The PlayStation 5 (PS5) has been out for a couple of years now, and gamers are still eagerly awaiting Sony's next step into the world of virtual reality. Out of gaming’s console giants (PlayStation, Xbox, and Nintendo), Sony is still the only one which has taken the leap into immersive gaming. But, as the original PSVR came out almost six years ago now, the hardware is considered out of date in this high-end technological market.
We noted in our original PSVR review that the old headset still has an incredible library of games; with everything from enrapturing 3D platformers like Astro Bot Rescue Mission to the reboot of gaming classic Tetris Effect. However, this delightful range of games matters little when you want to be at the cutting edge of technology. In 2022, hardware and graphical specs from 2016 just won’t cut it. Now, the original PSVR doesn’t hold a candle to the best VR headsets currently available.
Console fans rejoiced in February 2021 when Senior Vice President of Platform Experience at Sony, Hideaki Nishino, confirmed that the company was currently developing an all-new VR headset compatible with its latest console, the PlayStation 5. Then, early this year, Nishino further blessed us by detailing all of those delicious new specifications and revealing the confirmed design of the upcoming VR headset dubbed the PSVR 2.
Despite a lot of official information being revealed, there are still numerous rumors surrounding what exactly the upcoming headset will be. Here we’ve done the hard work so you don’t have to; scouring the internet archives and wading through all the official information, rumors, and patents to bring to you just what we can expect from the PSVR 2. Or you can grab a bargain on the existing PSVR using our VR headset deals guide if you can't wait.
What is the PSVR 2?
While players were delighted by the announcement of a virtual reality headset fully compatible with the current generation of PlayStation consoles, they were also shocked by how few details came with that original announcement. Without even an official name to attribute to PlayStation’s upcoming headset, opting instead to refer to it as the “next-generation VR system,” Nishino mostly gave vague details with no concrete facts and figures.
In a later PlayStation Blog, Nishino referred to the new system as the PlayStation VR2 which is the system’s official name. Aside from the obvious fact that the new headset is designed for use with the PlayStation 5, Nishino promised improved performance and interactivity, as well as enhanced resolution, field of view, tracking, and input (once again, without concrete details). In his later January 2022 blog (opens in new tab), he officially confirmed that the PSVR 2 will be in line with other high end consoles on the market.
Nishino conceded two pieces of official information for the improved system in his initial announcement. The first is that the new Sony VR will have wholly redesigned controllers which incorporate the unique features from PlayStation 5’s DualSense controller – they have been announced as PlayStation VR2 Sense Controllers. This was welcome news as the current PSVR still uses the PlayStation Move controllers that came out during the PlayStation 3’s lifespan.
The second announcement was that the new system will connect to the PlayStation 5 via a single wire. This is a greatly appreciated offering for cable-conscious consumers as five cables were required to set up the original headset. In 2022, many more details were revealed concerning the official specs and design of the system, which we will get into further on.
What does the PSVR 2 look like?
Nishino gave us the first look at the redesigned headset on February 22, 2022 (opens in new tab). In it he explains how the design of the headset was made with the look of the PS5 and controllers in mind. As such, the system has a more curved look than its predecessor. The edges are still flat though, so it can be placed on a surface without fear of it rolling away.
Nishino claims the design has been tested on a variety of head shapes and sizes to ensure maximum comfort. However, some design elements from its predecessor remain unchanged, such as the way to adjust the headset will remain the same, as well as the placement of the headphone jack.
There are also changes to player comfort. The new headset will allow you to adjust the distance between your eyes, which was not available on the original model. There is also a vent installed to prevent a common problem for VR users where sweat gathers on the lens’. Looking closely at the PS5 you can see PlayStation’s iconic symbols in the plastic. This pattern is still present in the plastic of the PSVR 2 headset.
Fans will be pleased to hear that the new headset is slightly slimmer and lighter than Sony’s original headset. As Nishino does not reveal any specific details, it is likely only a very small reduction. However, the headset includes the PS5’s haptic feedback, so it’s impressive that they could add a motor and still reduce weight.
How much will the PSVR 2 cost?
It will probably be a while before Sony announces the official pricing for their next-generation VR headset. Still, with what we know so far, it is possible to make a reasonable estimate. The original PlayStation VR released at $399/£349. This was the price for the version without the PlayStation Camera necessary to use PSVR which retailed separately at $60/£50.
Most hardware makes a loss upon launch, turning a profit later with additional hardware, software, and subscription sales making up the costs. The PS5 is no exception. While the disc version is finally running at a profit, the PSVR 2 will likely run at a loss when initially launched. Even with increased screen resolution, haptic feedback, and increased processing, Sony would probably hesitate to set the price point drastically higher than the original.
The PS5 costs $100/£100 more than the PS4 did at launch, so we know this is a price increase consumers are comfortable paying. Also, according to TechRadar (opens in new tab) the new VR will come bundled with a set of controllers. This seems plausible since Sony has been focusing its marketing around them.
Despite the original VR system not including controllers, Sony will be reluctant to surpass the PlayStation 5’s launch price for a VR set. Therefore, we think you can expect the PSVR 2 to retail around $499/£449.
When is the PSVR 2 release date?
No official release date has been announced, though rumors suggest Sony has begun manufacturing the new hardware. Alhough nothing is definite, there is some information based on available evidence that holds some weight. The most credible claim to date appears to be from Bloomberg (opens in new tab), who wrote an in-depth article about the current state of screen manufacturers and where the industry is heading.
In the report, Japan Display Inc., one of the leading LCD screen producers, stated that they have a relationship with almost every VR developer in the market. As the VR market is pivoting to LCD screens, Sony is continuing to use the higher quality and more expensive OLED products they used in the original version of the PlayStation Vita and, most notably, the PlayStation VR headset.
What do screens have to do with release dates? Bloomberg claims that “people with knowledge of the matter” have confirmed that Sony is working with Samsung to develop the OLED screens with a view of a late 2022 release date. However, now conflicting reports say that we are now looking at an early 2023 timeframe. Analysts have reported that Sony wants to wait until after the holiday 2022 season so that there is a larger PS5 install base to sell to. So, while the headset was demoed quietly in March at the Game Developers conference, it is still believed the company has delayed its initial intended release date, and will not begin sales until next year.
What new features will the PSVR 2 headset have?
Sony has confirmed an increased field of view with previous predictions placing it anywhere from 10-20° of added length. Nishino confirmed that the new PlayStation VR screen features approximately 110°, the current industry standard.
The new resolution is also confirmed to be near 4K, offering each eye 2000 x 2040 resolution. As officially announced, the PSVR 2 will feature enhanced tracking, a reference to eye-tracking, as well as headset-based controller tracking for improved sensitivity that is becoming increasingly common in the VR space. This would help with the motion sickness in VR problem as players would not have to rotate their whole head to see.
Sony filed a “motion-sickness reduction” patent that includes the DualSense’s haptic feedback in the headset to help reduce disorientation for players which is likely the headset vibration referred to in the official announcement. It also points toward improvements with comfort for glasses wearers (opens in new tab) such as the individually adjustable lenses. The patent, which outlines their method for eye-tracking, specifically takes into account this section of gamers. These details were officially confirmed in the February blog post.
Patents were spotted which showed a screen on the outside (opens in new tab) of the headset to show the user’s expressions to an onlooking audience. This would have had implications for streaming and gaming socially. However, now that the design has been officially revealed, we know this is not the case.
There is still one interesting patent that might still be a possibility. Back in February 2021, Sony patented the ability to use everyday objects, such as a banana (opens in new tab), as a controller. This could demonstrate how Sony intends to blend VR with AR technology, which fits in with Sony’s push for more social gaming.
What are the new PSVR 2 controllers?
The one aspect of the PSVR 2 that we are confident of is the new controllers. Sony has focused a lot of their release information on this new controller design (opens in new tab). The unique orb shape allows for a far more natural grip than the old Move controllers, aiding immersion. The shape also moves the trigger under the controller, which feels more natural to hold. The layout is most interesting because the four action buttons are divided over the two handsets, making it likely that the controllers will need to be used as a pair.
As expected, the new controllers will include many features also integrated into the PlayStation 5 DualSense controllers. With adaptive triggers with varying resistances and haptic feedback that uses targeted rumbling, these new controllers may be the most immersive in VR gaming to date.
They also integrate better tracking than their predecessors. The next-generation VR headset will now have the ability to track these controllers, and the controllers themselves will track where your fingers are positioned on them. This will allow all new methods of control in PlayStation VR and should be able to interpret your movements far more accurately than the current system, which solely relies on tracking from the camera and has a tendency to desync.
Does the original PlayStation VR work with the PlayStation 5?
This is an interesting question, and it has a somewhat complicated answer. This short answer is yes. However, you will need to order an adaptor (opens in new tab) from Sony to link your PlayStation 4 camera to your PlayStation 5 since the current generation camera is not compatible with the original VR headset. It gets more complicated again when you begin considering software compatibility. With the PS5’s improved processing speeds, original PSVR games run smoother when played through the current generation console.
Many VR games come in a PS5 or PS4 version, and the PS5 updated versions do not work with the original PlayStation VR. In these cases, as with popular games like No Man’s Sky or Resident Evil 7, you will need the PlayStation 4 version running on your console to play them in VR.
There are also several PS5 VR games in development as dev kits for the new system went out at the start of 2021. At a developers conference held in August 2021 and another in March 2022, Sony tried to woo developers into creating games for the new hardware. When released, these titles will not be compatible with the old VR systems.
What games are coming to PSVR 2?
Sony is also reportedly encouraging developers to integrate VR compatibility into their big main console releases. Big titles like Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo appear as if they were developed with VR in mind. The most credible rumor we could find is that Gran Turismo 7, which was released in March 2022, was developed with Sony’s new VR in mind. As developer Polyphony Digital is owned by Sony, it seems likely this would release on PlayStation’s upcoming VR system.
Two further Sony owned studios, Guerilla Games and Firesprite, have been confirmed as developing a game for the console. The game will be part of Guerilla’s Horizon franchise - which includes Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West - is titled Horizon Call of the Mountain. While we have the title of the new game, no other details have been revealed at the time of writing.
People have also spotted some posts which show that other studios are developing unannounced projects for PSVR 2. A game designer for First Contact Entertainment, the studio which developed Firewall: Zero Hour and Solaris Offworld Combat for the original PSVR, added a line to their LinkedIn page which claimed they were working on a project for the unreleased system. As there is still a number of months before the headset will go on sale, it is likely more games will be confirmed prior to launch.