Sony announced the new controllers for PSVR2 (Or whatever trendy name they think of), but what exactly is so different and exciting about the controllers?
Sony splashed some VR news on us when they announced a new VR was coming a short while ago. The exciting part of the initial announcement was the fact the new VR headset will only utilize one cord. A huge step up for PSVR considering setting up the current headset is an absolute pain. Sony then again updated us by talking about the new controllers, and it seems we are getting more than just convenience.
The first part is pretty straight forward, the PS5 is influencing the new controllers with what makes PS5 controllers so groundbreaking. Adaptive triggers, meaning you can feel pressure or clicks within the triggers. This is super interesting considering a majority of VR titles revolve around shooting guns, or flicking things. This alone is really going to immerse players within titles, as they do on PS5 games already. Also coming from PS5 influence is haptic feedback, which mean the controllers will have zone based vibrations. Based on how massive the new controllers look, as they engulf your whole hand, this could be a rather interesting perk that is expanded beyond what PS5 normally can do as a majority of the vibration is behind your palm. The new controllers have some added length which will add the ability for more zones to be active.
Speaking of design, the biggest update seems to be the freedom to move your hands about in a VR space. Sony really digs curvy controllers (looking at you, banana PS3 controllers) and that curvy design made a return for PSVR. However these curves seem more targeted at allowing the controller to rest on your wrist, with a big circular design that wraps entirely around your hand. The reasoning seems to be a new finger touch feature where the controller is able to sense your fingers on the controllers, without pressing any buttons. My assumption is that means games can have you fully “drop” the controller from your hand, while it is held by your wrist, then grabbed again. Of course that means physically dropping and picking up objects with a game for a full immersive experience. Instead of tying the controller to your hand with straps like current motion controllers, or Wii controllers, it seems more form fitting to not fly out of your hand on accident.
Sony also updated the button placement on the controllers. Each hand holds 2 of the shape buttons, 2 shoulder buttons, and a thumb stick. Personally this is the least appealing aspect of the controller because the divide in buttons is going to be somewhat hard to get used to. Unless you’re already spending countless hours with the current PSVR (which provides all 4 shape buttons on both controllers) and train yourself to divide the buttons, it’s going to take some time to get used to. We spent 5 generations now with our right hand pushing shape buttons, and the left hand pressed the D-Pad.
Not only will that potentially be slightly confusing for some, I would have preferred if more buttons were more accessible by my whole hand. I know touch effects are coming, but having physical buttons near my middle fingers, or at the tip of my fingers, would also seem rather helpful at times, instead of reaching a majority of the buttons with my thumb. I look at the gun controller the the current PSVR as a great comparison, as buttons were all re arranged to easily be accessible by how you placed your hands on the gun.
Overall though, based on demo showcases, the controllers seem like a massive leap forward from current motion controllers. The best update to the controllers is the fact there is no more glowing rubber ball at the end, instead the controllers utilize a sensor at the bottom of the controller that directly communicates with the headset itself. This tends to lead to a potential theory that PSVR2 could see a wireless option in the future as the headset itself seems to be doing a lot of the processing.
That being said the current motion controllers are 2 generations old, so it’s about time they got updated to some degree. Hopefully with PSVR2 on the way that means Sony will put a little more effort into supporting VR with better accessories and games. PSVR seems to go on long stretches of Sony forgetting it exists, and to top it off with controllers from the PS3 age seems a bit silly. Another aspect of support that worries me is if the controllers will be readily accessible via retail, considering motion controllers have been an absolute pain to find (even before COVID).
Source: PlayStation Blog