My PlayStation VR2 review just went live, and whilst I was wowed by the entire experience, eye tracking is the one thing that I’ve come away feeling could be a gamechanger. I’ve always been excited for PlayStation VR2’s eye tracking, but after getting my own head into the headset, it’s the one thing that I was initially wowed by, and am most excited for going into the future.
I had only really thought of the potential gameplay uses (and thought they might be quite gimmicky), but hadn’t thought of practical uses in which it would push the technology forward.
This begins when you put the headset on. Eye tracking goes a long way to making sure that you’re going to get the clearest possible image. With the PlayStation VR2 cleverly able to detect the position of both of your eyes, it can actually guide you to set the lens distance that is perfect for your eyes, rather than just rely on you knowing when it’s at its sharpest, and this goes a long way to improving the VR experience.
Even during setup, you get a sense for how accurately it can track both of your eyes independently with it even picking up my slightly lazy eye (for better or worse).
The biggest and best use case at the moment is Horizon Call Of The Mountain, in which it’s used for foveated rendering, which basically processes a higher quality image at the exact area you’re looking at, rather than the entire location, and this allows the game to run at more than 3x the performance.
It’s used for navigating menus in games such as Horizon Call Of The Mountain (read Kieron’s Press Start review here), which is a small, but nice touch, and feels super natural. Horizon also uses it to assist in your aiming, which again, isn’t something that you notice, but to know it’s going on in the back-end, really just help push the experience forward.
There are other more gameplay orientated, and slightly gimmicky uses. For instance, Tetris Effect uses it to let you clear the zone (by closing your eyes for a brief second). Tentacular lets you use it to converse with the townspeople, and Moss VR will also detect when you’re looking at an object to give you a hint.
We already know games such as Switchback VR will use eye tracking to throw enemies at you depending on if you block or when you’re not looking at them, but I’m really excited to see how this pushes this space forward.
If nothing else, it’s already proven that it can be used to give you the best possible virtual reality experience with adjusting your headset, and allow games to run better performance-wise, but there’s an endless amount of opportunities for new gaming mechanics as well.