Is PSVR 2 backward compatible with PSVR games?
PSVR 2 has a lot going for it, but don't expect it to meet all your needs
Sony’s next-gen VR headset released alongside a mammoth supply of PSVR 2 games and an impressively large launch lineup. There are plenty of titles to dig into, even if most of them are available on other systems like the Meta Quest 2. But is PSVR 2 backward compatible with PSVR games?
The original PlayStation VR headset has a few gems in its catalog. Astrobot Rescue Mission is a platforming joy, Superhot VR lets you live out your action hero dreams in an abstract shooter, and Resident Evil 7 is scarier than most dare imagine. While the PSVR didn’t gain as strong a foothold in the virtual reality market as perhaps Sony had hoped, it certainly showed the tech had a bright future in gaming.
So, does Sony’s latest headset let you return to those VR greats from a generation gone by, and is PVSR2 worth it for those who want to bring forward their older library?
In a word: no. PSVR 2 is not backward compatible. Games and apps released for the original PSVR cannot be played on the PSVR 2.
It’s disappointing news from our perspective as players, as well as for the future of gaming preservation. In the absence of backward compatibility, the entire PSVR library risks slipping into obscurity. If you own an original PSVR, it’s worth keeping around, just in case you ever want to dust off something from its catalog.
Similarly, the headset isn’t backward compatible on a hardware level either. PSVR 2 doesn’t work on PS4 and won’t play nice with PC. Disappointing stuff for anyone who doesn’t own a PS5.
There is, thankfully, a bit of good news. Several of the PSVR’s best games have been updated to work for PSVR 2. Moss, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinner, and Pistol Whip, for example, are already available on the next-gen headset, and other titles like No Man’s Sky will be coming in the future. You might have to wait around for a while as more developers port over their games, but we can expect a few more PSVR heavyweights to make their way to PSVR 2.
If you just can’t wait that long, or want immediate access to a huge gaming library, consider whether the device is right for you. You might be better off weighing up the PSVR 2 vs Meta Quest 2 and opting for Meta’s flagship VR system instead, especially if you’ve been asking ‘is PSVR 2 wireless?’. Every game and app listed on the Meta Quest store is compatible with the Quest 2, including those that were released for the Oculus Quest way back when.
Although Meta doesn’t have the PlayStation brand or its many licenses at its disposal, it has a few big hitters of its own. The much-lauded Beat Saber, for instance, was purchased by Meta in 2019, so you can be sure it’ll appear along with any sequels on the upcoming Meta Quest 3.
Why isn’t PSVR 2 backward compatible?
Notionally, the device is just too cutting-edge to support slightly less trail-blazing games of the past.
Speaking during an episode of the Official PlayStation Podcast, the company’s SVP of platform experience, Hideaki Nishino, said PSVR games aren’t “compatible with PSVR 2 because PSVR 2 is designed to deliver a truly next-generation VR experience.
“PSVR 2 has much more advanced features like all new controllers with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers and inside-out tracking, eye tracking in the headset, and 3D audio all coming together, of course. This means developing PSVR 2 requires a whole different approach from the original PSVR.”
The PSVR 2 specs are certainly impressive, although the cynic in us wonders if money might be the real driver. Sony has a tendency to cut off its latest gaming hardware from past generations (I’m looking at you PS3 and PS4) and only relaxed that policy somewhat with the PS5. It’s a handy way of driving sales for the latest games on the newest platforms, preventing players from relying on their past gaming libraries by encouraging them to create a new catalog from scratch, spending lots of dosh on the way.
There are other limitations with Sony’s new headset to consider too, of course. If you’re still asking yourself ‘does PSVR 2 make you feel sick?’ or ‘can children play PSVR 2?’, you should clear up those quandaries before pulling the purchasing trigger.
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Updated: March 16, 2023