Bad news for anybody planning on investing in PSVR 2 who already has a sizeable library of virtual reality games from the first generation: Sony has confirmed there will be no automatic backwards compatibility.
“PSVR games are not compatible with PSVR 2 because PSVR 2 is designed to deliver a truly next-generation VR experience,” said PlayStation’s senior vice-president of platform experience Hideaki Nishino on the Official PlayStation Podcast.
“PSVR 2 has much more advanced features, like [an] all-new controller with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, inside-out tracking, eye tracking, 3D audio is coming together and 4K HDR, of course,” he continued. “This means developing games for PSVR 2 requires a whole different approach than the original PSVR.”
You can hear the bit in question at the 29:10 mark in the embedded audio below.
That means that the only way original PSVR games will be playable on PSVR 2 is if the developers specifically remake or patch their games for the platform. Some, such as No Man’s Sky have already been confirmed for PSVR 2, but others will almost certainly pass on the costly undertaking — especially if they didn’t sell well on the first-generation hardware.
It’s a real shame for those who will be trying PlayStation VR for the first time with the second-generation headset. The original PSVR has some truly brilliant games including SuperHot, Blood & Truth, Resident Evil 7, Farpoint, Beat Saber, Hitman 3, Tetris Effect, Moss and, of course, Astro Bot’s debut game before the cute robot appeared as a pack-in title on PS5.
Some of these may be ported, but others seem like a long shot (Farpoint, which benefitted from a rifle-shaped “Aim” accessory for the PlayStation Move controller, feels especially unlikely).
While you can still use the original PSVR with PlayStation 5 — Sony released a special adapter that owners could order free of charge — keeping both isn’t exactly what you’d call a practical solution. PSVR takes up a lot of space, with the headset, splitter box, camera and (optional) Move controllers. We don’t know how PSVR 2 might connect to the PlayStation 5 yet, so it might technically be possible to keep both connected, but with the hardware once again appearing on the chunky side, most people aren’t going to want to.
All of this means that there’s extra pressure on Sony to guarantee a strong launch lineup when PSVR 2 arrives next year. Without brand new system sellers or golden oldies to fall back on, new hardware may well feel like a tough sell — especially if it proves to be as expensive as we fear.