After a long line of rumors and anticipation from fans, Sony has finally announced the PSVR 2 during its company presentation at CES 2022. A next-generation VR headset designed for the PS5 from the ground up, the PSVR 2 will be a successor to the massively popular PSVR. The specs are really impressive for a console headset, rivaling even the best alternatives present in the market.
With Sony’s top talent like Guerilla Games working on games from popular PlayStation franchises like Horizon for the platform, Sony seems set to dominate this relatively nascent market. That said, the Japanese giant will have to tread very carefully in terms of pricing the upcoming VR hardware.
The Ambitious Setup For The PSVR 2
The PSVR was a great initiative on Sony’s part to bring the technology to consoles, although it was clear from the onset that corners had to be cut to get the price right for the system. There isn’t any in-headset tracking on the PSVR, which is done through the use of an external PS Camera. This, in turn, limits player movement, and given the nature of the PS Camera — it’s entirely possible that some movements may not be registered. Furthermore, the per-eye resolution of the system proved to be blurry for some fans, which hindered the appeal of the system to some degree.
Sony has rectified the criticisms aimed at PSVR and then did some work to give players a better experience from the get-go. The PSVR2 has four cameras in the headset, allowing for more precise tracking of player movement and controllers. The resolution has been bumped to almost four times the original, which should offer crisper visuals. Add in the new and robust haptic feedback pipeline of the controllers and headset, as well as the single-cord setup, the PSVR 2 is looking to be another ambitious device from Sony that’s going toe-to-toe with the most popular headsets around.
Why Price Is The Most Important Factor For PSVR 2
Sony hasn’t unveiled the pricing of the PSVR 2 just yet, but undoubtedly that’s the biggest question. VR technology was always, and still is to some degree, an expensive affair only affordable to some. Thus, when Sony announced the lucrative pricing for the original PSVR, it became the pivotal factor in cementing the Japanese giant’s position in the market. PSVR’s success lies in its accessibility, not the technology powering it — and as a result, the headset has had impressive sales of five million.
Sony has made the right improvements, but it will need to keep accessibility at the forefront of PSVR's design to capture the same fandom. Unlike the time of PSVR’s release, the VR market has no shortage of accessible headsets — with the Meta Quest 2 being a great example. Plus, with games like Half-Life: Alyx and Resident Evil 4 VR being available to play on the PC platform, fans don’t necessarily need to own a PlayStation 5 and PSVR 2 to enjoy high-quality VR games.
Another factor worth noting is that Sony is once again, relying on a lot of first-party studios to create compelling games for PSVR 2. Guerilla Games and Firesprite Games have announced Horizon: Call of the Mountain, which will supposedly change what AAA VR development means going forward. Sony London is also most likely hard at work on a VR game for the new headset. All in all, Sony is putting a lot of bets on the headset being popular among fans, which again - boils down to the cost.
Given how its immediate competition Meta Quest 2 starts at $299, it would probably be in Sony’s best interest to try as much as possible to stick to this number. The hardware is pretty similar to the Quest 2, and as such, there’s a good chance that the pricing will end up somewhere close to that mark as well. Anything above $400 might be a tough sell since the console itself starts at that price point. The stage is set for Sony to dominate once again, and it would be really great to see Sony nailing its pricing once again.
The PSVR2 is expected to release in 2022 for PS5.
With so many other high powered headsets on the virtual reality market now, is Sony's PSVR really worth the investment?