PSVR 2 won’t outperform Quest 2, and that’s okay

If you were to ask me which new VR headset I was most looking forward to in 2022, the answer would easily be Sony’s PSVR 2.

It won’t be the obvious answer for everyone. Along with the continued success of the Quest 2, Meta is launching a high-end standalone codename, Project Cambria, which promises to increase the fidelity of standalone VR and add flashy new features at a premium price tag. Apple, meanwhile, could take its first steps on the VR / AR hardware scene. The two tech giants are vying for a stake in the long-term future of space computing, and the so-called metaverse is sure to be the dominant VR narrative in 2022 (as detailed in Ian’s preview of the beginning of this week).

By comparison, PSVR 2’s seemingly singular focus (at this point) on delivering high-fidelity gaming experiences for the installed base of PS5 users may seem a bit narrow-minded. We also did a lot of this wire, which will attach the headset to your PS5. No one seems to fully agree on the importance of its presence, but the reality is that the PSVR 2 will come out in the face of wireless headsets that are increasingly used for fitness, socializing and productivity alongside the entertainment. Quest 2 is already starting to reach a wider audience beyond gaming, while PSVR 2 will make the mainstream PlayStation audience its top priority.

And it’s true that PSVR 2 also reintroduces many of those older Quest 2 hardware reservations and its defeated predecessor. In addition to the wire, it will need the already expensive PS5 ($ 399 / $ 499 depending on the model) to run. At the end of a holiday season in which the Oculus companion app rose to the top of the app store charts and developers reported record sales, it’s hard to imagine the PSVR 2 system. with the PS5 required to propel it really hard to Quest 2.

But you know what? It is more than good. PSVR 2 doesn’t have to beat Quest 2 to be considered a success. And, while its hardware carries inevitable weight, the helmet’s mission statement is vitally more immediate than any other helmet on the market today.

Managed expectations and hybrid play

Speaking to GQ, Sony Interactive Entertainment boss Jim Ryan offered a key insight into the company’s mindset for PSVR 2 when the headset was first announced last year. If you read UploadVR regularly, you’ve probably heard me say it once or twice:

“We believe in virtual reality and have been extremely happy with the results of the current PlayStation VR and believe we will do good business with our new virtual reality system for PlayStation 5. More importantly, we see it as something- beyond this next iteration which could really be really big and really important.

“A good deal”, to me, is a crucial understanding of the PSVR 2’s position in the market, as a peripheral of another device and therefore already limited on the number of units it can sell. PlayStation has a long history of selling peripherals and already has experience selling VR. These are big numbers in the context of the nascent VR market, but a fraction of the audience Sony is reaching with its larger platform.

And above all, it’s important that Sony understands this. This means the company has its expectations under control as it heads towards launch, and we’re less likely to see it ditch the device during its lifetime. What was not it’s likely that several AAA, VR-only games were released a year on the scale of God of War: Ragnarok or Spider-Man 2. But Sony seems to be settling on a best of both worlds approach; We’ve seen reports that the company is looking for hybrid VR experiences for its platform alongside state-of-the-art VR exclusives. It’s hard to justify spending tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in VR development budgets when the install base isn’t there to recoup those costs. Logically, it’s a much smarter idea to supplement a handful of these efforts – alongside cross-platform VR games that will make most of their money on Quest – with existing, high-quality flat-panel games that won’t have no need to rewrite the first page to achieve in VR and will not depend solely on VR sales to be successful.

This was not easy to do on PS4, where the limited power of the console made it difficult to reproduce the flat screen experience in the headset. The games that do doing that makes notable concessions. Hitman 3 has massively reduced the size of its crowds, for example, and No Man’s Sky is somewhat fuzzy. But with the power of the PS5 – not to mention the focus rendering via eye tracking – it’s a much more viable prospect for PSVR 2. Granted, these aren’t perhaps the most powerful expressions of VR, but like Resident Evil 4 VR has already proven this by becoming Quest’s best-selling app to date, it’s an easy way to generate hype and sales while others prove native VR mechanics.

The second part of Ryan’s commentary also suggests that Sony knows what it will really take to really bring VR to the mainstream, and that these plans for a possible future device are also in the works. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the new VR headset that the larger Sony Corp is hiring for is a standalone device that somehow ties into the PlayStation brand, but also establishes its own identity as Brand. It’s probably a distant prospect right now, however.

Attached to a console, but not to Meta

In the meantime, what PSVR 2 can is to wave the flag for premium virtual reality experiences as future formats continue to prove their worth. It promises to provide a destination for gamers who want higher loyalty than Quest offered, and to feature titles from beloved developers and franchises. More than anything, the PSVR 2 will be, for me, an instant gratification device. It might be wired, but the actual prospect of the PSVR 2 is distinctly – and in many ways refreshing – simpler than others aspire to. It’s a device far removed (but not necessarily free) from the courtroom dramas and privacy concerns that Meta and others have already brought to VR. There’s nothing to worry about Facebook account connectivity, and even with that requirement as Quest approaches, it’s a much bigger deal to some than this thread. And, most importantly, no PlayStation executive has used the word “metaverse” yet, although I admit it’s still in its infancy.

And, while Meta continues to reduce the visual fidelity of its own VR titles and offers compelling but unmistakably experimental excursions like manual tracking and mixed reality (features that may solidify its long-term dominance in the future of VR) PSVR 2 promises to do compelling VR basics very well. We’ve already had a glimpse of a Horizon game that feels like a generational leap from what was possible with PSVR 1, and the increased power of the PS5 will make such experiences possible without the stress of fine-tuning the settings of the game. PC and prioritize GPU performance. . And I can only imagine how much better controlled these experiments will also be by swapping out the old fossils that are the Move controllers for the hugely exciting PSVR 2 Sense devices.

Sony’s mission here is simple: to provide powerful immersion to an enthusiastic gaming audience. In an age where PC VR lacks clear direction and standalone VR can’t measure up visually, this is a compelling message.

So, while the Metaverse is being built and Apple battles Meta, I’ll be at Horizon (Sony’s, not Meta’s) enjoying the most beautiful, immersive VR we’ve ever had. view. The PSVR 2 might not be the headset that will lead the industry into the future, but it’s going to keep me busy until we get there.

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