Sony has just revealed the PS5 VR controller design, and listed some of its new features. And it's not an understatement to say that this new gamepad could be a literal game-changer for Virtual Reality on PlayStation.
Of course, Sony already ventured into Virtual Reality with PSVR, a headset that launched in 2016 and brought such brilliant games as Astro Bot: Rescue Mission onto the PS4. Despite that, VR still feels like it's on the periphery of the PlayStation brand rather than a core part of it. There's are loads of PS4-owners who've never touched PSVR.
But now, having already promised a new PS5 VR headset, Sony has unveiled the controller that will go with it - and it could change everything. There are some bold upgrades in design and function, and they could have huge ramifications.
PSVR on PS4 did have some supporters, but the PS5 VR controller could usher in a whole new wave of VR players. It could be the start of something big.
PS5 VR controller design is hugely freeing
As Sony wrote in its reveal blog: "The first thing you’ll notice with our next-gen VR controller is the unique design, which takes on an 'orb' shape that allows you to hold the controller naturally, while playing with a high degree of freedom. There are no constraints with how you’re moving your hands, providing developers with the ability to create unique gameplay experiences."
Anyone that's played VR games using the PS4 era's PlayStation Move controllers will know that "a high degree of freedom" isn't always guaranteed with Virtual Reality gaming. Not exactly offering much precision or freedom, the wand-like PS Move controllers were sometimes quite fiddly to use. That comparison makes the PS5 VR controller sound instantly appealing.
Although we haven't been hands-on with the PS5 VR controller, our hype is growing by the minute. It certainly looks the part, and Sony is saying all the right things. The blog claims this controller design "will change how VR games are played", and it's easy to see why Sony is thinking along those lines.
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If players can have more freedom of movement and better control of their virtual counterparts, this will allow the PS5's VR games to be much more immersive and less clunky to interact with than their predecessors. And if PS5 VR can build itself a strong reputation off the back of that, it could feasibly draw in a lot of players that haven't yet dabbled in Virtual Reality.
PS5 VR controller features tie in with PS5 hype
As well as promising more control and freedom, the PS5 VR controller will also borrow some features from the PS5 DualSense controller, which was praised for its haptic feedback and adaptive triggers when the PlayStation 5 console launched last year. And considering that demand for the PS5 is still incredibly high, months after that launch, the PS5 VR controller may well get a lot of love and attention by association.
Ringing bells in the heads of anyone who's read the PS5's specs and features, Sony's blog reveals that this new VR controller "includes an adaptive trigger button that adds palpable tension when pressed, similar to what’s found in the DualSense controller." Also, the VR controller will have "haptic feedback optimised for its form factor, making every sensation in the game world more impactful, textured and nuanced".
Having those points of similarity with the PS5's main controller, the DualSense, can only mean good things for the PS5 VR controller. As fans around the globe continue clamouring to buy a PlayStation 5 console, some of that fervent intent-to-purchase may well rub off on the PS5 VR controller.
This could be a huge turning point for Sony's efforts in VR. Not only does this new PS5 VR controller look genuinely gorgeous, but it comes at a time when the PS5 brand is incredibly potent. If the reviews can match up to our expectations, Sony could have a game-changing moment on its hands, where fans flock into the realm of Virtual Reality in numbers hitherto undreamt of.