Technology

Sony PS5: Patent Hints At Revolutionary VR Capabilities On The Next-gen PlayStation

Sony PS5 Virtual Reality
Image Source: Sony / USPTO (screenshot)

Rumors about Sony’s next-gen gaming console dubbed PlayStation 5 have intensified in the last few weeks. Earlier this month, Sony President Kenichiro Yoshida said in an interview with the Financial Times that the PS5 was “necessary.” The rumor mill claims the next-gen PlayStation console could focus heavily on virtual reality capabilities. A new patent filed by Sony (via Inverse) suggests that VR experience could be one of the biggest highlights of the Sony PS5.

Sony PS5 could feature hand-tracking kit

Virtual reality has come a long way, at least in the gaming arena. Sony has sold more than 3 million units of PlayStation VR since its launch in 2016, and the company has invested a lot in first-party VR games. So, we wouldn’t be surprised if PlayStation 5 comes with a new hand tracking kit that would make controllers almost useless.

On October 11, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a patent filed by Sony. The patent is titled Gaming Device With Rotatably Placed Cameras. It describes a head-mounted display capable of tracking the location of fingers on your hand, allowing you to interact directly with the virtual world without controllers.

A wrist-worn wearable device transmits infrared light, which is picked up by cameras on the VR headset. The wrist-worn device has embedded cameras to identify the location of your individual fingers. The Sony PS5 could also allow users the ability to switch to a view of the outside world or bring the outside world into the gameplay. One of the biggest issues with virtual reality is that you can’t see the outside world, which could be dangerous and cause motion sickness.

Sony’s Kenichiro Yoshida recently told The Independent that virtual reality was still in the early phase of evolution. It could evolve into mixed reality in the coming years. “So there is a lot of room to improve in VR experiences and you will see the change and the improvement,” said Yoshida. Companies such as uSens have been working on VR hand-tracking for years, and Sony could bring it to the mainstream.

The Japanese company’s patent also hints at ankle connectors that could track your feet movement. It could bring immersive VR experiences to games such as FIFA. The patent also describes wireless communication with the console.

Rumored PlayStation 5 features and specs

Sony is reportedly developing PlayStation 5 under the code-name “Erebus.” That’s the code-name ResetEra user Gemusepizza had found in the Unreal Engine 4 code alongside PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Sony has historically named its consoles after Greek deities. Erebus is the god of darkness. The PS4 was internally known as Orbis while the PS VR was code-named Morpheus.

Separately, developers Bethesda and Infinity Ward have also indicated that they were working on the next-gen Sony PS5 titles. It’s too early to predict what the PlayStation 5 would look like. Sources familiar with the matter told Digital Foundry that Sony was working on AMD for the PlayStation 5 processor. The Sony PS5 could run AMD’s Ryzen processor. The console is also expected to offer enhanced AI capabilities and online streaming of games.

The Sony PS5 is rumored to be backwards compatible with the PS4, PS3, and even PS2 and PS1. Sony’s biggest rival Microsoft has also been focusing on backward compatibility. The PlayStation Network (PSN) is also expected to get a radical overhaul. The company has improved the PSN with faster download speeds and allowing for name changes. In the future, the PSN could put more emphasis on streaming and digital features. A recent patent filed by Sony indicates that the PlayStation 5 could offer V-Sync support, which means games would run better on the new console.

Expected PS5 release date

Sony hasn’t revealed when it plans to launch the PlayStation 5. The company has said that the PS4 was nearing the end of its life-cycle. According to industry analysts, the new console could debut in late 2019 or 2020, though some reports predict it won’t arrive until 2021. If Sony manages to launch PS5 before Microsoft’s Xbox Scarlett, it would have a big advantage over its biggest rival.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter predicts the Sony PS5 would launch in 2020 or 2021. He argues that the US 4K TV market would exceed 50% by 2020. Since there is no official word yet, we will have to wait and see when it comes out. The PS4 would have been on the store shelves for over six years by the time the PS5 hits the shelves. Pachter has told clients that following the launch of Sony PS5, the current PS4 Pro would become the default PlayStation and the PS4 would get a major price cut to attract customers.