Sony has confirmed that the upcoming PlayStation VR 2 will not be backwards compatible with existing games across the medium. This means that, at least out of the box, none of the games available for the predecessor will work with the headset. Not just a case of incompatibility or any weird stuff due to the different technology, none of this will work at all. All those games that you bought and invested time in now expire.
On the surface, that really sucks and is a massive oversight for an area in games that’s still hard for casual viewers to accept. PlayStation VR was a huge success and was clearly responsible for so many jumping into this environment for the first time. I threw my parents into Job Simulator and Superhot before watching their little heads get blown off by too much this innovative new frontier is capable of. Up until the release of Oculus Quest 2, this was as good as virtual reality, and now all that hard work has been ripped away. But the logical part of me understands why and knows this step is for the best.
PlayStation VR was a bit of a nightmare. It was a mess of thick cables, an external power supply, and clearly strung together with outdated technology that wasn’t ready. Sony even used Move controllers that weren’t relevant since 2009 and didn’t try to update them or create anything worthy to keep up with its competitors. Now we’re seeing that progress come about and it looks incredible, but the price of progress leaves what came before. I bought many PSVR games, maybe too many, and considered myself an avid supporter of the hardware because I knew what it was capable of. Games like Moss, Astro Bot, Blood and Truth, and dozens of patches for existing games showed that this console headset was not only easy to use, but also outperformed its PC counterparts.
You couldn’t mod the thing and you had to deal with a pretty modest graphics standard, but knowing it was running on a underperforming console and still doing so much was amazing. Its successor plans to build on that legacy and is a whole different beast from a technological standpoint. It uses inside-out tracking, eliminating the need for a camera, while its expanded field of view and rendering techniques mean its images are not only sharper than ever, but also ensure our eyes open at the right time focus on the right things .
The frame rate is higher, the resolution improved, and the controllers themselves are designed to take advantage of tailored feedback and specific features that the previous headset simply wasn’t capable of. It supports 4K and HDR to boot, so I’m already tearing up at how much this thing is going to cost. Sony has updated so much that it’s possible the platform is no longer backwards compatible or the technology used in this new iteration doesn’t work well with games developed within such strict confines. It still sucks, and I definitely assumed its presence would be a given, but I’d much rather make PC-quality VR experiences possible out of the box than let this new headset be held hostage by what came before is held. Leave it behind if it improves the bottom line.
I want a VR headset for the console that can play games like Half-Life Alyx, No Man’s Sky, Tetris Effect, Beat Saber, Moss, The Walking Dead and countless others without being rendered like a 360p YouTube video . On PlayStation VR, it always felt like I could have done better had I had more money or the patience to tolerate a PC setup, and it feels like PSVR2 is bridging that gap and showing console owners want what they lacked. If it is necessary to abandon a back catalog that has had to strictly adhere to these restrictions in order to move forward, I can’t help but see it as the right move. Of course I wish there was a workaround or a way to enable the best case scenario, but if there isn’t one I’m still on board.
Next: Review of all the games I got with my first PS3 in 2008