- PSVR2 provides a better user experience than its predecessor by implementing new rendering and eye-tracking technology, better display and haptic feedback in the headset.
- Factors limiting take-up could be superior competitive offerings, pricing, lack of PC compatibility and a wired-only option significantly impacting experience in popular game segments like fitness.
- Any inability to address these factors could lead to a comparatively limited game portfolio, which would impact the platform’s long-term growth potential.
Sony’s new PlayStation VR2 (PSVR2) is a tethered VR headset designed for its PlayStation 5 (PS5) gaming console. The headset aims to provide immersive and realistic VR gaming experiences on the PS5. It has a single cable connection to the console and a built-in camera for tracking. It also comes with two sense controllers that have adaptive triggers and haptic feedback. The PSVR2 has an OLED display with a resolution of 2000×2040 per eye, refresh rate of up to 120Hz and a field of view of 110 degrees.
PSVR2’s features and advantages: Enhanced VR gaming experience
- The PSVR2 incorporates foveated rendering, which leverages eye-tracking to render only those areas of the screen that the user is directly looking at, resulting in less detailed peripheral vision. This approach can significantly enhance performance, reduce computing power usage from the SoC, and decrease system costs. As a result, this technology is expected to become a standard feature in future VR headsets.
- The PSVR2 delivers an even more engaging and true-to-life gaming experience compared to its predecessor. This is made possible by its advanced OLED display that boasts a higher resolution and wider field of view (FOV), along with a faster refresh rate that minimizes motion sickness and blur.
- The PSVR2’s built-in cameras eliminate the hassle of external sensors and cables. Furthermore, the controllers of the PSVR2 come equipped with haptic feedback and vibration that realistically simulate tactile sensations.
- The PSVR2 still employs a wired connection, but the cable has been designed to help reduce the weight of the headset and improve comfort during use. This approach can also bring cost savings and enable the PS5 chip to be fully utilized, unlike most all-in-one VR headsets that may have to sacrifice image quality to prevent overheating and reduce power consumption.
PSVR2 falls behind next-gen VR headsets in key areas
- The PSVR2 may not be able to compete with the performance and features of next-generation VR headsets, which offer higher resolution, wider field of view, eye-tracking and wireless streaming.
- The PSVR2 is equipped with an OLED display paired with Fresnel lenses, which can cause various discomforts such as smaller sweet spots (aka eye box) and “god rays”. The sweet spots in a VR headset are the ideal position to get the best visual quality by keeping the eyes directly behind the center of the lenses.
- The PSVR2’s OLED display is not immune to the Mura effect, which is a common issue in OLED displays but could be fixed by calibration and compensation techniques. The Mura effect causes irregularities in brightness and color across the screen, resulting in an uneven appearance, particularly in darker scenes.
- In contrast to the Quest Pro or Pico4, which have integrated color cameras to enable the color video see-through (VST) functionality, the PSVR2’s black-and-white VST is limited to the use for safety, preventing its application in other areas, such as MR applications, with greater potential for interaction within the surrounding physical environment. This limitation may impact the system’s ability to offer more immersive experiences.
A pricey VR experience with limited game library and compatibility
- The PSVR2 may not have enough original or exclusive games to justify its price and investment, especially for gamers who are looking for a diverse and immersive VR experience.
- The PSVR2 is not backward compatible with PSVR games, meaning that it cannot play the existing library of VR games for the PlayStation 4. However, some PSVR games will receive PSVR2 ports or free upgrades.
- The PSVR2 comes with a hefty price tag of $549, which may discourage some prospective buyers who have already paid $499 for the PS5 console. Besides, the PSVR2 requires a PS5 console to function, which restricts its compatibility and availability compared to standalone or PC-based VR headsets.
- The PSVR2 presents exceptional and thrilling possibilities for VR gaming enthusiasts. With its exclusive games like Horizon: Call of the Mountain, Resident Evil 8 and Gran Turismo 712, the PSVR2 showcases its abilities and appeals to PlayStation fans. In addition, the PSVR2 boasts innovative features such as haptic feedback, adaptive triggers and headset rumble, which greatly enhances the immersion and interactivity of VR gaming.
- SONY’s decision to only allow the PSVR2 to connect with the PS5 has indirectly reduced the potential for the headset’s sales. Besides, the PSVR2 is unable to access other VR resources, such as VR movies or the vast library of games available on Steam, via a PC or other consoles.
The PSVR2 attempts to strike a delicate balance between cost-effectiveness and exceptional performance, boasting advanced features like foveated rendering and haptic feedback, as well as a higher resolution OLED display and wider field of view. It does encounter challenges and limitations, such as its steep price point and inability to run PC VR games and applications. The headset may also signal the end of an era for staunch supporters of tethered VR headsets. Ultimately, while the PSVR2 is able to extend the lifespan of VR on the PlayStation console, it falls short of branching out into new markets or unlocking the potential for additional VR applications in the future.
For more information, please refer to our forthcoming evaluation report on the PSVR2.