Bleeding edge: When Sony first unveiled its upcoming next-gen VR headset, it already confirmed eye tracking, a major new step for consumer-grade VR. We now know that eye-tracking technology will be developed by Tobii, a leading company in the sector.

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Friday Toby announced agreement to include eye-tracking technology in PlayStation VR2. The company already has experience bringing this functionality to headsets, but the PlayStation 5 accessory provides the first opportunity to bring it to a wider audience.

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Modern VR headsets already use motion sensors to track the user’s head and limbs, which is key to making them feel grounded and immersed in the virtual environment. It also gives users additional input mechanisms. Gaze tracking takes it one step further by detecting which pixels the user is looking at, which can have several uses.

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Eye movement, visual focus and blinking may become new input methods. Theoretically, developers could create games with higher performance by fully rendering only those areas of the environment where the player’s eye is focused.

So far, only very expensive work-focused VR and AR headsets like the Microsoft HoloLens 2 (starting at $3,500) or the HTC Vive Pro Eye ($1,400) include eye tracking. no Sony on condition the price or release date of the PS VR2, but it will likely be much cheaper, bringing this feature to a new audience of gamers and game developers.

Rumor has it that Apple’s VR/AR headset and Project Cambria – the successor to Meta’s Quest – will also likely include eye tracking. They and the PS VR2 represent the next generation of consumer-grade VR headsets.