What You Actually Need To Run VR On PlayStation 4

The PlayStation VR headset’s launch window is fast approaching, but it looks like more than a sweet visor will be coming in the box. It turns out the kit also requires what Sony is referring to as a processing unit, which basically looks like a tiny version of the PlayStation 4.

So, it turns out that using the PlayStation VR won’t be as simple as plugging a cord into a port on the back of your PlayStation 4 console. There’s actually an extra piece of hardware thrown in, and the headset simply won’t work without it.

The announcement was made during the Unite 2015 Sony presentation, a rather lengthy video that, honestly, probably won’t interest many folks. There’s a lot of tech talk about VR being slung around so, if you’re into that kind of thing, then feel free to give it a gander.

The big takeaway here is that, yes, the PSVR needs some additional processing power. Unfortunately, there is a tiny bit of bad news: Sony has made the unfortunate decision of dubbing this additional processing unit the PU…Yep.

Anyway, in case you’re worried this means that the PlayStation 4 is incapable of running the VR headset on its own, that’s not actually the case. During the presentation, Sony’s Ram Madhavan explains that the PU will allow the PlayStation 4 to focus on output to your television and home entertainment audio devices while the PU will handle “most of the heavy lifting” for the headset. Some games might need to output to both a TV and a headset, and that’s a bit much to ask of a single console that wasn’t initially built with this kind of functionality initially in mind.

Along with making sure things run smoothly in the visual department for your PSVR headset, the PU will also handle output of 3D binaural audio, for those of you who are looking to dive into the full-immersion experience.

You shouldn’t fret over the size, either, as the PSVU look to be about the same size as a small paperback book. As mentioned above, the device looks a bit like a small PS4 and also boasts a dongle for volume control, microphone support and quick powering off.

Sony has said in the past that the PSVR should be viewed as basically a console launch, and that’s exactly what it’s shaping up to be. The hardware looks spiffy and dozens of games have already been announced for it, with hundreds of developers apparently working on their own games for it.

Slated to arrive sometime in the first half of 2016, now all we have to do is wait for the thing to actually get here.

Ryan Winslett

Staff Writer for CinemaBlend.