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Review: PlayStation VR2 headset brings a distinct gaming experience with a hefty price tag

This year, Sony released the PlayStation VR2, their second generation of virtual reality hardware. (PlayStation)
This year, Sony released the PlayStation VR2, their second generation of virtual reality hardware. (PlayStation)
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15 Jun 2023 06:06:09 GMT9
15 Jun 2023 06:06:09 GMT9

James Denselow

LONDON: The unveiling of the Apple Vision Pro VR in June has the gaming world talking again as to whether we are now officially in the era of spatial computing. Already about 10 percent of Americans use a virtual reality headset at least once a month, according to data firm Insider Intelligence. Are we soon going to say goodbye to consoles and sitting in front of televisions or tablets to be replaced by headsets and virtual worlds as part of this new level of experiential gaming?  

This year, Sony released the PlayStation VR2, their second generation of virtual reality hardware. The technology upgrade sees the headset capable of 2,000 x 2,040 pixels-per-eye resolution, OLED panels with refresh rates up to 120Hz and a direct link to the extra power of the PlayStation 5 itself.

Note the headset requires a physical connection to the console, which is sometimes an annoyance, and the battery life for the controllers isn’t great nor are their levels of haptic feedback.

However, all this new spec comes at a cost that isn’t cheap with a price tag of $549, more than the console itself. That said, accepting it as a luxury item aside, it is simple to set up with an intuitive menu that allows you to navigate options and the PS5 homepage.  

The original Sony VR headset provided entertainment but was limited by its processing power, resulting in a narrow field of view, subpar graphics and a bulky design. It was uncomfortable to wear, which detracted from the immersion, and surprisingly heavy. In contrast, the VR2 headset is significantly more comfortable, offers a wider field of view, and delivers an infinitely better sense of immersion. Indeed, newcomers to the system report the phenomenon of feeling “games sick” as the VR detaches the player from the real world.  

VR2 offers a distinct gaming experience but, as ever with new hardware, there tends to be a gap for software developers to catch up and produce games worthy of the capabilities of the machine. “Horizon Zero Dawn: Call of the Mountain,” for instance, sometimes feels like an extended tech demo, although it effectively demonstrates the capabilities of the headset with its rich, vibrant colors and jaw-dropping graphics.  

Driving, shooting and sports games are all finding their feet with this new tech, but there is little doubting its revolutionary potential. The wider community has landed positively on the games catalog available to date, describing it as a strong start, but there is no doubt that there is more to come. Largely, this is due to the nature of total immersion that gives a greater intensity of experience as it captures all your audio and visual attention — the headset letting in no light for example. However, there has yet to be a decent open-world game for the VR2 with kayaking simulators only able to take you so far. So, perhaps this is the ultimate test for the system: to see if it can maintain intensity over prolonged gameplay.  

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