As Meta struggles to get its metaverse off the ground, even with decent Quest sales, it will now face further challenges with an old champion returning to battle. In a previous generation of VR, Sony’s PlayStation VR was king, surpassing Oculus at the time. Now, PSVR 2 is on its way, although we’ll see if it can dominate the niche market once again.
PSVR 2 will arrive on February 22, 2023, according to a new Sony announcement. And it will cost $ 550, $ 50 more than the more expensive PS5 model, at least in the US. The original PSVR launched at $ 400 in 2016, and even allowing for some pretty severe inflation, that doesn’t cover the entire price hike gap, although PSVR wasn’t available with controllers at the time. The PSVR 2 bundle includes headphones, Sense controllers and stereo headphones. And yes, PSVR 2 connects to your PS5 with a cable. That means more power, but not a cable-free experience like the quest.
Of course, PSVR 2 at $ 550 is a lot cheaper than the Meta Quest Pro that Mark Zuckerberg just announced at $ 1,500, meant for ultra hardcore VR fans and business use. The Quest 3 is likely to be out next year and the Quest 2 currently costs $ 400, so a little less than what we’re seeing from Sony here.
Sony also took today to announce 11 new titles coming to PSVR 2 at some point, almost all dedicated VR titles, no VR port or something.
I remain somewhat skeptical of Sony’s decision to continue to devote so many resources to virtual reality. At least no, they don’t rely heavily on virtual reality to be the next big thing as Mark Zuckerberg staked all his reputation and company into the metaverse, but I wonder if hardware resources could be better spent to resurrect, say, a mobile console. in an age where Switch and Steam Deck are extremely popular. But as a former leader of the virtual reality market, I guess I understand why we came here for a sequel. I just hope they make a PlayStation Home VR sooner or later, and it ends up being much, much better than Meta’s Horizon Worlds, which feels like a pretty low bar.
The virtual reality market has continued to grow, but slowly, and remains a fraction of the gaming landscape compared to console, PC, and mobile gaming. I expect PSVR 2 to perform well enough, but price is a tall order for many in this economy, and a luxury VR headset for a small handful of short games may not be worth it for many other than extreme enthusiasts. We’ll see how things go at launch and what Quest 3 could bring in terms of competition next year.
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