XR developer focus — PS VR2, games, hardware improvement, and healthcare

  • by Johan Bouvin
  • 4 min

Tobii XR developer focus PSVR2

Welcome to this second post in our blog series for XR devs. A lot is happening in the VR, AR, and MR spaces, with new games and innovations set to hit the market soon. Before I get into the details, be sure to subscribe to our XR newsletter on our XR developers page to receive relevant news, insights, and more on developing with our eye tracking.

The highlights

  • Sony has announced the release date for PlayStation VR2. The headset will be available next year, from February 22, with new and updated titles supporting eye tracking,
  • An interview with principal analyst Anshel Sag about the intrinsic value of eye tracking in XR hardware.
  • Tobii and Olleyes, on building accessible and effective vision care with VR and eye tracking.

PlayStation VR2 — a roundup

Announced for release on February 22, 2023, PS VR2 brings an updated design (including its controllers), improved ergonomics, see-through features, foveated rendering, and eye tracking — joining a growing list of companies targeting immersive experiences. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at their teaser video Feel a new real | PS VR2 (rating pending from ESRB).

I think it’s a given that eye tracking’s capability to enable dynamic foveated rendering (DFR) is one of our technology’s best gifts to VR. Several PS VR2 game developers have indeed adopted DFR, and I am delighted to see many positive hands-on reviews, including these by Virtual Reality Oasis, Eurogamer, and IGN.

Our eye tracking has also been used to enable in-game interactions. In this post, Revealing the evolution of the Firewall franchise for PlayStation VR2, PlayStation talks about how they have built on the original game with updated visuals and eye tracking features that allow users to interact with in-game elements such as swapping weapons.

In this post — Demeo reinvents game night on PlayStation in 2023 — Gustav Stenmark talks about the nostalgia often associated with gaming. He mentions how the update to this title (coming in 2023 for PS VR2) will include active haptic feedback and eye tracking features to deepen player immersion and enhance the intuitiveness of interactions with menus and in-game objects. Become a hero on PlayStation VR2 in Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge will ensure that your movements and direction of look are reflected as you play.

In 11 new PS VR2 games announced, PlayStation mentions titles such as The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR, Cosmonious High, and Tentacular, which will support interaction with the objects and environment in an intuitive and immersive way.

On IGN, PlayStation VR2 should make It easier for developers to port their games, Joe Skrebels talks about the many features being made available for developers — including flexible scale rasterization, development environment tools like VR trace, and comfort sample. In summary, I believe PS VR2 will deliver deeper interactions for users and a more accessible experience for developers to get their games onto the platform.

Hardware matters

At SIGGRAPH 22, in his keynote on perceptually realistic capture and display systems, Douglas Lanman (head of display, Meta) covers the top ten hurdles for VR headsets. I would say that the science-grade quality and comprehensive population coverage of our eye tracking helps overcome some issues, raising computing efficiency and display performance.

With Tobii Spotlight for Foveated Rendering, we have been empowering enterprise devices — Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye. HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition, and HTC VIVE Pro Eye — for several years, and now in consumer devices like PS VR2, our technology supports complex content and better graphics at steady and high frame rates.

Inherently introduced by the lens, image distortion will always be a challenge, especially as distortion worsens as FoV widens. And while static distortion compensation can help, it only works when the user's eyes align with the sweet spot at the center of the lenses. When a person shifts the direction of their gaze or if the headset slips, misalignment occurs, and static distortion techniques cannot compensate for that. We are working on advanced technology that enables dynamic distortion compensation to ensure the best possible user experience.

In this interview, principal analyst Anshel Sag invites you to get to know more about how our eye tracking enhances hardware performance, which eventually improves the experience for users when they play your games and use your applications.

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Use cases

Employing VR headsets with native eye tracking and analysis capabilities has become an increasingly popular and scalable approach to improve the accuracy, efficiency, and accessibility of vision care. At VRARA Healthcare Forum 2022, Olleyes' CEO Alberto Gonzalez and Tobii's Amanda Bentley shared their experiences of developing product offerings to capture market opportunities and push the boundaries of technology for good.

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Resources

Sony's senior directors Yasuo Takahashi and Kenjo Akiyama discussed the specifications of the PS VR2 at CEDEC this year, explaining how easy it will be for developers to port their games to the platform. The SDK for PS VR2 is the same as PS5 and supports games made using the Unity and Unreal Engine development kits. In my previous post, avatars, games, and pilot training, I talked a bit about developing with Unity for PS VR2.

As next-gen consumer VR headsets ship with integrated eye tracking, XR gaming can expect huge opportunities to optimize the user experience in areas like interactions, UI, avatars, visuals, and graphics. At the recent XR Bootcamp, I joined Alexander Clark (founder of Starcade Arcade) to give a talk on the do’s and don'ts of eye tracking for VR development. Don't miss the expert roundtable and Q&A session after our talk.

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You can always visit our XR devzone, complete with prototypes for exploring how eye tracking fits seamlessly into virtual reality experiences, and our XR SDK, which you can use to add eye tracking to your titles and applications.

  • Tobii XR integration platforms
  • Foveation technology
  • Device integrations
  • XR headsets
  • Applications and developer kits
  • Foveated rendering
  • Extended reality

Written by

  • Johan Bouvin

    Johan Bouvin

    Director of product — XR software and ecosystem at Tobii

    Hi, I work with tons of developers from all over, hoping to gain an understanding of how their eye tracking needs are evolving. My aim is to ensure that we continue to develop our SDKs, developer tools, and XR platform to align with the rapidly expanding needs of the industry. I collaborate with amazing people in different lines of work. I find the more varied the individuals, the more interesting the results.

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