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.
Updated Nov. 12, 2023 9:00 p.m. PT
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Scott SteinEditor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
ExpertiseVR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tabletsCredentials
Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Sony pretty much dominates the market when it comes to VR headsets. In fact, the company currently makes some of our favorite VR headsets out right now. However, 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. Unfortunately, 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 backward-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.
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.
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.
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.