PlayStation VR2: Everything you need to know about PS5 VRon February 22, 2023 at 11:00 Tech Advisor
It’s been six long years since Sony release the PlayStation VR back in 2016, but luckily the PlayStation VR2 is now here to take the best console VR to the next level.
With the PS5 now out worldwide, it’s no surprise that fans have been waiting for a PS VR2 headset to go with the new home console. Now we have it – but be warned, it costs more than a PS5 itself.
If that’s too steep for you, the existing PSVR headset still works with the PlayStation 5, though owners have to request a free adapter to connect the camera to the system.
When was PS VR2 released?
The PS VR2 launched worldwide on 22 February 2023, with more than 40 games releasing alongside it in the launch window, until roughly the end of March.
How much does PS VR2 cost?
This is the bad news: PS VR2 is expensive. The basic bundle – which includes the headset, a pair of controllers, and stereo headphones – costs $549/£529/€599, which is more than the first PS VR headset launched for, and even more than it costs to buy the PS5 now, which is $499/£479/€549.
That’s the cheapest way to buy the new VR headset. A pricier bundle throws in launch title Horizon Call of the Mountain for a total of $599/£569/€649, while it’s an extra $49/£39/€49 to add in a controller charging dock.
You can buy either set from PlayStation Direct – Sony’s official online store – if you’re in the US, UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands or Luxembourg. For now, that’s the only store with stock in those countries, but in the rest of the world you should check your usual electronics and gaming stores.
Learn more in our separate article on where to buy the PlayStation VR2.
There are unfortunately some early signs that this initial price might just be too much for most to swallow. Bloomberg reports that Sony has already halved its projected shipments for the console’s first three months on sale from 2 million to 1 million following disappointing pre-order numbers, and is now expecting to ship just 1.5 million units across the headset’s first full financial year (from April 2023 to March 2024).
That may be good news for those holding out on the hardware though – low sales may force Sony’s hand into cutting the price sooner, rather than later.
For reference, the high-end Vive Cosmos costs $699/£699 and the new Meta Quest Pro is even more at $1,499/£1,499, although the Meta Quest 2 is much cheaper at $399/£399.
What about the PS VR2’s design and specs?
Sony has now revealed all about the new VR hardware, giving us a look at the headset and the Sense controllers and dropping most of the hardware’s specs.
We’ve collected all of Sony’s official information right here.
The design of the headset was one of the last details Sony waited to reveal.
In the blog post introducing the design, senior vice president Hideaki Nishino explains that it was inspired by the PS5 itself, but features more rounded edges and curves to represent the 360-degree view that players have within the VR space.
Some touches have purposefully been left the same, so that returning players will find the experience familiar, including the location of the headphone jack and the adjustable scope and headband. Other elements are new, such as a lens adjustment dial to match the lens distance between the player’s eyes.
The new headset is both slimmer and lighter than the first generation.
One of the other big changes for comfort is a new vent along the front of the scope, which should help you keep cool (and reduce sweat) during longer gameplay sessions.
Oh, and in case you worried, the tiny PlayStation symbols found on the PS5 and DualSense are back here too, and run along the front and back bands of the PS VR2 headset.
The current Move controllers do the job, allowing you to interact with virtual environments, but without 1:1 tracking, they simply can’t compete with the experience on offer from Vive, Cosmos or Oculus Touch controllers – and Sony knows it.
Weeks after Sony confirmed that it was working on new controllers for the PSVR 2 headset, the company published a PlayStation Blog post detailing our first proper look at the upcoming controllers – since confirmed to be called the Sense controllers.
Sporting an orb-like design reminiscent of the Oculus Quest 2 controllers, Sony says that the shape “allows you to hold the controller naturally” with no constraints on how you can move your hands, and the ergonomic design should translate to a more comfortable experience than holding the ageing batons.
The Sense controllers also sport the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback present on the DualSense controller for PS5, arguably the best features of Sony’s new controller. That’s backed up by finger touch detection, allowing you to make natural gestures in-game, along with the standard plethora of analogue sticks and action buttons.
There aren’t any big in-your-face lights to rely on for tracking this time either, with Sony instead opting for smaller tracking rings that live at the bottom of each controller.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. One of the most anticipated upgrades to the second-gen PSVR is wireless connectivity, but instead Sony says that the headset “will connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup and improve ease-of-use, while enabling a high-fidelity visual experience.”
The cord in question is a 4.5m (14.7ft) USB-C lead, which makes sense given that Sony placed a single USB-C port pretty prominently on the front of the console.
So far the only VR headsets that are wireless as standard are standalone models like the Meta Quest 2, which are by their nature less powerful. HTC has released wireless add-ons for the Vive and Vive Cosmos, but doesn’t support wireless play as standard – perhaps Sony will take a similar approach and release a wireless adapter post-launch.
For a while Sony was playing coy about the silicon inside the PS VR2, but in November 2022 it was announced that MediaTek is providing the chips that power both the headset and the Sense controllers.
These are both custom chips, designed in collaboration between MediaTek and Sony, and neither company has revealed much about the specific silicon, but at least we have a name for it.
Remember that the bulk of the processing power comes from the PS5 itself though, with MediaTek’s chip only handling things like the displays, tracking, and connectivity.
One of the biggest steps forward for the new headset is that it uses “inside-out tracking,” with cameras built into the headset itself to register your location and movements.
Importantly, that means that there’s no need for an external camera – meaning there’s one less expensive accessory to buy, and one less bit of clutter and cabling taking up space in your living room.
The integrated cameras aren’t the only tracking enhancement in the PlayStation VR2.
The headset also supports eye tracking, allowing it to recognise where you’re looking even if you don’t move your head. Sony suggests that this will allow you to use looking in specific directions to “create an additional input for the game character.”
Eye-tracking market leader Tobii confirmed in July 2022 that it is providing the IR eye-tracking hardware, estimating that the deal will represent more than 10 percent of its revenue for 2022.
“PlayStation VR2 establishes a new baseline for immersive virtual reality (VR) entertainment and will enable millions of users across the world to experience the power of eye tracking,” said Anand Srivatsa, Tobii CEO.
“Our partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is continued validation of Tobii’s world-leading technology capabilities to deliver cutting-edge solutions at mass-market scale.”
The PS VR2 features OLED displays, with a resolution of 2000×2040 per eye – giving a total resolution of 4000×2040, making the headset 4K.
It supports HDR along with foveated rendering, a rendering technique that involves reducing image quality in the peripheral vision to allow improved quality in the areas where the player is looking.
A 110-degree field of view is among the widest in the current VR headset market, and support for both 90Hz and 120Hz frame rates will produce a smoother, more natural visual experience.
In addition to the haptic feedback built into the new Sense controllers, Sony has included haptic feedback in the headset itself.
A single built-in motor will vibrate the headset in response to in-game events, which combined with the console’s Tempest 3D audio support could help make games much more immersive.
“For example, gamers can feel a character’s elevated pulse during tense moments, the rush of objects passing close to the character’s head, or the thrust of a vehicle as the character speeds forward,” Sony’s official blog suggests.
Sony has also confirmed a range of new software tricks coming to the PS VR2 in a blog post.
If you own a PS5 HD Camera, you can also hook that up in a new broadcasting mode, perfect for streamers who want to show off their reactions live to gameplay without a complicated setup.
One of the other additions is a new see-through mode, which uses the headset’s front-facing cameras to allow you to view your surroundings without taking the headset off – to talk to friends or just find your controllers.
Even more impressively, you’ll be able to use the cameras and controllers together to set a custom play area – defining edges to not include any furniture, steps, or other hazards. That way the headset will alert you when you get too close to the boundaries you’ve set up, saving you from a nasty accident.
Finally, a Cinema Mode allows you to see the PS5 operating system, non-VR games, and content like TV or films on a virtual cinema screen. Content in Cinematic Mode will be displayed in 1920×1080 HDR video format with 24/60Hz and 120Hz frame rate.
The PS5 is backwards compatible with the almost the entire PS4 library, so we expected that to apply to the PlayStation VR library too – but apparently not.
“PSVR games are not compatible with PSVR2 because PSVR2 is designed to deliver a truly next-generation VR experience,” Hideaki Nishino, senior vice president of platform experience at PlayStation, said in an interview with the Official PlayStation Podcast, adding that “developing games for PSVR2 requires a whole different approach than the original PSVR.”
A report from PSVR Without Parole claims that Sony is going to be emphasising remasters of first-gen PSVR games though, so expect to see plenty of older titles re-released and optimised for the new hardware instead.
Confirmed PS VR2 games
Now that the headset is out, there are plenty of confirmed PS VR2 games, with over 40 games set to hit the VR headset during the launch window – and more than 100 already in development in total.
The big one is Horizon Call of the Mountain, a VR spin-off of Horizon Zero Dawn and its sequel Horizon Forbidden West.
The next big one is that horror favourite Resident Evil Village has received a patch to add in PS VR2 support for the full campaign, with updated VR versions also available for No Man’s Sky, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, and Gran Turismo 7.
Beat Saber will be coming too, though not for launch, as will the VR version of Resident Evil 4.
As for proper new games, The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners is getting a sequel that will come to PS VR2, along with indie titles including Samurai Slaughter House, Firewall Ultra, and Among Us VR.
Here’s the full list of titles available in the launch window, which is roughly from the 22 February launch through to the end of March:
After the Fall: Complete EditionAltair BreakerAnother Fisherman’s TaleBefore Your EyesCities VR: Enhanced EditionCosmonious HighCreed: Rise to Glory – Championship EditionDark Pictures: Switchback VRDemeoDyschroniaFantavision 202XGornGran Turismo 7Hellsweeper VRHorizon Call of the MountainJob Simulator/Vacation SimulatorJurassic World Aftermath CollectionKayak VR: MirageKizuna AI – Touch the Beat!The Last ClockwinderThe Light BrigadeMossMoss Book 2NFL Pro EraNo Man’s SkyNock: Bow + Arrow SoccerPavlovPistol WhipPuzzling PlacesRagnarockResident Evil Village VRRez InfiniteRunnerSong in the Smoke: RekindledStar Wars: Tales from the Galaxy Edge: Enhanced EditionStartenders: Intergalactic BartendingSushi BenSwordsman VRSynth Riders: Remastered EditionThe Tale of OnogoroTentacularTetris Effect ConnectedThumperThe Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Chapter 2: RetributionUnplugged: Air GuitarWhat the Bat?Zenith: The Last City
And here’s just some of the other titles so far confirmed to launch later:
Resident Evil 4 VRBeat SaberSamurai Slaughter HouseFirewall UltraAmong US VRCrossfire: Sierra SquadHello Neighbor: Search and Rescue
Gaming, Virtual Reality