Sony's first big accessory for the PlayStation 5, the, is coming Feb. 22, 2023, with preorders . It also costs more than the itself. Yeah, you read right: The PSVR 2 . It's expensive, but if you're looking for the next big virtual reality gaming headset, it could be the one you want instead of waiting for the or Apple's . For gamers who don't mind being tethered to a game console, this could end up being the most important VR hardware release in a long while. We got a chance to recently, and came away impressed. Still, that price isn't easy to digest.
Sony's current preorder system is invite-based, and requires its own preregistration. It's unclear how difficult it will be to buy one (the PS5 remains hard to find) in time for its Feb. 22 release date.
The PSVR 2 isn't a stand-alone, self-contained headset like Meta's(also known as the Oculus Quest 2) or . That means you'll need to tether it to a (and own a PS5) to use it.
The PlayStation VR 2 looks, in a lot of ways, like the headset we wanted for the PS5 all along. It's a long-awaited update to the PlayStation VR that Sony released for the PlayStation 4 back in 2016: A new design has a color scheme that matches the PS5, and a headband-type visor that's similar to but smaller than Sony's first PSVR. The high-res, vibrating, camera-equipped, eye-tracking capabilities of Sony's second-gen PlayStation headset look like they fit the top-end specs anyone would dream of. However, the new PSVR 2 with all the older PSVR games.
Sony's been revealing more details about the headset in little drips and drops: Specs were revealed in January in a detailed blog post while its , which are reminiscent of the PS5's , were revealed last year.
More recently, Sony revealed new details on how in-VR game broadcasting and room-sensing with its passthrough cameras will work.
We also know about numerous games, including the exclusive Horizon: Call of the Mountain, which is set in the same universe as Horizon Forbidden West.and
We got to try this game, and the hardware, for hours one day in September. It works much like other VR headsets, but with greatly improved display technology, eye tracking and advanced vibrating haptics and triggers in the controllers and headset that make virtual objects feel more convincing.
The VR headset'salso enables , a technology that focuses only on where the fovea of the eye is looking to maximize resolution, getting more graphics punch with fewer pixels. (Dominic Mallinson, Sony's PlayStation head of R&D, suggested eye tracking could be likely back in a .)
PSVR 2 can scan your room, live-broadcast your VR gaming
Passthrough cameras on the headset work like cameras on the Quest 2 and other VR headsets, showing the real world in your headset. The headset will also "mesh" your physical space, scanning walls, floors and obstacles like chairs and desks to get a clear sense of play space. It can create a boundary you can play in.
The meshing part is particularly interesting, because it's something AR headsets and mixed-reality headsets do. It means the PSVR 2 could, theoretically, also have some mixed reality experiences like the Quest 2 is already playing with, although Sony hasn't announced anything on that front yet.
One unique feature is a live broadcast mode, which will use the PS5's TV-mounted camera to record yourself overlaid with footage from your live gameplay into a single stream. Mixed reality livecasting tools have been emerging for Quest 2, but no game console has ever had this feature before.
There's a cinematic mode plus a VR mode
Sony also details two display modes for the headset: one, for VR, will display at 2,000x2,040 pixels per eye in HDR, at 90Hz or 120Hz. A 2D "cinematic mode," much like what the original PSVR can do, plays movies and 2D games at 1,920x1,080 resolution in HDR at either 24Hz, 60Hz or 120Hz.
Specs we know so far:
- OLED displays, with 2,000x2,040-pixel resolution per eye, 90Hz and 120Hz frame rates
- 110-degree field of view
- Eye tracking and foveated rendering
- Adjustable lens separation
- In-headset vibration
- 3D audio
- Built-in microphone and audio-out headset jack
- Four external cameras for tracking
- Single USB-C connection
- Sense controllers with USB-C ports, Bluetooth 5.1, rechargeable batteries, 6DoF tracking, finger tracking using capacitive touch buttons and infrared, haptics and specialized haptic triggers like the DualSense controller
Headset design: vibrations, eye tracking, moving lenses
Even if Sony's PSVR 2 headset looks bulky in the photos, it's actually a lot more comfortable than the Quest 2. An adjustable headband, similar to the PSVR's original design, means it'll tighten around the head like a visor instead of using an elastic strap to squeeze your face. Sony promises adjustable lens distance for different eyes and faces, too, like the original PSVR had. That type of fit worked really well for my glasses, and the hardware felt surprisingly light during my first demos.
The headset supports headphones with a standard headphone jack, and has one cable that tethers to the PS5 via USB-C, via a jack that seems to come out of one side of the headband. That's a lot fewer wires than the breakout box needed for the original PSVR.
Built-inpromises to deliver better graphics, and possibly allow eye control and eye contact in VR games. Eye tracking isn't common in consumer VR headsets yet, but the technology should be arriving on other mainstream headsets, and as well.
The headset's four tracking cameras will allow movement in VR to be tracked without using a TV-connected camera bar. The tracking should work in a similar way to other VR headsets. It's possible that the cameras could allow some pass-through mixed reality, too, blending VR with what the cameras see onto the headset's display.
Games revealed so far
Sony's own exclusive, Horizon Call of the Mountain, remains the PSVR 2's splashiest game, but other games have been announced as well. No Man's Sky, which can be played on PSVR, is a confirmed PSVR 2 port. Also announced: The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners - Chapter 2: Retribution (yes, that is just one game); Resident Evil Village; Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge; and Demeo.
More games were recently announced like The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR; Crossfire: Sierra Squad; The Light Brigade; Cities VR; Cosmonius High; Hello Neighbor: Search and Rescue; Jurassic World Aftermath Collection; Pistol Whip; Zenith: The Last City; After The Fall; and Tentacular.
However, some bad news for original PSVR owners: Sony confirmed that originalunless the games are specifically updated.
What we still don't know
Sony seems to have dumped a ton of information, but there remain many unknowns about the PSVR 2 that we hope to find out sooner than later.
Will there be any bundled discounts?
The price of the PSVR 2 and PS5 together is over $1,000, and that's not including games. We don't know yet if Sony will package these together into a more affordable set, but anything would help.
What games will it have?
We now know about a dozen or so games coming out for the PSVR 2, but many of the announced games are ports of VR titles already available on other platforms. Sony could dip more into its exclusive game library, or get timed exclusives from indie developers. The first PSVR launched with a number of notable games, and the PSVR 2 will need interesting games to sell the hardware.
Will it be backward-compatible with all the old PSVR games?
It looks like the answer is no. Sony recently confirmed that older games will not be automatically compatible. Hopefully Sony finds a way to let developers easily adapt their existing games to the PSVR 2, because there are hundreds of still-good games that even work on the PS5 with older PSVR hardware that will otherwise be stranded.
Is there any chance it could be wireless?
Sony confirmed the headset is tethered with a USB-C cable, and you can see the tethered cable in the PSVR 2 photo above. Right now, the answer is no. It's hard to imagine 360-degree Beat Saber with that USB-C cable attached, but PC VR headsets are cable-tethered, too.