Is PSVR 2 backward compatible with PlayStation VR games?
Sony's PSVR 2 headset for PS5 has a lot going for it, but don't expect it to meet all your needs
Sony’s PS5 VR headset was released alongside a mammoth supply of PSVR 2 games and an impressively large launch line-up in February this year. And even though there are plenty of titles to dig into, you might be wondering whether PSVR is backward compatible with PlayStation VR games.
The original PlayStation VR headset has a few gems in its catalog, and you might have amassed a large library of games over the years. 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 all the scarier when you’re eye to eye with the Baker family thanks to PSVR.
While the original 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. But 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 old library?
In a word: no. PSVR 2 is not backward compatible with PlayStation VR games. That means games and apps released for the original PSVR cannot be played on the PlayStation VR2, which is obviously a shame.
It’s disappointing news for players who may have heavily invested in Sony’s first foray into VR, 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. But remember you’ll need to request an adapter from Sony if you want to use your PlayStation VR on 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, Pistol Whip, and No Man’s Sky, for example, are all available on the next-gen headset. 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, too.
If you want immediate access to a huge VR gaming library, consider whether the headset 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 first-party franchises 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 Meta Quest 3.
Why isn’t PSVR 2 backward compatible?
Notionally, the device is just too cutting-edge to support Sony’s 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 PS4 and PS3) and only relaxed that policy somewhat with the PS5. It’s a convenient way of driving sales to the latest games on the newest platforms, preventing players from relying on their past gaming libraries by encouraging them to build up new catalogs 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.
Updated: September 25, 2023