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Sony's New VR Headset for PlayStation Competes in Metaverse

The PlayStation VR2 will work with the PlayStation 5 console and comes as concerns about the metaverse heat up.

Sony  (SONY) - Get Sony Group Corporation Sponsored ADR Report has partly unveiled the new generation of its virtual reality headset, called PlayStation VR2, for the hard-to-find PS5 console, intended to improve the user's experience, thus showing its ambitions in the metaverse.

A new virtual reality controller so you can play the game, called the PlayStation VR2 Sense Controller, is also on the way, and it is set to feature haptic feedback (i.e. the control will vibrate at certain times, in order to make the gaming experience more tactile).

At the moment a release date, general price range and images of the console have not been disclosed. 

The company also said that the popular game franchise “Horizon Call of the Mountain” will have an exclusive installment built specifically for PS VR2

PlayStation VR2 Set to Be as Immersive as Possible

PlayStation VR2 will come with a number of features that will make going outside even more unfathomable, according to the PlayStation Blog. These features include enhanced 3D Audio and enhanced Visual Fidelity, including 4K high definition resolution and a 110-degree field of view. 

The headset will also come with integrated cameras and eye tracking, so your movements and the direction you look at will be reflected in the game, so all you have to do is look left and your character will look left. 

The overall goal, it seems, is to make gaming as intuitive and lifelike as possible. As the company states on its blog:

“PlayStation VR2 takes VR gaming to a whole new level, enabling a greater sense of presence and allowing players to escape into game worlds like never before”

Twitter Reacts

It seems that people are already pretty psyched about the news.

Into the Metaverse 

The PlayStation announcement comes when many companies, like Oculus  (OVTZ) , Fortnite  (EPOR) , Roblox  (RBLX) - Get Roblox Corp. Class A Report and others, are racing to profit from the metaverse, the 3-D, immersive digital world where people can log-on, play games, chat, buy virtual land and virtual clothes and whathaveyou (probably with cryptocurrency). 

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The whole thing has been gaining in popularity lately, and if Meta,  (FB) - Get Meta Platforms Inc. Class A Report the newly rebranded Facebook, has its way, one day people will be strapping on headsets and logging onto the metaverse to attend work meetings or see concerts. 

(If you’re still not clear on what the metaverse is, just think of it as something akin to a ‘90s sci-fi movie that takes places in a virtual reality world, or something from a William Gibson novel, or the sort of videogame experience that fuels the plot of about a quarter of "Black Mirror" episodes.) 

The metaverse has already become a big business, as virtual land inside crypto-based metaverses Decentraland and Axie Infinity have already sold for more than $2 million, according to Markets Insider. 

And investors and companies are expecting even more growth, as the cryptocurrency asset management firm Grayscale  (BCHG)  predicts it has the potential to become a $1 trillion annual revenue generator across the fields of advertising, digital events, e-commerce and hardware.

The Metaverse Raises Concerns About Privacy

Mark Zuckerberg has been making an aggressive play to control the metaverse, and as ever, wherever the Zuck goes, concerns about privacy are sure to follow.

Last year, Facebook officially changed its company name to Meta, and Zuckerberg went on a full-court press tour to tout its upcoming virtual reality initiatives, on which is has spent more than $10 billion, including the purchases of several VR startups. 

The goal, he said, is to create the “successor to the mobile internet,” per The New York Times. The paper also speculated that the rebranding effort is just a way for Zuckerberg to deflect questions about how Facebook collects its user data, and its seeming laissez-faire approach to the white supremacists, vaccine deniers and others extremists that use the site to push out conspiracy theories.

But already critics are pointing out that the company’s meta push might have some security risks, and the company still hasn’t proved that it can be trusted with user’s personal data. 

“So beyond the fact that these immersive environments are extremely addictive and they encourage people to unplug from the reality we actually live,” said Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen in an interview with the Associated Press, the metaverse will, according to Forbes, require people to put “many, many more sensors in our homes and our workplaces.” 

In response to these criticisms, Andrew Bosworth, vide president for Facebook Reality Labs, and Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs, said in a company blogpost that Meta would work alongside “policymakers, experts” and “human rights and civil rights communities” to make sure that its new world would be built responsibly.

Metaverse Also Comes Under Fire for Abuse

As soon as Meta allowed access to its virtual-reality social media platform, Horizon Worlds, in early December, reports of abuse began surfacing, as a beta tester posted in a Facebook group that she had been groped by a stranger, according to MIT Technology Review