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Why We're Worried About PSVR 2

PlayStation is kicking its VR game up a notch with the new PlayStation VR 2. Set for release on February 22, the new VR rig brings many of the upgrades fans expect from the PS5 generation — including adaptive triggers and haptic feedback in its controllers — as well as host of new improvements. Games can be played in 4K HDR resolution with 3D audio, making for a fully immersive experience. And with some AAA franchises making their way to the platform, it makes sense that fans are excited to give the new headset a spin.

Yes, the PSVR 2 seems like the compete package, especially for folks who have been enjoying the previous generation of PSVR since 2016. But not everything about the new system inspires confidence. Even though the concerning rumors surrounding the PSVR 2's alleged production cutbacks turned out to be just that, there are still a few issues heading into the PSVR 2 generation that have us a bit worried about the device's future.

The cost of entry

Let's get this one out of the way up top: The PlayStation VR 2 is pricey. Players are looking at a suggested retail cost of $549 for this mean machine, and that could be the point at which many gamers will say, "Thanks, but no thanks." 

First of all, a PlayStation 5 console is required to play games on the headset, just as the original PSVR required players to own a PS4. This puts two hurdles in the way of prospective PSVR 2 owners. For one thing, thanks to continued supply chain issues, gamers are still having a heck of a time even finding a PS5 to purchase in the wild. And once they do, they're looking at another $400-500 for the console, depending on if they're purchasing a Digital Edition of the console. 

In other words, that's roughly a thousand-dollar investment for gamers who are new to the PlayStation 5 ecosystem. Considering the fact that a headset like the Meta Quest 2 is readily available for $399, it may be an extra-tough sell to get anyone to dive fully into PSVR 2 unless they're dead set on playing Sony's exclusive titles for the platform. Oh, and speaking of which...

Exclusives are few and far between

At a glance, the PSVR 2's launch lineup of games is fairly robust, offering gamers a little bit of everything. There are puzzle titles, sports simulators, and psychedelic action games that will make players feel like they've been fully transported to strange and exciting new worlds. However, aside from a few select titles, this library doesn't offer gamers too much that feels particularly new.

The biggest PSVR 2 exclusive is undoubtedly "Horizon Call of the Mountain," a side-story set in Sony's beloved "Horizon" franchise. The graphics glimpsed in recent gameplay trailers are undoubtedly impressive, as is the intense first-person combat. But aside from that AAA experience, the most notable new release is "Dark Pictures Switchback," a spooky action game set on a rollercoaster. Otherwise, much of the library is made up of ports for older games, with some of the titles in the library (like "Rez Infinite") being upwards of seven years old.

Considering the amount of money people will be plunking down for this system — games not included — it's interesting to see that there won't be that many exclusive experiences to bring home with it.

The lack of backwards compatibility is disappointing

Sony has been infamously reluctant to embrace backwards compatibility in recent years, keeping games either locked on a specific console generation or else finding a new way to charge players again for games they've already bought. Much like players can't just pop a PS3 disc into their PS5 and enjoy some old-fashioned "Prince of Persia" action, titles from the original PSVR generation cannot be played on the PSVR 2. 

The reasoning behind this decision is that Sony wants to make a clear delineation in quality and performance, as PSVR 2 is expected to be a fairly significant leap forward in the company's VR offerings. Sony's senior vice president of platform experience, Hideaki Nishino, explained the thought process in an episode of the "Official PlayStation Podcast" back in September 2022: "PSVR games are not compatible with PSVR 2 because PSVR 2 is designed to deliver a truly next-generation VR experience," said Nishino. "PSVR 2 has much more advanced features ... so this means developing PSVR 2 requires a whole different approach from the original PSVR."

This makes sense, of course, but it's a bummer that fans who have invested their time and money into building out their game library won't be getting any kind of upgrade path for their older PSVR games. Even the cross-gen jump from PS4 to PS5 was a bit more open.