A recent report states the final retail version of Sony’s PlayStation VR will have an external processing unit that is as big as Nintendo’s Wii console.
According to Polygon, in order for gaming fans to use Sony’s forthcoming PlayStation VR hardware — formerly known as Project Morpheus — the headset itself will need to be plugged into a black processing box about the size of a Nintendo Wii that will in turn be connected to a PlayStation 4. Although reporters were not allowed to take any pictures or ask questions about PlayStation VR other than to wear it and establish that it was indeed the final retail version, Sony has confirmed that what was shown to the media would be exactly what would ship to consumers upon release.
PlayStation officials have said that the separate component will be necessary to maintain the PlayStation VR’s visuals, which shouldn’t be too obtrusive considering that it won’t be a part of the wearable gear. As far as the processing unit’s function is concerned, though, it will handle and sort the virtual reality graphics themselves while also attending to the display of the second-screen social experience seen on the television.
As previously mentioned, there are no actual press photos available of what the finalized version of PlayStation VR and its external processing unit will look like, but apparently the headset itself is quite comfortable, with an adjustable dial in the back to loosen or tighten its frame. However, Polygon said that it closely resembles the image in VRFocus’ tweet seen below.
As revealed at a GDC 2015 event earlier this year, by having the processing unit connect with the PlayStation 4, gaming fans can then use the TV and PS4 to interact with those playing a VR game, or simply watch while someone does so. Bearing that in mind, it’s still unclear as to exactly how players using external peripherals will actually be able to cooperate with headset-wearers in various titles, and whether or not that would be function utilized only by specific games.
At any rate, with PlayStation VR being slated for an early 2016 release, Sony is vying to promptly establish itself as the dominant force in virtual reality gaming. The tech firm has announced a slew of releases lined up for the platform, with promising titles like Highwire Games’ Golem, which ostensibly allows fans to play as a young girl controlling a giant automaton, and No Goblin’s aptly-named multiplayer sports and fighting game 100ft Robot Golf.
While Sony may have some heavy hitters in its corner in terms of game developers — Hideo Kojima expressed interest in making a VR game, and he recently signed an exclusivity deal with the company — it’s not as if the Japanese multinational doesn’t have stiff competition. After all, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are set to have full releases in Q1 2016, so Sony will need to build the strongest library of games possible in order to secure PlayStation VR’s staying power.
PlayStation VR currently has a release window for the first half of 2016.