Is PSVR 2 already dead? Two months later with Sony's PS5 headset
Sony's PS5 VR headset isn't off to the best start, and it's difficult to see how things will improve
PlayStation VR2, Sony’s PS5 virtual reality headset, has now reached its two-month anniversary. But instead of feeling optimistic about a product that’s still in its infancy and has – admittedly – huge potential, I can’t help but wonder: is PSVR 2 already dead?
That might seem like a knee-jerk reaction at this early stage – hyperbolic, even. But I’ve barely touched my PSVR 2 since the launch period passed and the launch day buzz that was present online has all but disappeared.
As it stands, my PSVR 2 is tucked away in its box, waiting for the next title to come along that convinces me it’s worth the hassle of setting up and potentially making me feel nauseous.
However, I’m not sure whether that day will actually come.
Half-Life: Alyx is still widely regarded as the gold standard for VR games, but there’s no guarantee or even the faintest suggestion that it’ll come to PSVR 2. And even if it did, PlayStation VR2 needs more than a handful of games to justify its existence, especially when it costs $549.
Despite being a newbie to VR, the novelty of playing PSVR 2 games wore off pretty quickly for me. Even games like Resident Evil Village and Gran Turismo 7 weren’t as compelling as I thought they’d be due to the limitations of Sony’s headset and some of the natural quirks you get with VR in general.
Gran Turismo 7 is one of the best PS5 games out there, and I’ve sunk hundreds of hours into it. And as much as I first enjoyed the feeling of playing GT7 in VR, I soon found that I’d much rather experience it in razor-sharp 4K at 120fps instead of the fuzzy resolution and blurry motion clarity PSVR 2 provides.
I’ve also pointed out how PSVR 2 can make you feel sick and how VR in general still has several barriers to entry. Not everyone enjoys being shut off from their surroundings, and the PSVR 2 isn’t wireless which may feel restrictive to those who are used to using headsets like the Meta Quest 2.
I personally struggle with the PlayStation VR2’s finicky sweet spot the most and find it hard to see past the headset’s distracting mura effect. Yes, it’s comfortable and arguably a fair price for what you get. But if anything, PSVR 2 just makes me want to try out more capable VR headsets that are less restrictive. You can’t even watch 3D movies on PSVR 2, for example.
Some players will be able to look past these issues, particularly those who have seen how VR has improved over the years. But the majority of PSVR 2 owners are likely new to virtual reality. These types of frustrations only add up over time and may put people off entirely once they’ve overcome the initial wow factor that VR games can provide.
It’s clear that I’m not the only one who isn’t sold on PSVR 2, either. The PS5 headset hasn’t generated the sort of demand Sony expected, and reports ahead of PSVR 2’s launch suggested Sony had slashed its initial sales forecast, something which it later denied.
However, it may as well have, as PSVR 2 is off to a slow start. Sony has apparently only sold around 270,000 PSVR 2 units, a far cry from the two million units it hoped to shift. But is anyone really surprised?
The PSVR 2 price is $549, which is more than the PS5 console itself. It doesn’t come with any games, and VR is still a niche product that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. Throw in a cost of living crisis and the PSVR 2 seems like the very definition of a luxury purchase. You don’t need it, and in my opinion, there isn’t any compelling reason why you would rush out to buy it right now. You can read more on that in my ‘Is PSVR 2 worth it?’ article.
Fix up, look sharp
So what can Sony do to make the PSVR 2 more appealing? Well, first and foremost it needs more games – that much is obvious. However, I think Sony could do more than that. It should start including PlayStation VR2 games in PS Plus Premium, Extra and Essential, as this will naturally encourage more people to dust off their headsets and try out the latest freebie.
A price cut should also be a priority. According to market research firm IDC’s data and analytics VP Francisco Jeronimo, a price cut will be crucial to the headset’s success.
“I suspect a price cut on the PSVR 2 will be needed to avoid a complete disaster of their new product,” Jeronimo told Bloomberg. “Consumers around the world are facing rising costs of living, rising interest rates and increasing layoffs. VR headsets are not top of mind for most consumers under the current economic climate.”
With Apple’s VR/AR headset tipped to be announced at WWDC and the Meta Quest 3 due this year, PSVR 2 could suddenly find itself as just another footnote in VR’s constant evolution.
The Shortcut is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.