Update: September 16, 2022 (4:56 PM ET): We have updated the PSVR 2 hub below to include the confirmation that the PSVR 2 won’t be compatible with PSVR games.
Original article: The Sony PlayStation 5 is a massive leap forward for console gaming and has technically been on the market since late 2020, though many of us have struggled to buy one due to stock shortages. At the time of the PS5’s announcement, many wondered if Sony would continue to meaningfully support VR during the PS5 generation. We got our answer in February 2021, as Sony finally confirmed it was working on the PSVR 2. And then it was radio silence — at least until recently.
In the last few months, we’ve learned a fair amount about the PSVR 2 and its new controllers. Here’s everything we know about the PSVR 2, as well as some rumors and speculation to help fill in the gaps.
What we know about the PlayStation VR2: at a glance
The PlayStation VR2 is an upcoming virtual reality headset designed exclusively for the PlayStation 5, and the follow-up to the original PSVR made for the PS4 in 2016. At a glance, here are the key details we officially know about the upcoming VR headset:
- The PSVR 2 design has been officially confirmed for both the headset and the controllers. Images in this article are based on official Sony renders.
- The PSVR 2 will deliver a notable ergonomic and feature upgrade for its controllers, moving away from the aging PS Move controls found on the PSVR. The new controllers feature haptic feedback and adaptive triggers.
- The PSVR 2 headset has tons of improvements within, including an upgrade to a per-eye resolution of 2,000 x 2,040, a 110-degree field-of-view, 3D audio, four built-in cameras, a six-axis motion sensing system, eye tracking, inside-out tracking, a built-in microphone, and support for rumble/feedback through a single built-in motor.
- In its June 2022 State of Play, Sony revealed some of the games coming to its VR game library including Resident Evil Village, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Chapter 2 — Retribution, No Man’s Sky, and Horizon Call of the Mountain.
- The PSVR 2 has a confirmed launch window of early 2023.
- The PSVR 2 is not backwards compatible with PSVR games.
PSVR 2 controllers and headset gets a major revision over the PSVR
The PSVR 2 features a brand new design for both its headset and controllers. The change in the headset’s design isn’t as massive as the controllers, but still a small departure from its predecessor. The PSVR 2 headset looks less bulky, has a more refined black and white color scheme to match the PS5, and has ditched the blue lights found on the PSVR. We love this design, as it feels a bit more modern and sleek.
Aside from cosmetics, you’ll also find a few other improvements with the headset including an improved adjustment dial, a slight reduction in weight, haptic feedback, and a vent to prevent the lenses from fogging. As a glasses wearer, I certainly appreciate that last one. The headset even apes the PS5 controller by having thousands of tiny PlayStation symbols on it.
While all those improvements are noteworthy, the weight especially stands out. As someone who has worn the HTC Vive, Rift, Quest 2, and many others — I can tell you weight matters. The PSVR was reasonably comfortable, but during long play sessions it could still get a bit heavy, so we’re excited to see how the reduction affects comfort with the PSVR 2.
Obviously, there are plenty of hardware improvements to the display and other components as well, though we’ll get to those a bit later in this article.
The PSVR 2’s controllers are officially called PlayStation VR 2 Sense controllers. As you can see, they are dramatically different from the PS Move controllers that were used on the original Playstation VR. The shape is reminiscent of modern VR controllers from Meta, HTC, and others. The button layout is also quite a bit different from its predecessor.
This time around, you get a pair of analog sticks, one for each controller. The right controller will also have the PS button, the Options button, the Circle and Cross buttons, the R1 and R2 buttons, and the Right Stick/R3 button. The left-hand controller will have the PS button, along with the Create button, the Triangle and Square buttons, the L1 and L2 buttons, and the Left Stick/L3 button. The PlayStation VR 2 Sense controllers will support Bluetooth 5.1 wireless connectivity.
It’s not just the shape or the buttons that are different here, there are plenty of tech improvements you can’t see. The Sense controllers will offer haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, essentially mimicking the feature set found in the PS5 DualSense controller. This allows you to feel tension when pressing buttons and get unique vibrations depending on the action you are performing in-game.
Another big addition is finger-touch detection. Finger-touch detection allows the controller to detect your fingers without actually pressing in on any areas where you have the thumb, middle, or index fingers placed. This allows for fluid hand movement and gestures in a way that the PSVR couldn’t offer.
Arguably, one of the most important changes, however, is the addition of IR LED position tracking. Thanks to the tracking ring located across the bottom of the controller, the headset itself will be able to track the controllers. This means you won’t need an external camera (i.e. PS camera) to track the controllers. It also means no more having to deal with the tracking problems that plagued the PS Move controllers.
PSVR 2 specs and special features
Considering the power of the PS5 alone, it’s pretty much a no-brainer that the PSVR 2 will have better graphics than its predecessor. All that power means little if the PSVR 2 doesn’t offer big improvements to take full advantage but, thankfully, we don’t have to worry about that. At CES 2022, we learned the PSVR 2 offers some impressive upgrades. Now that we know about the design changes and the improvements to the controller, let’s talk a bit deeper about the PSVR 2 specs and other unique features.
The PSVR 2 displays offer some substantial improvements
Probably the most important component of a VR headset is the display technology. Poor lenses ruin the experience not just by breaking immersion, but by causing motion sickness and other issues. The PSVR 2 offers a much-needed jump from the 960 x 1,080 resolution found on the original PSVR, with new OLED panels that offer a resolution of 2,000 x 2,040 per eye along with HDR and a 110-degree field-of-view, as well as support for refresh rates of 90Hz and 120Hz.
The rendering technology is also getting a boost. Rendering specs are set to include flexible scaling resolution and foveated rendering, both tasked with redistributing computing power based on a user’s viewing direction and eye position. This will reportedly result in better overall performance.
The PSVR 2 will feature vibration feedback, eye tracking, and 3D audio for better immersion
In addition to the haptic feedback found in the controllers, the PSVR 2 headset will contain a single motor for vibration effects. Sony offered some examples of how this will work, saying that gamers will be able to “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.” It’s anyone’s guess whether a buzzing sensation in your head will prove immersive or annoying, but hopefully, it’s a feature that can be turned on and off at the user’s will.
Sony also stated the PlayStation VR2 will use the PS5’s Tempest 3D AudioTech to make the audio in a game feel more immersive as well. PlayStation states that its technology allows in-game audio to dynamically adapt to your position and head movements.
Lastly, the headset utilizes eye-tracking, which Sony says will allow players to “interact more intuitively in new and lifelike ways.” This could include using eye movements as a form of input. Imagine if you were in a Superman VR game, you could stare at an object directly and it could trigger a reaction like laser vision.
Setting up will be easier than ever before with the PSVR 2 with fewer wires and no external camera required
The PSVR was a decent headset, but it wasn’t without limitations. You had to position an external camera for tracking and had multiple wires to connect every time you wanted to use the headset. Sony is simplifying things this time around with a single cord setup. You simply plug in the headset to your PSVR and it’s ready to go. The external camera is also no longer needed. The PSVR 2 has four built-in cameras, which provide motion tracking instead of an external camera. This is similar to what we’ve seen in handsets like the Meta Quest 2.
It’s also possible the setup process could get even easier in the future, thanks to wireless technology. Sony has made it clear the PSVR 2 will require a wired installation, but it’s possible this could change in the future. A previous patent from Sony lead many to speculate the PSVR 2 would offer a wireless connection. Sony has since confirmed this isn’t the case, but it’s clear this is a technology Sony hopes to eventually explore. This could always come later in the form of an attachment or even a PSVR 2 Wireless Edition. That said, patents get filed all the time and often mean very little, as only some patents are ever fully realized.
The PSVR 2 could feature technology designed to reduce motion sickness
VR motion sickness can be pretty intense for those of us prone to it, and it only gets worse if the game features tons of quick movements with an analog stick. That’s why many games use teleportation movement where you click a place on the game screen and instantly transport there. Considering the PSVR 2 adds analog sticks to its controller, there might be situations where you will run into motion sickness. Although Sony might be working on a way around this.
Sony filed for a Motion Sickness Reduction patent in 2019 to improve the VR experience for players. The main goal of this patent seems to be to more seamlessly connect what the player sees in the game and feels in real life. Obviously, a patent doesn’t mean it will happen, but we wouldn’t be surprised if this was an area of focus for Sony.
Previously, a specs leak stemming from a private developer conference suggests a “rotary motor” would be used in the headset for haptic feedback and also could be used to reduce motion sensing. At CES 2022, Sony stated the PlayStation VR2 will have headset feedback that will indeed include a built-in motor. While Sony mostly focused on how this would be used for immersion, it’s possible that it could be part of some kind of motion sickness technology as well.
PSVR 2 release date and price
Whispers from the rumor mill suggested that we might see the PSVR 2 release date scheduled for sometime during the holiday season of 2022. While PlayStation may have originally been shooting for this window, it seems like that’s no longer the case. In August, the company confirmed on its Instagram account that the headset will launch sometime in early 2023.
As for the PSVR 2 price tag? Honestly, it’s really hard to call. The PSVR launched for $499.99, but with a combination of inflation and dramatically improved tech under the hood, it wouldn’t be too shocking if the PSVR 2 commanded a higher premium. On the other hand, the VR market has changed a lot since the PSVR was launched. Expensive headsets have lost ground to more affordable options like the Meta Quest 2 at just $299. If Sony wants to expand its reach into VR and not put off would-be consumers, it might be wise to price competitively. Considering the impressive hardware though we wouldn’t be surprised if the price ends up around $399 to $549.
PSVR 2 games and backward compatibility
The PSVR 2 is set to launch with over 20 games, though we don’t have all of the details just yet. We do know that Horizon Call of the Mountain will be one of the titles, which isn’t too surprising given the Horizon series’ popularity. Based on what we know of the game, it seems to be a story that takes place in the homelands of the Nora and Carja. The game will star a new character, Ryas, a disgraced former Carja soldier looking for redemption.
Another big name to expect is Capcom’s latest entry into the Resident Evil series — Resident Evil Village. Like it did with Resident Evil 7 for the PSVR, Capcom will be bringing the entire story of RE Village to VR. As confirmed in a tweet from Capcom, the game is even getting a playable demo that will be available at Tokyo Games Show later this year.
Other games that have been confirmed to be coming to PSVR 2 include:
The original PSVR enjoyed reasonably decent support, but it looks like Sony is aiming higher this time around. “Right now, there is a considerable amount of money being spent on partnerships with independent and other third-party developers to secure a considerable pipeline of attractive VR content at the launch of PlayStation VR 2,” said Sony’s SIE president Jim Ryan to VGC. “That energy, that effort, and that money will continue to grow as the installed base of PlayStation VR 2 headsets grow also.”
More: The best PS5 games
Every company talks a big game pre-launch, but let’s just hope it delivers (and we believe it will). Of course, there’s an even easier way to give PSVR 2 users more experiences right at launch: backward compatibility. Unfortunately, in an interview with Senior Director of Content Communications, Sid Shuman, SVP of Platform Experiences, Hideaki Nishino, confirmed that the PSVR 2 won’t be able to play PSVR games.
This isn’t too big of a surprise given that PSVR games were designed with completely different control schemes than what the PSVR 2 will use. Although this sounds bad, it doesn’t necessarily mean that those PSVR games won’t eventually find their way to the PSVR 2. We’ll just have to hope that the developers will make the effort to port their games over to the PSVR 2.
What we want to see from the PSVR 2
A competitive price tag
Roger Fingas / Android Authority
The PSVR 2 sits in a strange position between expensive PC-based headsets and affordable options like the Meta Quest 2. Considering you need a console to use it, it’s already going to be a much larger investment than a Quest 2 and so we’re really hoping for an aggressive price tag. As mentioned in the pricing section above, something around $399 or lower would allow Sony to better compete with Meta. While it would still be much more expensive than the Quest 2, the PSVR 2 looks to offer a substantially better VR experience than the mobility-focused Quest 2 can deliver. And if it ends up being just $100 more than the Quest 2, this could be enough to win over mainstream PS5 owners that were considering a Quest 2.
On the other side of things, PC VR is likely going to offer a better experience than the PSVR 2. Not only are there more expensive headsets out there, but high-end gaming PCs can offer a lot more oomph than the PS5. The PC also allows for VR productivity, something the PSVR 2 isn’t aimed at. Still, if the price is $399, it would still be at least $100 cheaper than most higher-end PC-based headsets from Meta, HTC, HP, and Valve. The PS5 is also a lot cheaper than a high-end gaming PC, making a $399 PSVR 2 the perfect middle ground for those who want high-end VR, but in a more accessible package.
Wireless support… eventually
To get a high-end VR experience you currently need wires. Sure, the Quest 2 is wireless, but it also features much less powerful hardware than you’ll find with the PSVR 2. As we mentioned above though, Sony has at least hinted at the possibility of a wireless future. It’s pretty much a guarantee that there will be just one iteration of the PSVR 2 at launch, but what if Sony gave us a wireless option too? I personally would love to see this and would be willing to pay a premium over the wired version.
If not at launch, I personally would love to see wireless support come eventually through an adapter or special edition headset.
Better game support and more fleshed-out experiences
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
As we’ve already mentioned, the PSVR had fairly decent game support. If we’re honest though, the number of games didn’t hold a candle to what you could find on mobile and PC VR platforms. The PSVR 2 had some fun games and experiences (I for one loved Iron Man and Batman: Arkham VR), but outside of maybe Astro Bot Rescue Mission, it didn’t have any killer apps that made you want to buy the system. There were a few “full games” that offered countless hours of play like Fallout 4, but overall the PSVR felt more like a promise of what was to come than a real game-changer for the PS4. I’m hoping that the improved technology of the PS5 and the PSVR 2 will allow for even deeper experiences, as well as ports of more complex PC VR titles like Half-Life: Alyx.
That’s all for now. We will update this post as we hear more from the rumor mill, or (better yet) Sony itself.
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