There are still some great original PSVR games that work on the PlayStation 5, if you have the right gear. We hope these get PSVR 2 updates soon.
Sony makes some of our favorite VR headsets on the market right now. But the landscape for these systems is a little confusing at the moment. The PlayStation VR 2 hit shelves earlier this year, and can instantly turn your PS5 console into a powerful virtual reality gaming rig. The issue is that there are a ton of great VR games that this new headset can't run.
The reason is that the new PSVR 2 isn't backwards-compatible with the original PSVR game library, which means a lot of older, but still excellent, PS4 and PS5 VR games are stranded on the PlayStation platform. Oddly enough, the original 2016 PlayStation VR does work on the next-gen PlayStation 5, and those games will play. Hopefully they'll all be updated for PSVR 2 support over time, but there are no guarantees this will ever happen.
This means that yes, you can skip the PSVR 2 and use the original PSVR, hook it up to the PS5, and enjoy VR games. Some of them even benefit from better load times and graphics, too. And, frankly, if you have an older PSVR lying around and don't want to spend more money for a PSVR 2, this is a valid way to go.
Just know this: The PSVR headset is older tech that requires a complex, cabled box and an older PS4 camera, which will plug into the PS5 with an extra dongle adapter you'll have to get from Sony. Also, most PSVR games won't work with the new PS5 DualSense controller (with a few exceptions, like Star Wars Squadrons). For most gamepad games, you'll need to dig up an older PS4-era DualShock 4.
Sony's PSVR has other optional gear, too: wand-like PS Move controllers (which you need for some games) and a light-gun-like VR Aim controller. For the sake of keeping this list simple, I left off games that only work with those; below are some excellent titles that just need a DualShock 4 to work.
Also, a lot of these games also can work without a PSVR headset. They're VR optional, but the headset adds a different level of immersion that's often really compelling, with the downside of a lower-res display than you'd get on a 4K TV.
But these games are so good, they're still worth your attention. And hey, Sony: let's get some PSVR 2 versions of these soon.
And if you do go for a PSVR2, here's a list of our favorite PSVR 2 games.
Editor's note: This article was originally written in 2019, and updated after the PSVR 2 launch as a reminder of how good these games still are.
Media Molecule's browsable world of user-created things is impossible to explain, but you could build your own VR dreamscape here. Or explore others. Dreams will function without a VR headset, but VR just adds a whole new dimension to discover.
A pretty great Star Wars dogfighting game without a VR headset becomes even better with one. You can use your DualSense controller, since this game doesn't track the controller's motion in space.
The best Sony VR exclusive game, and a must-play if you get a PSVR headset. The same team that made Astro's Playroom -- the game that's baked into your PS5 that shows off the amazing tricks of the DualSense controller -- also made this showcase for the PSVR headset. It plays like a wonderful VR version of a Mario-type platformer. I like it even more than Astro's Playroom.
An art piece exploration puzzle game involving fantastic alien worlds, impossibly strange creatures and a simple interface that will have you exploring what to do. It's a great game to soak in some atmosphere. And really, it's so strange -- and beautiful.
Sony's PS4 edition of the classic hovercar racing franchise works beautifully in VR, and it won't make you too nauseous. The benefit of VR ends up being mainly about focus. (Sony's Driveclub is another option.) Just note that you can only find this game in pre-owned condition at the moment.