Why it matters: Sony's upcoming PSVR 2 has been widely hyped and drawn excitement from many tech enthusiasts, promising outstanding features and specs on the headset, controllers, and even games. Unfortunately, Sony has announced that titles released for the first PSVR headset will not work "natively" with the PSVR 2.
In 2016, Sony released its first entry into the VR world with the PSVR, hoping to capture the same interest and excitement that competitors such as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive had managed to find. Sony came in and undercut the competition in terms of price, releasing the PSVR at $399, compared to the $599 and $799 of the Rift and Vive, respectively. Of course, PSVR required a PS4, which drove the price up to near-Vive levels if you didn't have one at the time.
Sony's PSVR was a relative success, with the headset reaching approximately 5 million sales as of 2022, according to Sony. In 2016, VR was still a very "niche" hobby for multiple reasons. Nowadays, VR has now seemingly taken a spot in the mainstream market.
Competitors such as Meta's Quest 2 have seen amazing success, with Meta claiming 15 million sales. Sony certainly wants to capitalize on this "VR boom," officially announcing PSVR 2 at CES 2022. The specs are a major improvement compared to PSVR 1, to say the least.
When the PSVR 2 releases in early 2023, early adopters may struggle to find games to play that can take full advantage of the PSVR 2's specs. You'd think players would be able to load up some of their favorite games from the PSVR library. Imagine playing Beat Saber at the resolutions PSVR 2 can output, or living your dream of being a chef in Job Simulator, or any of the 600+ PSVR games.
Unfortunately, Sony has confirmed that PSVR 1 games will not work "natively" on PSVR 2. In an interview on the PlayStation Podcast, Hideaki Nishino, the SVP of Platform Experience for PSVR 2, states that numerous features on the headset cause it to be incompatible with PSVR 1 games. These features include the haptics and adaptive triggers, the headset and controller tracking, 3D audio, and 4K HDR resolutions.
It is worth noting that developers can update their PSVR 1 games to work with PSVR 2 if they wish to do so. It seems rather odd that this is an issue, but unfortunately, it's something PSVR 2 users will have to deal with. While it is nice that developers can update their games to work on PSVR 2, it is highly unlikely that every single PSVR 1 game will receive this "next-gen update."
Hopefully, Sony is able to allow developers to have a smooth and simple process to port their games over to the next-gen hardware. That way, early adopters of PSVR 2 can have loads of games to choose from.