A video of Sony's progress with it's next-gen VR controller has been released and it's a world away from the PlayStation Move. Sony has ditched the PlayStation Eye camera needed for the PS Move's wands to work with the PSVR (opens in new tab), with all of the finger-tracking taking place via onboard sensors. If these are the PSVR 2 controllers, it's a hugely impressive upgrade to release with the upcoming PS5 (opens in new tab).
The video is part of a new research paper (opens in new tab) penned by Kazuyuki Arimatsu (opens in new tab) and Hideki Mori, who both work in Sony's PlayStation division and is called Evaluation of Machine Learning Techniques for Hand Pose Estimation on Handheld Device with Proximity Sensor. It features a prototype that echoes what we saw in a Sony patent for a motion controller (opens in new tab) back in February, and bears similarities to Valve's VR Index.
Take a look at it in action:
Sony made it clear it was investing in VR for the next console generation when Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that VR isn't a focus for Microsoft (opens in new tab) for the Xbox Series X (opens in new tab) because "nobody’s asking for VR." President of SIE Worldwide Studios, Shuhei Yoshida, cheekily subtweeted Spencer, saying, "We often work hard to make things that no customers are asking for." And this is the fruits of its labour so far.
The video shows off how the tracking performs with sweaty palms - it happens to the best of us - as well as with rings and watches, and it doesn't struggle at all. There are a couple of areas for improvement, as the authors note, with the finger-tracking struggling to capture the positions of "specific poses" when lifted away from the surface, so a Vulcan salute isn't on the cards right now. There are also a few niggles in fingertip alignment too, if the virtual hand is a "mismatched shape" but overall, the tech on show looks fantastic and opens up the possibilities for VR gaming on consoles - something neither Microsoft nor Nintendo are currently pursuing.
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While it's not confirmed that these are the controllers we'll see launch with the next generation PS VR, it's very likely given the patent and the men behind the prototype.
Last year it was rumoured that the VR hardware would release alongside the PS5 (opens in new tab) in its Holiday 2020 launch window, but there's been nothing to indicate that's the case so far.
We may learn more about Sony's plans for the console's VR peripheral at the PS5 reveal event. We still have no official word on when that's happening, but the latest whispers suggest a June 2, 2020 unveiling (opens in new tab), so there's not long to go now!