Hi Sony, we also want PlayStation VR 2 for PC VR

Sony CES 2022 VR presentation
Sony Corporation

Sony’s next generation PlayStation VR 2 headset is truly impressive. It really makes it a shame to limit it to PlayStation 5 alone. We think Sony has a lot to gain by also opening PSVR 2 for PC users.

What is PlayStation VR 2?

PlayStation VR 2 is the successor to the PlayStation VR headset released for use with Sony PlayStation 4. PSVR reused the PlayStation 4 camera and Move controllers from PlayStation 3 along with a special processing unit to make advanced VR possible on Sony’s $ 399 console.

A child using a Sony PS VR headset.
Lutsenko_Oleksandr / Shutterstock.com

At the time, a PlayStation 4 with a PSVR headset represented the most affordable way to experience high-end VR compared to the price of a PC VR setup. However, the original headset was somewhat cumbersome and not as refined as contemporary PC VR headsets at the time. While it was smart of Sony to recycle hardware that the company already had, it resulted in a somewhat cobbled product.

With PlayStation VR 2, things are very different. It is a headset designed with the benefit of hindsight and a clear idea of ​​VR’s future.

According to official specifications released by Sony, the PlayStation VR 2 uses a single USB-C connection, inside and out tracking, foveated playback and a 110-degree field of view. It also comes with the same next-generation haptic feedback found in PlayStation 5’s DualSense controllers. Although we do not know the price of the headset at the time of writing, it is far more likely to fall somewhere between $ 299 Quest 2 and $ 599 (often $ 399) HP Reverb G2 than the $ 999 Valve Index.

A great VR experience

Oculus Quest 2 256GB

Oculus Quest 2 does it all, no matter what kind of VR you want to experience, at a price that is surprising in the best way.

PlayStation VR 2 is forward-looking

Since gaming consoles have a fixed level of hardware performance and need to remain relevant for as much as a decade, it is important to find ways to be effective with the limited pool of performance. Consoles have inspired many smart ways to get great performance from the hardware you have. Dynamic resolution scaling, chessboard rendering and timely anti-aliasing are great examples of smart ways to get more out of your silicon. Of course, PC games have also benefited from this development!

PlayStation VR 2 offers enhanced playback, something that is rare for non-existent current PC headsets. This technology uses eye-tracking to selectively reproduce images with high detail on the parts of the scene that the fovea of ​​the eye is currently focused on. This means you perceive a high quality image and GPU resources are not wasted on things you still cannot see at that time.

We believe that making this technology a standard feature will motivate developers to use it, and therefore PC ports for VR games are more likely to support it. Of course, it would be ideal if the actual hardware could also work on pc and this is a primary reason to have PlayStation VR 2 on pc.

Competes PC gaming with PS5

It’s safe to assume that Sony is hoping that their headsets will sell more PlayStation 5 consoles, and there will undoubtedly be exclusive VR games that you need to own a PlayStation 5 and PlayStation VR 2 to enjoy.

The question is whether opening PlayStation VR 2 to PC will affect that goal in any way. PC users who have no interest in PlayStation 5 can still buy the headset, and we do not see it hurting the sale of PlayStation VR 2 headsets to PlayStation 5 owners. In fact, PC gamers may be more likely to buy a PlayStation 5 in the future, knowing that their investment in a single headset will cover both platforms.

Sony games are entering the PC space

Horizon Zero Dawn PC

Sony has gradually started to release PC ports for some previously exclusive games such as Horizon: Zero Dawn. This has not yet happened with VR games or with exclusive PlayStation 5 games, but we can predict a future where PC versions of PlayStation VR 2 games will come to PC. If these games can only be fully experienced with the Sony headset, it makes sense to give PC users access.

There is some precedent for this. The DualSense controller acts as a standard controller on PC and mobile devices, though without the full haptic experience. Some specific games, such as Metro Exodus, do support the full DualSense experience on something other than a PlayStation. So we know Sony is not entirely dismissive of the idea.

How difficult would PC compatibility be?

The original PSVR used external camera tracking using the PlayStation 4 camera. That device does not have a standard interface, so there has been no way to connect it to a USB port until recently. Sony had to issue an adapter so that the PSVR could be used with a PlayStation 5 that has only USB ports.

There are various projects to “hack” the PSVR for PC use, but without proper camera tracking solutions, they are largely curiosities.

PlayStation VR 2 uses a standard USB-C connection, so we do not anticipate any basic hardware issues. Getting PlayStation VR 2 to work with a PC is probably down to software drivers. We have no doubt that enterprising hackers will eventually produce a third-party driver for PlayStation VR 2, which is even more reason for Sony to step in and even take that step.

Will PlayStation VR 2 be a loser?

There’s a big question: Console manufacturers are known for selling their hardware at a loss to establish an installation base and make their money through software sales. This is the “loss-leader” strategy, and there’s a good chance Sony will use it with the PlayStation VR 2.

If PlayStation VR 2 actually sells at a loss (the price is still unknown at the time of writing), then it is unlikely that Sony will officially make it available to PC users. After all, Sony does not sell software to cover the loss to PC gamers.

Wherever Sony decides to do so, there is no doubt that PlayStation VR 2 is an exciting VR hardware release and we would very much like to have it on PC. We hope you are listening, Sony!

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