New VR Announcements Made at CES 2023


In the ever-growing VR category, CES 2023 was the home for industry powerhouses and independent startups alike, showcasing new ideas and updating the world on new VR offerings for the upcoming year. Sony dropped some new info on the imminent PSVR2 launch, Lenovo is blurring the lines of reality with Project Chronos, in-car VR company Holoride wants to take you away while you’re driven around, and startup Dolami has a solution for interacting in the metaverse.

What’s a Metaverse?

You may have encountered the term before this article, each time greeting it with rolled eyes. No one would blame you, since it has been tied to no shortage of hype. Will it replace the Internet and change the world as we know it? Who knows? For now, it’s more palatable to think of the metaverse as simply a term that describes any virtual space that brings people together over long distances to work, learn, socialize, and play. Some of the products and projects below have been designed to help further shape the metaverse, making our virtual interactions within it more natural and nuanced.

Sony PlayStation VR2 Updates

February 22, 2023: The date to which many PlayStation fans are anxiously looking forward, because it marks the release of the PlayStation VR2, the second gen VR gaming headset from Sony. To recap, it will offer 4K HDR OLED visuals (four times the resolution of first gen PSVR), eye tracking, foveated rendering, headset and controller haptics, and much more. At CES 2023, PlayStation made realistic racing fans excited by announcing that a free VR upgrade to Gran Turismo 7 will be available at launch, and it will be joined by more than 30 other titles. The company also dropped the news that one of the most popular VR titles ever is in development for the platform—Beat Saber!

Holoride Retrofit

I can’t read in a moving car without feeling sick, but in-car VR company Holoride has cracked the code with “Elastic Content.” Its new VR entertainment product, Retrofit, is specifically designed to match the motion within VR to the motion of the car. The result is immersive gaming and activities for the passengers, without the motion sickness.

What really makes the Holoride Retrofit a possible winner is the fact that it works in any vehicle. Well, any vehicle with a windshield (sorry, motorcyclists). The compact Retrofit console connects to the windshield via suction cup and sends content to the passenger’s headset wirelessly, letting them control the action via a compatible Bluetooth gamepad.

It currently only works with the HTC VIVE Flow, so if you have one or two gamepads, you can just pick up the Retrofit, or you can get the Retrofit Pack that includes one headset and an 8BitDo Pro 2 gamepad.

Lenovo Project Chronos

Still in development, but looking like an interesting metaverse accessory, Lenovo’s “Project Chronos” (final name forthcoming) is a slim gray DVD-player-like box that uses an advanced-depth camera to create a realistic VR avatar of yourself. The avatar is created and 3D-rendered in a virtual environment in real time. As you move in the real world, your avatar displays those movements—in addition to gestures, posture, and facial expressions—letting you interact with others in a more natural way.

X Mask

Japanese startup Dolami has its own ideas for how to interact more naturally in the metaverse. With the X Mask, Dolami focuses on the part of our bodies that does the heavy lifting when it comes to communication—our face. It’s a physical mask that covers your cheeks, jaw, chin, and nose. The lightweight mask has multiple sensors that are strategically placed to translate your real expressions into the virtual world. The brand made sure to embed those sensors comfortably, so there’s no impact on your skin. Dolami says the result will be above 95% accuracy in facial expressions, with only a 200 ms delay, and it will pair with compatible VR headsets in seconds. It’s projected to be available for purchase later this year.

That wraps up some of the more interesting and unique VR-related products and concepts unveiled at 2023’s CES. It will be interesting to see how they all wind up integrating into the growing VR landscape and our daily lives. Are you ready to incorporate VR into your life? Let us know in the Comments section, below.