The PS4 has represented a real triumph for Sony. It’s hit nearly 100 million units sold over its lifetime and solidly put Microsoft back in its place, after the PS3 got smacked around a bit in the previous generation. By sticking with their core gamer audience and being surprisingly pro-consumer,at least for Sony, there’s plenty of goodwill to go around.
So to say that the upcoming Playstation 5 is highly anticipated would be an understatement. There’s a lot riding on what Sony decides to do with this console. With Microsoft teasing controversial features such as a digital-only, discless console, core gamers are betting on Sony to stay true to their wishes instead of profit-hungry stockholders.
The hardware lead for PS5, Mark Cerny, recently gave and exclusive interview to Wired where some pretty interesting information was confirmed about the PS5 and PSVR. Sony’s rather unique AAA VR offering.
VR for the People
As it stands, the PS4 plus a PSVR bundle is by far the cheapest consumer VR experience. It’s also a surprisingly good one and smartly combines tech that Sony already had, such as the PS4 camera and PS3-era motion controllers. There are plenty of genuinely good VR games on PS4, despite the console lacking even a fraction of the computing power that VR-capable PCs have.
PSVR has also been pretty successful. About one in every hundred PS4 users have a PSVR. That might not sound like much, but given how many PS4s have been sold, that’s a pretty large install base.
The PS5 is bringing much, much faster hardware. However, would current PSVR owners splurge on another new headset? It seems Sony isn’t taking the chance.
Thanks to Microsoft pulling off a major coup, making the Xbox One backwards compatible with hundreds of popular Xbox Original and Xbox 360 titles, there’s been a lot of pressure on Sony to give gamers a way to play all their favourite old games on the newest box. The PS4 had no backwards compatibility at all. Not even with the PS1. PS3 backwards compatibility has always been an issue thanks to that console’s much-maligned architecture. However, the PS5 will be built using the same core architecture. Just like a PC, this new console will have the same native code capabilities as a PS4, just with faster and more capable hardware. Cerny confirmed PS4 game backwards compatibility, which is not a major surprise, but he also confirmed that existing PSVR headsets would work with PS5.
This is a brilliant move from Sony for a few reasons. First of all, it moves the current PSVR install base into the next generation. Secondly, the PS4, even the more powerful Pro model, hasn’t tapped what the PSVR headset can to fully. There are smoother frame rates and higher render resolution targets to get. Hopefully PS4 VR titles will also get a significant boost when run on a PS5. Frankly this is a win-win situation for VR, for gamers and for Sony. It also means that even if Microsoft decides to enter console VR in this new generation, they’ll be a million units behind right from the start. Ouch.