PSVR 2 is just not a standalone headset just like the Oculus Quest 2 — and that is an issue
At CES 2022, Sony announced an update to its previous generation headsets with the PlayStation VR 2 or PSVR 2.
There is a lot to expect when it comes to VR on PS5. With PSVR 2, PlayStation players across the board should expect massive spec bumps. From OLED screens with a resolution of 2000 x 2040 to integrated cameras, PSVR 2 is a welcome upgrade. Additionally, Sony claims eye tracking with foveated rendering, HDR, built-in headset rumble, and an expanded field of view.
But the VR landscape has changed a lot since Sony entered the VR market with its first PSVR in 2016. VR has become more and more mainstream thanks to the ease of use and affordability of the Oculus Quest 2, now called Meta Quest 2, Quest 2 was such a game changer that competing headsets like the Valve Index and the HTC Vive Pro 2 once led the way Industry, have largely been pushed aside. Both were removed a few items from our list of the best VR headsets. In fact, the Quest 2 holds our # 1 spot and has been for some time.
But really, Quest 2’s killer feature is its ability to be a completely standalone device and not need a cable to an expensive gaming PC or a hard-to-find PS5. That, as well as the starting price of $ 200, makes it a compelling experience that most consumers have opted for over the more expensive PC-bound options. Plus, new leaks suggest that Meta will be launching an Oculus Quest Pro and an Oculus Quest 3 in a few months. And given these dramatic changes in VR, it’s amazing that Sony is going for a single-cable system with PSVR 2.
According to Sony’s press conference earlier this week, PSVR 2 will use a single-cable tether to connect to a PS5 system. That doesn’t seem intuitive given the changes Meta brought in with Quest 2.
We don’t just mean that games can run on the headset itself, regardless of the console or PC. Meta introduced a feature called Air Link last year that allows the Quest 2 to connect to a PC via Wi-Fi. So while gamers can choose to play the excellent Resident Evil 4 VR on the Quest headset alone, they can also play more challenging titles like Lone Echo (which requires a gaming PC) without physically at their PC must be connected.
As someone who has experienced VR both wired and wireless, there is a tangible level of freedom to be truly wireless. A cable adds a slight counterweight to a VR headset and can never be out of focus, especially if it swings around with large movements. Cords, regardless of length, tend to get entangled and wrapped around other pieces of furniture, ruining the feeling of presence. With the Quest 2, if there is enough space, I can create a large border big enough to walk around for more than five steps. As trite as the comparison is, it feels straight out of Ready Player One.
Of course, Sony could implement a wireless feature for the PSVR 2 at some point. But even then, it seems that games cannot be played independently from a PS5. At least that’s not what Sony suggested at CES. It’s unfortunate as there are many lighter titles like Beat Saber that don’t require massive amounts of processing power to provide a solid gaming experience. Having a PS5 nearby is a potential pain point that could lead consumers to choose Meta over PSVR. And that’s regardless of the fact that PS5 top-ups remain elusive or that the system itself starts at $ 400.
Regardless of how Sony chooses to take on Meta in the ongoing VR wars, it is clear that the fight will be defined by the terms of Mark Zuckerberg, not those of PlayStation.
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