PlayStation VR 2 Won't Automatically Work With Older PSVR Games

Backwards compatibility won't be happening for Sony's PlayStation 5 VR headset coming next year, the company confirmed.

Scott Stein Editor 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.
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  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read
Sony Playstation VR 2 virtual reality headset and controllers on stands

The PSVR 2 is arriving next year, but older PSVR games aren't automatically compatible with it.

James Martin/CNET

The PlayStation VR 2, Sony's long-expected VR headset for the PlayStation 5, isn't arriving until 2023. We know a lot about the headset and some of its games, and have even played it for hours. We also now know that older PSVR games won't be compatible with it. Not unless the older games have some sort of PSVR 2 update, at least.

Sony's Official PlayStation Podcast confirmed the news in an interview with the SVP of Platform Experience on the PSVR 2, Hideaki Nishino. CNET also reached out to a Sony representative for comment, who reconfirmed the news by referring to the podcast.

"PSVR games are not compatible with the PSVR 2 because PSVR 2 is designed to deliver a truly next-gen VR experience," Nishino says. "PSVR has much more advanced features like an all-new controller with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, inside-out tracking, eye tracking, 3D audio, and 4K HDR. This mean developing games for PSVR 2 requires a whole different approach than the original PSVR."

Watch this: I Tried Out Sony's Upcoming VR Headset on the PlayStation 5

The original PlayStation VR has a completely different tracking system, using an external camera instead of the built-in headset cameras the PSVR 2 uses. The controllers are new, too, and have barely anything in common with the older PlayStation Move wands the PSVR used. These could indeed be the biggest reasons why original PSVR games won't be compatible.

Hopefully, Sony will enable ways for older games to update easily for the new hardware: Meta did that for older Oculus Go and Quest games that migrated or got enhanced for the Quest 2. Even though plenty of new PSVR 2 games could be arriving, there are already hundreds of still very good games that could be stranded... and that would help the PSVR 2 catalog feel bigger by the time the headset arrives.