PS VR2 could feature machine learning image enhancement

A patent filed by Sony suggests that PS VR2 could use a combination of machine learning and eye tracking to guess where the player will look first.


We already know a lot about PlayStation VR2, such as its design, as well as descriptions of system specifications and new features. However, a release date for the system remains elusive. Although many expected the VR system to release around the end of 2022, rumors now suggest that the PlayStation VR2 release will fall in 2023. This was initially speculated to be due to a supply line delay, but new patents filed by Sony suggest it’s still adding to system software.


Sony has already announced that PS VR2 will have eye tracking that follows the player’s line of sight and should change the orientation of the game world accordingly. Known as foveal rendering, this should not only improve player immersion, but also reduce the processing load on the system by not requiring the entire scene to be in focus.

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A new patent filed by Sony now suggests that this eye-tracking feature on PlayStation VR2 could power a programmed machine learning system to determine where in a scene a player is most likely to look first. The system would then devote the processing power to rendering that area first. If it works, it should render large scenes in a way that the player wearing the VR headset won’t even notice, as they will naturally have been looking towards the area that was rendered first.

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It is not yet known whether this Sony patent will be used as part of the development of the games themselves or simply as a trick to hide render times from the player. Depending on the game, however, this could be used as a subtle way to guide the player through a level using their own eye focus. This could be particularly useful in a very rhythmic section of a game, such as in a chase sequence.

Developers of more immersive single-player games often use different audio or visual cues in the environment to guide players through the game world. One of the most common game development tricks is to have the player naturally follow the sources light such as street lamps or to give interactive objects a distinct color. Some games are so good at this that the player may not even realize they are being led in a particular direction by the game. VR arguably already offers the most immersive gaming experiences, and a system like the Eye Tracking for PS VR2 could replace these hints by guiding players only by focusing on certain directions, even if the player is not looking at them. This would always highlight the correct path in the player’s peripheral vision.

Using the patent like this could suggest a real breakthrough in the technical capabilities of upcoming PlayStation VR2 games. VR is often heralded by many as the future of gaming, and 2021 has seen plenty of big VR video game releases. As PlayStation is currently without its main home console rival Xbox in the VR space, PS VR2 could be a great opportunity for Sony when released.

PlayStation VR2 is currently in development.

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Sherry J. Basler