Yesterday Sony announced that the upcoming PlayStation VR 2 will not be able to play games from the existing PlayStation VR, completely separating those systems and locking down a library of games for the older technology.
Why? Sony had this to say when announcing the news:
“PlayStation VR games are not compatible with PlayStation VR2 because PlayStation VR2 is designed to be a true, next-generation virtual reality experience,” said Hideaki Nishino, senior vice president of Platform Experience. “PlayStation VR2 has much more advanced features like a brand new controller with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers like I said and inside out tracking in it, 3D audio coming together, 4K HDR of course… that means making games for PlayStation VR2 requires a very different approach than the original PlayStation VR. These features actually allow developers to create worlds that feel more vivid and alive, bringing players closer to the experience than ever before. I believe that.”
So it’s just insurmountable technical reasons, including new tracking and input capabilities, that have made PSVR 2 a better overall experience than the original, which released almost six years ago in 2016.
The problem, however, is that VR is already such a niche scene that trying to get people into it with expensive hardware purchases will be hard to sell when your entire purchased library could now be left behind. Backwards compatibility, either through true compatibility or virtual consoles or cloud streaming, has been an integral part of the Xbox/PlayStation/Nintendo ecosystem for generations, and it’s a little gross to see PSVR 2 cut so significantly from the PSVR library. It would have been better if they announced that some games are in the works to switch generations over time, even though that wasn’t the case at launch.
PSVR was the best selling VR headset back then due to its connection to the popular PS4, although nowadays that would be Meta Quest 2 and the connection to the PlayStation may not be as important as it used to be as the Quest 2 has a full standalone headset has. PSVR 2 is not wireless and will need to be reconnected to the console. This will result in more horsepower than the competition, but I wonder if many in the VR community have moved away from wired headsets. And no doubt many don’t own a PS5, which has been dangerously difficult to find.
Meta recently raised prices on all Quest models, citing the global economy and the fact that the hardware has been selling at a loss for some time. Meta sees Quest and VR as essential to creating Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the Metaverse, while Sony and PSVR 2 appear to be mostly busy making good VR games for the headset. I could imagine that is more popular with potential VR customers these days.
But hey, PSVR Home, anyone? i would play it
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