With the VR war beginning to get even hotter, we reported that, if you have a PS4 of course, Sony's PlayStation VR unit seems the most viable of the choices of "Headset of the Future." But amidst all this discussion, we haven't really gotten to the crux of how the damn thing works -- and unfortunately the answer isn't magic, as much as I'd love to believe that.
When images of the tech, bundled with all of its mess of wires and booklets, were first unleashed, we spotted a little black Wii sized box that started getting tongues wagging as to whether PSVR requires a separate box that improves the PS4's graphical processing power, or amps up the CPU. Apparently, and thankfully, that's not the case.
Why Should I Make Space For It Then?
Before breaking down what the little box actually does, we've got to get our heads around display refresh rates, as in how many frames a device, say a monitor, TV or a VR headset displays per second. The higher the frame rate is, the smoother the image, and PSVR runs at a ridiculously smooth 120Hz on an OLED display, which means it'll be displaying 120 frames per second (fps). That's not too shabby.
But, according to Sony's senior staff engineer, Chris Norden, the PS4 will handle 120Hz perfectly by itself. So, why does this box exist?
Well the little black box will be bringing with it a number of functions, including:
Object-based 3D audio processing, which, besides the swift frame rates, will add further immersion by moving the sound source relating to the position of the wearer's head in the virtual world, and the reverberation of said source (meaning how long noises will last due to them reflecting off different surfaces in the virtual world). And all of this over any pair of headphones.
- A Mirror mode & Separate mode that either display what the headset is showing, or the latter mode which displays a completely different image, which, incidentally, will be great for Nintendo Land like multiplayer. And it improves the visuals when mirroring VR to TV, because quality of image is normally downscaled in the process.
- It converts the PS4's usual interface and content into a cinematic mode, meaning you can operate the console, play all PS4 games and watch videos from within a VR environment.
So that, my friends, is what PSVR's little black box will be getting up to whilst your wowing your friends with the Future of Entertainment.