR 2, though.
While Sony still hasn’t announced a price or release date for its next VR headset, a Chinese supply chain report from January suggested that Sony hopes to ship 5 million units by the end of 2022.