Sony needs to focus on PSVR 2 over the PS5 Pro
Sony's virtual reality headset for PS5 is in desperate need of some care and attention
The possibility of a PS5 Pro releasing next year is becoming more likely with each new leak and rumor. However, before Sony introduces another new piece of hardware for gamers to spend their money on, it needs to focus on its floundering virtual reality headset, the PSVR 2.
I'd wager there aren't many satisfied PlayStation VR 2 customers right now. Not because of the headset itself – which can often provide a fantastic experience – but the absence of first-party software that continues to make the PSVR 2 feel like a raw deal.
The Shortcut is an ad-free, reader-supported publication. To receive exclusive content and our weekly newsletter, please consider becoming a free or paid subscriber to support our work. ❤️
At $549, which is more expensive than the PS5 Slim, it would be difficult to convince many that the PSVR 2 has been worth the investment. What was once promised as an exciting step into the future has since fallen flat and it appears that Sony has already lost interest in its new toy.
The PSVR 2 has also started to miss out on notable VR games like Assassin's Creed Nexus and PowerWash Simulator. To make matters worse, a quick glance at the PSVR 2 games available shows an over reliance on old Meta Quest 2 ports and an increasing amount of shovelware.
Help a headset out
The PSVR 2 feels like a missed opportunity, then. While the PS5 Pro would be welcome by some, the main criticism I’ve seen directed at the PS5 this generation – and one that I wholeheartedly share – isn't that it's underpowered. Instead, people are more upset that many titles have felt iterative, more of the same, and failed to deliver anything truly groundbreaking.
Sony has only added to that growing sentiment, releasing safe sequels, unnecessary remasters, and questionable remakes instead of providing fans with something genuinely new.
It's as if the company has become paralyzed by its own success, unwilling to take any risks in case it doesn't receive universal praise from critics that are accustomed to the quality Sony has been churning out since the PS4 generation.
Don't get me wrong – there's a time and place for these titles and Sony has obviously found a winning formula. It's also great to see a healthy selection of PS5 games that can run at 120fps and have ray tracing support.
But where is the creativity? Where are the surprises?
A whole new world
It’s this malaise that initially made people so excited about the possibilities of PSVR 2 when it was announced. Not only did it promise to let us experience games in a whole new way, but virtual reality still holds untapped potential.
Valve's Half-Life: Alyx is a game that demonstrated the power of VR with aplomb, so it's frustrating that Sony isn't committing the resources needed to create its own remarkable, must-play titles for PSVR 2.
Perhaps that's a consequence of Sony's over reliance on its tried-and-tested formula. You can throw a blanket over the types of games PlayStation Studios creates: third-person, narrative-driven action games. Adapting those for VR is a challenging affair.
That doesn't mean that unique and noteworthy experiences couldn't be created. Imagine trying to escape a room full of Clickers in a Last of Us VR game? Or accompanying Kratos, the God of War himself, on a hunt through the forests of Midgard? I’d love to be shouted at by Kratos for failing to hit a deer with my arrow.
Even if these games were small but reasonably priced, they would still provide a compelling reason to try out Sony's PS5 headset or even dust it off again if you haven't used it since launch (guilty as charged).
It’s time to act
What's more, due to the growing competition in the VR industry and the upcoming launch of Apple's Vision Pro early next year, Sony needs to create as many exclusive titles for the PSVR 2 as possible. It needs something that separates it from the competition.
A price reduction and a consistent offering of free games through PlayStation Plus would greatly boost the success of PlayStation VR2, as would adding the ability to play 3D movies. But as it stands the PSVR 2 is on the verge of becoming obscure, despite only being on sale for 10 months.
One thing that’s worth mentioning is that the PSVR 2’s performance will likely improve when used with PS5 Pro – something we saw with the original PlayStation VR and PS4 Pro.
But if there are no must-have games to play, what's the point? I doubt anyone would buy a PS5 Pro just for PSVR 2 when it’s already struggling.
Sony needs to give the PSVR 2 a little TLC, then. Otherwise, it could go end up the same way as the PS Vita, PSP Go, PlayStation Move, PS5 HD Camera and PlayStation TV did. Dead and buried.