It’s not there for a processing boost after all.
Since we have known about the PlayStation VR’s external processing unit, there has been some confusion about what exactly it is, and what it does- is it a processing supplement for the PS4, which is maybe not strong enough to render the kind of images needed to have proper virtual reality? Is it just a power unit?
It turns out it is neither. Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE’s) Richard Marks has clarified what the box actually does during his talk on PlayStation VR at the 2016 Vision Summit earlier this month.
“That little box? It’s not like doing all the graphics rendering for VR,” he explained. “That’s not what it does. It’s just a little breakout box. But, because we want the best possible image to be in the headset, all that pre-computation of making everything in the right warped way for the optics of the headset is all done on the PlayStation and that’s shipped over to the headset. So the PlayStation does all that heavy work, gets it all ready for the headset.
“Now, if you just wanted to show that on the TV, first of all the TV wouldn’t even accept that signal, and second of all it would be in this warped looking way and that’s not what we really want people to have to look at. So that little box is just kind of undoing some of the stuff that’s already been done just so you can put it on a television set. That’s what it’s there for.”
The breakout box also apparently processes 3D audio, which is important for VR. “And since that box is already there it has enough horsepower to do the 3D audio part that I mentioned. So there is where the little bit of 3D audio processing is. It’s not little but it’s a lot less than a PS4’s worth of processing power,” Marks concluded.
PlayStation VR is set to launch later this year. Price and launch details are not known as of right now.