On paper, and in a declared way, Sony kicks off its own new generation of virtual reality with PlayStation VR2. In practice, what you really need is a revolution. A powerful hit on the table that definitively establishes the most immersive game format. Something that is not achieved based on timid interactive experiences or adaptations, but rather on video games created to leave us amazed with their possibilities.
We can argue long and hard about the price of PlayStation VR2. We agree that those 599.90 euros make it a great investment, especially if you have to buy a PS5 separately, but if we compare what its hardware and virtual reality technology offer with the rest of the alternatives from Meta or Valve, we find that those interested in the format have accounts in the end. The problem is making PS VR2 attractive to the undecided and, above all, to those who until now had not considered making the leap to VR.
We have the original PlayStation VR as a reference. More specifically, everything that was liked and what did not finish taking off in the face of its game proposal. The good news is that Sony has designed the PS5 and PS VR2 console in parallel, so this time there is no need for adapters, additional cameras or having to rescue specific controls. The bad news, and this is a real mistake, is that the games from the first PlayStation VR are not compatible with its successor. To be fair, one thing doesn’t make up for the other.
With all of the above ahead, and taking into account that Sony has set the arrival of its new generation of virtual reality for February 22, 2023, at VidaExtra we have considered sharing what we ask of PlayStation VR 2. What you need offer to those who are passionate about virtual reality, of course, but above all what it must contribute to those who had not considered making the leap until now if they want their reception to be a success. And reasons are not lacking.
Because it is not only an asset compared to the rest of the desktop consoles, a very powerful one, but there are 30 million reasons to take seriously this new impulse to the great initiative of PlayStation 5 compared to the previous consoles: bring the experience beyond the screens and getting us to experience and engage with videogames in new ways. Which brings us directly to our first point.
Paint my calendar with attractive releases
The PlayStation VR 2 technology is incredible: 4K HDR images at up to 120fps, eye tracking, haptic feedback, adaptive triggers… But Sony’s first priority in cementing the investment made by the player is to ensure that new ones will arrive. games on a recurring basis. Games that are really worth it, in fact.
The original PlayStation VR had its own catalog but in the end the entry of news was something that played against it. Far from ensuring a really interesting launch on their part and every few months, they relied too much on the performance of Third Parties and game developers in virtual reality or the interest in bringing already known games to the format.
In other words, how many video games developed from PlayStation Studios for the first PlayStation VR are we able to list from memory? If the amount you arrive at does not exceed the fingers of both hands, we definitely have a first point to address.
The growing expansion of PlayStation Studios must dedicate part of its efforts to supporting both the PlayStation VR 2 catalog with a well-planned periodicity and ensuring that there is interesting and attractive content.
We are not referring only to blockbusters, they are welcome, but to video games that understand the doors that open for PS5 with the format. In the same way that Astro Bot did with the original device and the new desktop from Sony. In fact, it’s a shame Sony didn’t take the opportunity to give a sequel to Astro Bot Rescue to everyone who bets on PlayStation VR from day one.
That said, it goes without saying that such a large investment is not made just to enjoy simple interactive experiences, but to experience video games in a way that cannot be done through traditional screens and controls. Especially when the price of the games, like Horizon Call of the Mountain, is set at 69.99 euros.
Sony, don’t let it happen to you like DualSense: get the most out of technology
As we already mentioned, PlayStation VR 2 is not only an evolution of the original device, but it is also an extension of the PS5 philosophy: Sony wants you to be able to perceive what is happening in the game through new senses such as hearing or touch. The other reality is that, despite the fact that there are lots of games compatible with the DualSense, there are not too many that dare to use the full potential of their hardware.
The DualSense should be one of the great incentives to make the leap from PS4 to PS5. And we are not going to deny it, its technology works wonderfully. But the reality is that this revolutionary momentum ended up gradually diluting as the catalog of new generation games grew. Focusing almost exclusively on the use of adaptive triggers. A pity.
Let me explain better: it’s not that God of War Ragnarök doesn’t use the DualSense, quite the opposite, since the game welcomes you, you notice the difference compared to DualShock. And the same applies to The Last of Us: Part I, which has taken its accessibility options very seriously.
The problem is that there are hardly any games that really squeeze the possibilities of its technology like Astro’s Playroom or Sackboy: An Adventure in a big way. And that, definitely, should not happen in PS VR 2. What’s more, it would be a double crime.
Let’s put on the table just one of its advances compared to the previous model: the sound. PlayStation VR 2 uses PS5’s Tempest 3D so that game audio adapts to the player’s position dynamically, and the same applies to player head movements. If we add acoustic feedback to that, we have a lot of possibilities ahead for very specific genres such as shooters or adventure and exploration games.
However, what really should be a priority are the PlayStation VR2 Sense controllers: these are a couple of devices that, in addition to offering extra precision, have a haptic feedback system and adaptive triggers. To be clear and blunt, if you don’t use this technology, no matter how much better the resolution of PS VR2 is, you are not taking a generational leap.
If we’re going to make a revolution, why not bring PlayStation VR 2 to PCs?
I confess that I have always been struck by an aspect that many of us take for granted, but that should be more visible: the way in which each trailer and on the official PlayStation VR 2 website itself indicate that “Console required PlayStation 5” and “Sold Separately” clearly, but understated. At least for something that should be something so essential when considering the purchase.
From there I do not rule out at all that, even putting it in the box, some impulsive buyer or someone not sufficiently informed comes home with a PlayStation VR and is surprised that they also need a console to play. The human being is like that. But, of course, if we put one thing together with the other, to what extent would it make sense to offer this technology separately?
We know that you won’t need a PlayStation VR 2 game to use the glasses: if you plug it into the PS5 console you can activate a cinematic mode to watch non-VR content. But, on the other hand, with a little initiative it was possible to use the original PlayStation VR on PC, Wii and even Xbox One. Why not take that step and do it right?
PlayStation and Sony have begun a brutal deployment towards PCs. Both in terms of their own catalog of games, which by the way have been very popular on Steam, and in terms of hardware such as monitors and headphones. A trend that will gradually increase, according to Sony itself.
If Gran Turismo 7 will be compatible with PlayStation VR2, and its creator is already testing the possibility of bringing it to PC, the next logical step would be to make PlayStation VR 2 compatible with PC and, in the process, the own Virtual Reality games that are coming. to PS5 by PlayStation Studios with a singularity: they would be the ones that would best take advantage of the unique technology of the device.
A not so far-fetched strategy: although there is currently no competition on consoles in terms of Virtual Reality (no matter how much Nintendo flirted with the idea with LABO) it would be a resounding blow on the table in order to give the device a strong commercial boost. Measuring themselves head-on and on a level playing field with Index, Meta Quest or PICO on their home turf and, at the same time, bringing PC players to PS5.
Picking up papers: this is what I ask of the new generation of virtual reality from Sony
The original initiative to offer virtual reality on PlayStation was not decisive for the success of PS4, but it did not go unnoticed either: in 2019 Sony itself announced that more than 5 million PS VRs had been sold. To which must be added, logically, what is obtained by the software.
In this regard, PlayStation VR 2 inherits the lessons learned and, unlike the backward compatibility of PS5, it loses the opportunity to rescue its catalog of games, but for all intents and purposes it rounds off that philosophy around which its project was built again. generation.
As John Carmack, one of the fathers of DOOM and until very recently one of the key people in the development of the format, said in 2016, the future of VR will depend on developers moving beyond novelty. Now, those same words gain even more special weight. We know what it is and what kind of experience we can get: now is the time to impress us. And, on paper, the PS VR2 has the technology to do just that.
The challenge is no longer about the hardware or the quality of the experience. Those barriers are already more than overcome. And not only that: we know that Sony was already working on PS VR 2 before putting PS5 on sale. Now it’s time to offer a catalog of games attractive enough for the general public to be really tempted to make the leap to virtual reality. Something that is achieved based on the essentials for any console: games, games and more games.
Beyond the hook of the PlayStation brand, what will set PS VR2 apart from the rest is the way in which its technology is put to use and how it makes us perceive games in new ways. However, we also ran into something very worth considering: the game catalog, the biggest disadvantage of PlayStation VR 2 compared to other alternatives. Launch at least.
Although there is nothing similar on consoles, Valve’s Indexes are more expensive, but you find that (according to Steam) there are more than 6,000 compatible games. And despite the fact that Meta has fully invested in the Metaverse, very few have been as involved in the format and enrich the game proposal in virtual reality as Meta Quest.
Sony has announced a first batch of games and titles like Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village will be made compatible, but if they don’t even offer backwards compatibility we find ourselves with a much more limited playable offer. If the goal is for those who invest almost 600 euros to be satisfied, improving this aspect must be a priority for PlayStation Studios.
That said, and as we explained and made clear a little above, bringing PS VR 2 technology to PC is not such a far-fetched plan. At the end of the day, if we get something clear from this new generation by Microsoft and Sony, it is that the deployment to PC and, from there, to consoles has become a priority.
The new generation virtual reality of PlayStation begins a new stage for PS5 and rounds out its appeal and its gaming proposal. The question is: will it succeed among those who are passionate about the VR format or will it go further? What impact will it achieve in the face of those 30 million PS5 sold and how far will it expand that number? As of February 23, 2023, we will have it a little clearer.