As Sony’s upcoming PlayStation VR2 inches closer, it’s time to take a closer look at the differences between PlayStation’s next-gen VR headset and its aging predecessor: PSVR.
Thanks to the recent specs released by Sony at CES 2022, we now know PlayStation VR2 will wipe the floor with the company’s now aging predecessor. That said, for a VR headset that launched in 2016, PSVR still holds its own against the most popular head-mounted display (HMD) on the market — 2020’s Oculus Quest 2.
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Sony has yet to announce the official launch date and price for its upcoming PlayStation VR2, and we've yet to see how the headset will look. However, we did get a peak at what’s under the hood, which gives us a good indication of what gamers can expect. In fact, we even got a glimpse of gameplay thanks to the announcement of PSVR2-exclusive Horizon Call of the Mountain. Will Sony’s next big VR venture be a worthy successor? Let’s break it down.
PSVR vs. PSVR 2: Specs
|Display size||5.7 inches||N/A|
|Resolution||960 x 1080 per eye||2000 x 2040 per eye|
|Refresh rate||120Hz, 90Hz||120Hz, 90Hz|
|Field of view||~100-degrees||~110-degrees|
|Tracking||PS Camera||4 built-in cameras, IR camera for eye tracking per eye|
|Controllers||DualShock 4/PS Move controllers||PlayStation VR2 Sense controllers|
|Audio||Built-in microphone, stereo headphone jack||Built-in microphone, stereo headphone jack|
|Connection||HDMI, USB-A to PS4||USB-C to PS5|
PSVR vs. PSVR 2: Price
Sony has yet to confirm the price of its PlayStation VR2. That said, considering the upgraded specs, the new Sense controllers that come packed with the headset, and the $100/£100 price difference between the PS4 ($399/£349) and PS5 Standard Edition ($499/£450), there’s reason to believe PSVR 2 will be pricer than the PSVR.
When the PSVR bundle originally launched in October 2016, the HMD cost $399/£349, with a more expensive bundle, which included a PS Camera, two PlayStation Move controllers and PlayStation Worlds, priced at $499/£449. However, Sony announced a price drop in 2017, taking the PlayStation Worlds bundle down to $449 and adding a PS Camera to the standard bundle. These days, you can find a PSVR mega bundle on sale from $299.99/£259.99 at retailers such as Argos or $349 for an Iron Man bundle at Best Buy.
PlayStation’s VR headsets cost the same as their console counterparts, meaning the PSVR 2 is likely to either cost the same as the PS5 Digital Edition or PS5 Standard Edition. Since the second-gen HMD offers a list of upgrades, including haptic feedback, better display resolution and more, it will be more than worth the price when compared to its predecessor. This doesn’t make it any easier to purchase though, seeing as many will need to put at least a $399 dent in their wallet to nab a PS5 first.
PSVR vs. PSVR 2: Design
Since Sony has kept the appearance of the PSVR 2 under wraps, we have yet to find out how the VR headset will look, the weight and dimensions of the device, or the material used for it to comfortably sit on your head. We expect it to take some design cues from the original PSVR headset, though.
The PSVR sports a circular white matte strap with a rubber cushion finish lining the inside of its halo-shaped design. It can easily be adjusted to fit comfortably on a user’s head, while the front visor can be brought forward or backward to bring the screen into focus. The visor itself is made up of black and white matte plastic, with seven blue lights placed around the corners and middle of the headset for the PS Camera to detect. Along with its 7.3 x 7.2 x 10.9-inch dimensions and 0.6-pound weight, the PSVR is a slick, comfortable and very PlayStation-esque device — we expect the PSVR 2 to share similar qualities, albeit sporting more white to match the PS5’s aesthetic.
Instead of the blue light sensors, the PSVR 2 will swap these out with the four built-in cameras that will track movement via the Sense controllers. These are likely to be placed around the corners of the headset, much like the Oculus Quest 2. We also expect it to sport a slightly wider visor, seeing as it has an increased 110-degree field of view and adjustable lens separation. Plus, the headset boasts vibration, meaning it could be slightly bigger than the previous generation. At the very least, we hope it won’t be as chunky as the PS5.
PSVR vs. PSVR 2: Controllers
The PSVR 2 Sense controllers will take several cues from the PS5's DualSense controller, building on its foundation to "change how VR games are played."
Both left and right VR controllers will have adaptive triggers, meaning we'll get that familiar L2/R2 pressure when firing a gun or drawing a bow first seen on the DualSense. Bringing this sensation to VR could offer a more realistic feel. The left controller will have Triangle, Square and Create buttons, while the right will have Cross, Circle and Options buttons, and both will have a “grip” button (L1) and trigger button (L2).
Each controller will also have futuristic-feeling haptic feedback, which Sony’s blog states that gamers can feel the difference between a rocky desert or trading blows in melee combat.
An addition coming to the PSVR 2 Sense controllers is finger touch detection, where the controller can detect your fingers without any pressing in the areas where you place your thumb, index, or middle fingers. In other words, gamers will be able to "make more natural gestures with your hands during gameplay." Finally, the tracking ring at the bottom of the controllers will be able to be tracked by the new VR headset. Plus, much like the PS Move controllers, the PS VR2 boasts built-in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries via USB-C.
The new Sense controllers are leaps and bounds ahead of PlayStation VR’s PS Move controllers or DualShock 4, seeing as these controllers weren’t even specifically built for the PSVR. In fact, PS Move controllers were first released in 2010 for PS3, and need the PS Camera in order for the advanced motion sensors and tracking sphere to work.
With a design similar to a wand, much like the Nintendo Wii remote, rather than ergonomically fitting into your hand, the PS Move controllers for PSVR have seen their day in the sun and it’s now time for the far-more capable-looking PSVR 2 Sense controllers to shine.
PSVR vs. PSVR 2: Audio
Both the original PSVR and PSVR 2 share similar audio specs, with both HMD’s sporting a built-in microphone, stereo headphone jack and 3D audio technology. Sony hasn’t added anything ground-breaking to the next-gen audio’s design (it seems), but we may see the Sony Pulse 3D Wireless headset come into play. Since the PSVR 2 functions by connecting it to the PS5, users may be able to listen to audio via the wireless headset. If this is the case, the headset’s design will need to make room.
PSVR vs. PSVR 2: Performance
As previously reported, Sony shared in-depth details about the PS VR2's specs, with the headset offering 4K HDR, 110-degree field of view, and foveated rendering. The OLED display also boasts 2000 × 2040 per eye resolution and frame rates from 90Hz to 120Hz. What's more, it's all connected to the PS5 via a single-cord USB-C setup.
According to the PlayStation blog post, the VR headset is equipped with four integrated cameras to track players and the Sense controllers, along with IR camera for eye tracking per eye. There will also be vibration on the headset, although not the haptic feedback that's found on the controllers.
"PS VR2 Sense Technology combines eye tracking, headset feedback, 3D Audio, and the innovative PS VR2 Sense controller to create an incredibly deep feeling of immersion," SVP Hideaki Nishino of Platform Experience at Sony states. "Headset feedback is a new sensory feature that amplifies the sensations of in-game actions from the player."
With the haptic feedback, trigger effects, six-axis motion sensing system, finger touch detection, and position tracking found in the Sense controllers, Nishino says gamers will "feel a character’s elevated pulse during tense moments, the rush of objects passing close to the character’s head, or the thrust of a vehicle as the character speeds forward."
The original PSVR doesn’t hold a candle to these specs, seeing as it sports 960 x 1080 per eye resolution, a 100-degree field of view and a lack of any haptic feedback. It still pumps out up to 120Hz though, but 4K HDR is 120Hz on the PlayStation VR2? Expect to see a major jump in visuals and gameplay once you hook up the PSVR 2 to the raw might of the PS5.
There are still a few tidbits of information about the next-gen PlayStation VR2 yet to be officially revealed, but the VR headset is already set to knock the PSVR out of the park — as Sony typically pulls off with each generation of its consoles. The 4K HDR offering, 2000×2040 per eye OLED display and powered might of the PS5 to back it up is an exciting step in the next generation of VR gaming, and we’re here for it.
While its expected $399/£350 price tag is concerning, it isn’t surprising seeing as the original PSVR cost the same at launch (without the crucial PS Camera). Stay tuned for further updates as Sony drip-feeds us new details for its (most likely) biggest launch of 2022, but if you’re looking to get into premium VR gameplay right now, check our list of best VR headsets and best VR-ready laptops to make the most of stepping into virtual reality.