Will PSVR 2 be backwards compatible? It better be…

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While we still have yet to see the PlayStation VR 2 headset, aka PSVR 2, in the flesh, this week Sony confirmed key specs for its PS5 virtual reality device at CES 2022. But one key feature of the PS5 add-on was notable for its absence: There was no mention of backwards compatibility with the original PSVR titles.

Sony instead focused on the headset’s new features – its 4K HDR OLED display, 110-degree field of view, 90Hz/120Hz refresh rate, and “new sensory features” including haptic feedback in VR devices.


When pressed for clarification on the PSVR 2’s backwards compatibility status by game journalist Stephen Totilo, Sony’s public relations representative simply stated that “They have nothing more to announce at this time.”

But with backwards compatibility such an easy PR win for the upcoming headset, you’d be forgiven for worrying about the logic of not discussing it as early in the headset’s hype cycle as possible.

This is unusual considering the fanfare and grateful reception Sony received from players when it confirmed that the PS5 would be backwards compatible with 99.9% of PS4 titles. You’d imagine that Sony, as a result, would be equally excited about confirming backwards compatibility support for the PSVR 2 as soon as possible, which points to a worrying conclusion that the PSVR 2 isn’t backwards compatible at all. Is.

Making PSVR 2 Backwards Compatibility

There are, of course, several important differences that would need to be considered for backwards compatibility to be possible.

First, Sony will need to decide how to scale low-resolution games to higher-end new display units. On top of that, the tracking system used by the original PSVR used an external camera and on-headset lighting to help track the player’s movements, while the PSVR 2 uses internal tracking – something that new headsets require. But more development work will be needed to be compatible. ,

And finally, the new Sense controller wand-like PS Move controllers rely on the PSVR1, not to mention differences between the DualShock 4 and the DualSense Pad, which are quite different.

These aren’t insurmountable differences, but it certainly doesn’t look like the two systems and legacy software will be compatible right out of the box. Investment in forward development patches certainly seems necessary if backwards compatibility is possible at all, but how many developers will or will be encouraged to make that investment is uncertain.

Even PSVR-compatible games that have already received PS5 upgrades, such as Hitman 3 and No Man’s Sky, have seen their PS5 versions of Game Drop support for the original PSVR.

Instead players must download the PS4 versions of the game to their new console in order to use the PSVR functionality. Whether or not it will feature a PS5/PSVR 2 version later down the line remains to be seen, but Sony’s cross-generational approach to VR is already causing headaches. Indeed, in order to use the original headset on new generation console hardware, a player must first order a PSVR adapter for the new machine, as it does not natively support VR devices through its onboard ports. Is. Some PSVR titles, such as Robinson: The Journey, are not compatible with the PS5 in any way.

heritage library

When it comes to hardware changes for other virtual reality software libraries, the transition has been less painful. Mostly it’s down to the fact that, like an all-in-one headset like the Oculus Quest 2, most virtual reality play happens on PC.

Here, for the most part, game libraries can be moved from one headset to another with relative ease, with major platforms like Steam VR and Oculus VR supported by a large number of headsets. In cases where compatibility between a PC VR headset and title is not available, a hardcore modding community is often able to find workarounds or improvements to make most software compatible with most PC VR hardware.

But in the case of PSVR, it’s very much part of Sony’s walled eco-system. Your PSVR library can’t be spelled out on a PC — although there are certainly many multi-platform VR titles, owning them for PSVR and PC will require a separate purchase. And in the case of top drawer PSVR exclusives like Astro Bot: Rescue Mission, Farpoint or Blood and Truth, these titles aren’t (currently) available anywhere else.

Will Sony patch these games for PS5 and PSVR 2? It’s possible, but Sony’s hit-and-miss approach to next-generation upgrades from PS4 to PS5 software could mean giving loyal PSVR fans a stipend for access to any potential upgrades still to come. may fall.

As it stands, the original PSVR owners, whose investments made this PSVR 2 device possible, will be left holding onto PS4 consoles and older PSVR hardware to run their existing VR catalogue. Sony would do well to reassure its most ardent VR fans that this won’t happen, or run the risk of alienating those most likely to dive into the next generation of VR hardware.

  • PSVR 2: Everything you need to know

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