Sony’s PSVR 2 has arrived and it's easily one of the best VR headsets you can buy, offering a huge upgrade over 2016’s PSVR. As you'll see in our PSVR 2 review, there is a lot to like about this device.
The PSVR 2 includes a suite of high-end virtual reality tech mixed with Sony's excellent haptics and Tempest 3D Audio introduced with the PS5. And the PSVR 2 is also the only real way to get a modern virtual reality experience from a gaming console.
The question is should you buy the PSVR 2, especially given that it costs $549. Well, let’s make things easy with some key reasons to buy and skip the PSVR 2.
Reasons to Buy PSVR 2
It's easy to set up
One of the biggest hurdles to virtual reality in its current form is the setup process. With the PSVR you needed to find room for a break-out box on your PS4 and make use of an external camera. And with a PC-based VR headset, you’d have to make sure you had the latest drivers and use the right VR interfaces. But the PSVR 2 is trivially easy to set up.
The headset connects to the PS5’s USB-C port, and once you’ve paired the controllers by plugging them into the PS5, you’re only a few on-screen prompts and headset adjustments away from next-gen PlayStation VR.
Calibrating the headset and VR areas is dead simple as the headset scans your room and then lets you easily edit the space using the movement-tracking controllers if you plan on using the PSVR 2 standing up; sitting down the process is even faster.
This near seamless setup and control over the playspace makes the PSVR 2 far more compelling to use on a regular basis than other VR headsets.
The PSVR 2 has an enviable specs list: 120Hz refresh rate? Check. Wide field of view? Check — it’s 110 degrees. OLED display? Check. High resolution? Check — there’s a crisp 4K panel.
Add in advanced haptics and Sony’s excellent Tempest 3D Audio for surround sound, and you’ve got some of the best VR and gaming tech around. Then there’s eye tracking, a clear see-through mode, support for room-scale VR and the power of the PS5 to tap into.
All this works together to make the PSVR 2 a system that can easily deliver immersive virtual reality gaming and experiences.
The PSVR 2’s Sense controllers mix the movement tracking chops of the Meta Quest 2’s controllers with the haptics and adaptive triggers of the PS5’s DualSense controller, forming a pair of controllers that are not only perform well but look great, too.
The haptic feedback here is the star, with subtle and variable vibrations helping your virtual interactions feel more realistic. Feeling the tension on a drawn bowstring or your grip on a handhold when dangling off a vertiginous cliff is excellently communicated by the Sense controllers.
Build quality is spot on with the buttons offering a solid and satisfying press and the thumbsticks delivering responsive movement and a tactile click. The PSVR 2’s Sense controllers are some of the best VR controls we’ve ever used.
Horizon Call of the Mountain and more
Horizon Call of the Mountain might actually be the PS5’s answer to Valve’s VR masterpiece Half-Life Alyx. And that alone may be a compelling reason to get a PSVR 2.
Making use of all of the PSVR 2’s tech, Call of the Mountain is the most immersive way to experience the post-post-apocalyptic Earth of Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West. It looks great on the PSVR 2’s colorful 4K OLED display, with plunging ravines swaddled in lush greenery to large vistas crowned with vertiginous snow-capped mountains. But it also feels great thanks to the haptic feedback on the controllers and the headset communicating the sweeping whoosh of a passing Stormbird or the tension on a pulled bowstring.
Add in convincing 3D sound and characters that can react to even your head movements, and you’ve got an immersive experience that standard third-person games can’t compete with. If you’ve not played any Horizon game so far, Call of the Mountain is the way to go.
An affordable way to get high-end VR
Sure, $549.99 / £529.99/ €599.99 / AU$879 is a lot of money for a VR headset, especially as it costs more than a PS5 despite needing Sony’s console to run. And yes, you can get a Meta Quest 2 for less. But unlike the latter, the PSVR 2 offers a proper high-end VR system.
Usually to get one of those you’re looking at spending at least $1,000 on a gaming PC or laptop; though given the price of components recently, a more realistic number would be $1,500 and upwards. Add in a VR headset with the specs to match the PSVR 2 and your total cost of ownership could be some $2,000.
But for some $1,050 you can get a high-end VR system and, arguably, the best gaming console on the market. And if Sony commits to developing 100 plus PSVR 2 games, such an investment in your gaming setup might not seem so eye-watering.
Reasons to Skip PSVR 2
While the overall cost of a PSVR 2 might not seem so high in the face of PC-based setups, it’s still far from cheap. In fact, you could buy a whole new PS5 and still have change for one of the best PS5 games.
Or if you want more gaming options you could get an Xbox Series X. Or you could go for the Xbox Series S and boost your regular PS5 experience with the likes of the high-end DualSense Edge controller and Pulse 3D Wireless headset.
At a time when everything is more expensive and games now cost some $70, committing $550 for the PSVR 2 might be a difficult idea to swallow.
VR is a commitment
Building on from the price of the PSVR 2, getting into VR is somewhat of a commitment. Even though the PSVR 2 makes it easy to get started with high-end VR, you still need to be willing to commit to putting a tethered headset on your head and defining a playspace each time you use it. For people looking for a quick gaming session, the PSVR 2 ain’t it chief.
VR games also require a bit of learning and adjusting as you figure out what you can and can’t interact with, and get a feel for depth in a virtual environment. For people sensitive to motion sickness or vertigo, some VR experiences and games aren’t going to be suitable.
And then you have to trust that Sony will deliver on producing enough good games for the PSVR 2, rather than just letting developers port over existing titles from the PSVR or Quest 2. If the PSVR 2 ends up being a flop, then you might find yourself with an expensive VR system without a lot to play on it and no means to connect it to a different platform in order to open up other VR experiences.
We’re cautiously optimistic this won’t be the case, and Sony will have a healthy suite if PSVR 2 games. But for now, we need to play the waiting game.
PSVR 2: pre-order now for $549 @ PlayStation Direct
The PSVR 2 is set to launch in February 2023, and pre-orders are now open on PlayStation Direct. You will need a PlayStation account to pre-order, but you no longer need an invitation. For an additional $50, you can also get the PSVR 2 Horizon Call of the Mountain bundle. This bundle comes with the game Horizon Call of the Mountain, which blew us away.