The Bleeding Edge: When Sony first unveiled its upcoming next-generation VR headset, it already confirmed eye-tracking, which is an important new step for consumer-level VR. Now we know that the eye-tracking technology will come from Tobii, an industry leader.
On Friday, Tobi announced a deal to include its eye-tracking technology in PlayStation VR2. The company already has experience adding the functionality to headsets, but the PlayStation 5 accessory offers the first opportunity to introduce it to a mainstream audience.
Modern VR headsets already use motion sensing to track a user’s head and limbs — the key to making them feel grounded and immersed in virtual environments. It also gives users additional input mechanisms. Eye tracking goes one step further by detecting which pixels the user is looking at, which can have multiple uses.
Eye movements, visual focus and blinking could become new input methods. In theory, developers could design games with better performance by only fully rendering areas of the environment that the player’s eyes are on.
So far, only extremely expensive work-oriented VR and AR headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 (starting at $3,500) or the HTC Vive Pro Eye ($1,400) have included eye-tracking. Sony hasn’t given any pricing or release date for PS VR2, but it will likely be much cheaper, bringing the feature to a new audience of gamers and game developers.
Apple’s rumored VR/AR headset and Project Cambria – the successor to Meta’s Quest – will likely also feature eye-tracking. She and PS VR2 seem to represent the next generation of consumer-level VR headsets.