There’s no denying that the future of gaming has arrived, and it is being fully embraced by gamers of all ages. Virtual reality and peripheral technology are in high demand amongst the gaming community, who desire to experience the thrill of deeper immersion into their games. The gaming market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 32.75% in the realm of virtual reality (Mordor Intelligence Report) by 2026. Sony, a major player, demoed their new PlayStation VR2 Headset – a definite upgrade to their original PlayStation VR Headset – at CES 2023. It is available now for pre-order, and releases on February 22, 2023.
So, what’s the deal with the Sony PlayStation VR2 Headset? That’s what I’ll be diving into with this article, as well as a side-by-side comparison of its competitor, the Meta Quest 2, wrapping things up with a demonstration of the product from CES 2023.
What’s the Deal with the Sony PlayStation VR2 Headset?
Virtual reality gaming has taken a massive leap forward with the PlayStation VR2 Headset. Exclusively for the PlayStation 5, the headset boasts improved resolution – 4K HDR – with an OLED display and 2000 x 2040 pixels per eye and eye tracking. This provides more realistic emotional response and expression in online interactions with other players. The VR2 has an expanded field of view that reaches approximately 110 degrees. The panels have a refresh rate of 90Hz to 120Hz, which is good by me. For reference, a 120Hz refresh rate is what most PC gamers seek for their monitors.
The PlayStation VR2 creates realistic soundscapes by dynamically adapting in-game audio to your head movements and position. When a character whispers in your ear, you’ll hear and experience it as such. Hear environmental sounds like the trickling of a stream, singing of birds, or the impending doom from any which way it may approach. Analog/USB stereo headphones are needed for this experience – but don’t fret, they come in the box. Or you can use your own if you fancy that.
With adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, the controllers add a level of immersion that physically connects you with your gameplay. The example Sony uses on their website is “pulling back an increasingly tight bowstring” – for this alone, count me in. In every game possible, I’m an archer and a thief. Thinking about pairing this with a bHaptics vest (below) is giving me Ready Player One vibes. The PlayStation VR2 allows players to fully immerse themselves in new worlds, engaging the senses as they move freely about, slaying enemies, exploring unknown territories, and my personal favorite – you know what’s coming – looting.
That brings me to the bundle option. Sony is offering the PlayStation VR2 and controllers for $549.99 alone, or as a bundle with Horizon Call of the Mountain, for $599.99. That is a $9.99 deal, plus tax, friends. Heap big savings. Go buy yourself a candy bar. The point, of course, is that you’d get to play right away, receiving your voucher code that’s redeemable at the PlayStation store. If you liked Horizon: Zero Dawn (gorgeous game, fantastic storytelling), then the bundle would be for you. The VR2 comes with a USB cable for controller pairing and charging. It has a charging station that’s sold separately for $49.99.
In the box, you get the VR2 Headset, PlayStation VR2 Sense controller, USB cable, stereo headphones, three pairs of ear pieces, printed materials, and – if you got the bundle – that voucher code for Horizon Call of the Mountain. There are more games to get excited about than this RPG, so let’s get into that.
Tell Me About Those Games
The PlayStation VR2 is for console gaming with the PlayStation 5, so you have access to titles from gaming companies you know and love – it’s just that they must be VR2 compatible. Sony has some intriguing options lined up. In addition to their promotion of Horizon Call of the Mountain, there will be a free update to Gran Turismo 7, Resident Evil Village and No Man’s Sky. Likely, the company will do this for many of their games, but no company leaves money on the table when they can swing it. Expect to buy games for the PlayStation VR2 as well.
Other games that have been announced are The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge – Enhanced Edition, Moss & Moss: Books, Cities VR: Enhanced Edition, and Jurassic World Aftermath Collection. There are blockbuster PS VR2 games in development that will launch during 2023 and later, such as Firewall Ultra and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners – Chapter 2: Retribution.
There are more than 30 games set to launch for the PS VR2 from February 22, 2023 to March 2023. Check out the games here.
PlayStation VR2 vs Meta Quest 2
Spec-wise, these both look fantastic, though Sony has the clear winner in terms of display. The biggest difference starts with how they’re played. As mentioned, the PS VR2 is for console gaming and games are downloaded from the PlayStation Store or purchased as discs. It requires setup using a DualSense wireless controller, and display, but future use of the device may not require a TV or display.
The Meta Quest 2 has its own thing going on, where games are downloaded via the Meta Quest Store or in the headset, and it then shows up in the headset’s panel. It’s a standalone device. In this regard, they’re two different beasts, for two different types of gamers, and you could easily get both. If you’re in the market for just one or the other, their main purpose alone may be the reason you get the one you choose.
You may be wondering why I’m comparing the Meta Quest 2 rather than the newer Meta Quest Pro to the PlayStation VR2. The answer is this: Meta isn’t marketing the Meta Quest Pro to gamers. It’s marketed toward professionals, businesses and creatives that can utilize its features for their purposes. That it has only a two-hour battery life before needing to be hooked up to the dock for a charge should tell you it’s no marathoner – thus, the Meta Quest 2, which is marketed toward gamers, is the clear competition. But let’s get into those specs so you can see how they stack up against each other.
PlayStation VR2 Headset
Panel Resolution: 2000 x 2040 per eye
Panel Refresh Rate: 90 Hz, 120 Hz
Lens Separation: Adjustable
Field of View: Approx. 110 Degrees
Sensors: Motion sensor – Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer), Attachment Sensor – IR proximity sensor
Cameras: 4 embedded cameras for headset and controller tracking, IR camera for eye tracking per eye
Feedback: Vibration on headset
Audio: Input – Built-in microphone, Output – Stereo headphone jack
Sensing/Tracking: Motion Sensor – Six-axis motion sensing system (three-axis gyroscope + three-axis accelerometer), Capacitive Sensor – Finger touch detection, IR LED – Position tracking
Feedback: Trigger effect (on R2/L2 button), Haptic feedback (by single actuator per unit)
Port: USB Type-C
Communication: Bluetooth Ver5.1
Battery: Type – Built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery
Meta Quest 2
Panel Resolution: 1832 x 1920 per eye
Panel Refresh Rate: 60 Hz, 72 Hz, 90 Hz
Lens Separation: Three preset lens separation distances – 58mm, 63mm, 68mm
Field of View: Approx. 106 Degrees Horizontal, 96 Degrees Vertical
Sensors: 6DOF (6 Degrees of Freedom)
Cameras: 4 IR internal cameras
Audio: Built-in 3D positional audio, 3.5 mm audio port
Additional Features: Glasses compatible, Haptic accessories available
Sensing/Tracking: Two fisheye cameras with wide-angle lenses
Battery: Type – One AA battery (battery cover is difficult to remove, you’ll need both thumbs to push it off)
I like that the Meta Quest 2 is glasses compatible. I wear glasses, and while I can see well without them, I get a considerable amount of eye strain using monitors and TVs without them. I saw no such promises from the PlayStation VR2. That’s not enough to deter me, however. Looking at the fit of the two, it looks like the VR2 would be most comfortable, especially for those with longer hair – VR headsets sometimes yank at hair. The VR2 has a twistable knob to adjust the fit of the headset. The Meta Quest 2 is adjusted with side straps and a top strap, and the lenses have to be adjusted to your eyes in one of three settings, so you have the clearest picture. The VR2’s lenses can also be adjusted, more custom than its competitor.
One thing that isn’t my favorite about the PlayStation VR2 is that it is a tethered device – there is one cable hooking the headset up to the PlayStation, so no wireless for now. The Meta Quest 2 is wireless. It’s also been reported that the panels are hazy around the edges (this is a known issue in VR headsets). It may be able to be minimized by adjusting your inter-pupillary distance (IPD). With the Meta Quest 2, there’s just the three settings, so there may be some blurring if you don’t quite fit one of the three settings. It’s likely you will fit, though.
I have yet to see a game for the Meta Quest 2 that pulls me in like those of PlayStation or even Xbox. There are some fantastic looking games, to be sure, and more will hit the shelves of Meta Quest’s digital store as virtual reality expands. The library is extensive. There are even some games that are also on the aforementioned platforms. For instance, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners is available on the Meta Quest store, and we know that the sequel is part of the launch window for the VR2.
For now, you would see this gamer choosing a PlayStation VR2. For you? That’s something you’ll have to decide. Are you a console gamer? Do you have a PS5 or have designs to get one? The VR2 would be your choice. Or would you rather be able to take your VR experience with you wherever you go? Then, perhaps the Meta Quest 2.
The Meta Quest 2 is currently $399.99, which is a standalone device and comes with the headset, controllers and charging cable. Let’s compare PlayStation’s prices. The price of a PS5 (which you need to use the VR2) is $399.99 for the digital version, $499.99 for the disc version. The VR2 is $549.99 by itself, $599.99 for the Horizon bundle, and if you want a charging station, $49.99. So, if you didn’t have a PS5 already, the lowest cost you’d be looking at for your new and improved PlayStation virtual reality experience is $949.98 for the digital and VR2 only, $1,099.98 for the PS5 disc version and Horizon Bundle, and adding a charging station – $1,149.97. Plus tax. Dollars and cents wise, it looks like the Meta Quest 2 is a better deal, but I’d still pay more and choose the PlayStation VR2. It’s a personal preference for the types of games offered, and the specs are better.
Hands on Demonstration at the Sony Booth at CES 2023
Sony showcased the PlayStation VR2 Headset at CES 2023, demonstrating its improved resolution, audio, haptics, and playability. Attendees were able to try out Horizon Call of the Mountain in VR with the VR2, giving a test run of the headset’s immersive experience. The PlayStation VR2 has received high praise from gaming industry professionals and consumers alike, and its demonstration was a highlight of CES 2023.
Sony has stepped up their VR game with the PlayStation VR2. By doing so, they pave the way for other companies (like Meta) to improve their displays, audio, and haptics, making virtual reality feel more like – well, reality. This new generation of PlayStation VR technology allows players to fully immerse themselves in thrilling new worlds that feel, look, and sound real. Especially when an enemy strikes right in the face. The headset is designed to be comfortable to wear, adjustable, and can be worn for several hours before needing to take that usual VR break.
The PlayStation VR2 also offers a variety of games to choose from in the launch window. From fast-paced action games to more relaxed puzzle games, there is something for everyone. With new games on the horizon, players will have plenty of worlds to explore. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer or new to the world of VR, the PlayStation VR2 is sure to provide an unforgettable gaming experience.