As a gaming platform, VR has yet to have its big breakthrough. Yes, Quest 2 has sold better than anyone expected, but compared to console sales it still has a long way to go, and the other headsets on the market lag far behind Meta’s headset in terms of raw numbers. The same goes for the original PlayStation VR, even though it was the first to prove that it was possible to sell millions of VR headsets. Seven years and many valuable experiences later Sony is now ready to release the next generation of a VR headset. Can PlayStation VR2 (PS VR2) take VR to the next level and stand out in a crowded market? PlayStation recently invited us to spend an hour with PS VR2 to see for ourselves. Here are five things that stood out.
It’s very comfortable
Most Quest veterans will probably agree with me when I say that comfort is not a factor to overlook when it comes to the still relatively bulky headsets. My neck has often cursed Meta’s poorly proportioned headset design. Therefore, I’m happy to report that PS VR2 feels very comfortable, at least judging by the hour or so I wore it. Like its predecessor, it is adjustable front and back. It’s soft and has nice, rounded curves, and it feels lighter than its predecessor. Comfort may not quite be at the top of the wish list for most gamers, but it’s still nice that Sony seems to have designed a comfortable headset.
The impressive specs can be seen and felt
With its OLED screen, 2000 x 2040 resolution per eye and 110-degree field of view, PS VR2 has impressive specs, and as you can read in my preview of Horizon Call of the Mountain, combined with the power of the PS5, they are capable of producing experiences that far surpass those of the first PSVR from a visual standpoint. In particular, the sharp image quality that eliminates the infamous screen door effect is a very welcome upgrade, and with its internal cameras, tracking is also greatly improved. Just the fact that you can now rotate 360 degrees without the tracking getting confused is wonderful.
The controllers are familiar and function very well
The death of the Move controller is one of the best things about the new hardware. The clunky sticks have been replaced with a pair of Oculus Touch inspired controllers that feel very natural to hold. There are finally two analog sticks and the button placement feels just right. And, of course, they come with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers (more on that later). If, like me, you’ve spent a significant amount of time with the Touch controllers, it feels like a minor upgrade, but if your reference point is the original PSVR, you’re in for a serious treat.
Features introduced by DualSense are exciting in VR
Speaking of haptic feedback, the controllers are not the only thing that uses it. The headset itself comes with that feature. Don’t worry, a blow from a Watcher’s tail won’t knock you out, as Sony are less radical than Palmer Lucky in design sense. But feeling the wind in the air after a close encounter with a Stormbird or the vibrations through my hands and head when a Tallneck passes nearby greatly enhances immersion, and I actually think haptic feedback and adaptive triggers have greater potential in VR than in traditional gaming. For example, I’m excited to have my own Jurassic Park moment the first time a Thunderjaw approaches. As always, these features run the risk of becoming less noticeable as time goes on or even neglected by developers, but right now I’m curious to see how upcoming games implement the features.
The thread is not really a problem
When PS VR2 was announced, the biggest criticism was the single wire connecting it to the PS5. Personally, it didn’t worry me too much, and during my time with the headset, the appropriately long cable wasn’t a hassle. Would it have been even nicer if the PS VR2 had been wireless? Probably. But it’s a trade-off I can understand if it means higher resolution and lower latency. Although, I’m the type who likes wired earphones, so take that as you will.
As mentioned in the introduction, this is all based on just an hour with the headset, but it looks good and I look forward to getting more in-depth with Sony’s new accessory when it launches on Feb. 22.