Yesterday, Sony announced that the upcoming PlayStation VR 2 will not be able to play games from the existing PlayStation VR, separating those systems entirely and locking away a library of games to the older tech.
Why? Sony had this to say in announcing the news:
“PlayStation VR games are not compatible with PlayStation VR2 because PlayStation VR2 is designed to be a truly next-generation virtual reality experience,” Senior Vice President of Platform Experience Hideaki Nishino said. “PlayStation VR2 has much more advanced features like an all-new controller with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, as I’ve said, and inside-out tracking in it, 3D audio is coming together, 4K HDR of course… so this means that making games for PlayStation VR2 requires a whole different approach than the original PlayStation VR. These features actually enable developers to create worlds that feel more vivid and alive, and bring players closer to the experience than ever. I believe that.”
So, it’s just insurmountable technical reasons, including new tracking and input, that have advanced PSVR 2 into being a better overall experience than the original, which was released almost six years ago in 2016.
Still, the problems is that VR is already such a niche scene, that attempting to get people to commit to it with pricey hardware purchases is going to be a tough sell when now your entire purchased library might be left behind. Backward compatibility, either through true compatibility or virtual consoles or cloud streaming, has been an essential part of the Xbox/PlayStation/Nintendo ecosystem for generations, and to see PSVR 2 cut off so clearly from PSVR’s library is a little rough. It would have been better if they announced that some games would be worked on to move between generations over time, even if that wasn’t happening at launch.
PSVR did end up being the best-selling VR headset at the time, due to its connection to the popular PS4, though these days, that would be the Meta Quest 2, and the connection to PlayStation may no longer be as essential as it once was, given that the Quest 2 boasts a full standalone headset. PSVR 2 is not wireless, and again, must be plugged into the console. This will result in access to more horsepower than its competition, but I do wonder if many in the VR community have moved on from wired headsets. And no doubt many do not own PS5s, which has been perilously hard to find.
Meta recently raised prices on all Quest models, citing the global economy and the fact that the hardware had been selling at a loss for a while. Meta views the Quest and VR as essential to creating Mark Zuckerberg’s vision of the Metaverse, while Sony and PSVR 2 mostly just seem occupied with making good VR games for the headset. That’s more likely to resonate with potential VR customers these days, I’d imagine.
But hey, PSVR Home, anyone? I’d play it.
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