PS5 games have a big disadvantage over PS4 titles

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For some time, we’ve known that the PS5 will support the PSVR headset (as long as you apply for a free camera adapter), but it looks like there’s bad news attached to this. PSVR, it seems, is only supported for the purposes of backwards compatibility, and won’t be present for new PS5 experiences.

We already had an inkling, thanks to the lack of support for DualShock 4 and PS Move controllers with PS5 games, but now we have more evidence: neither the PS5 version of Hitman 3 or No Man’s Sky will include PSVR support, unlike their PS4 counterparts.

A Sony spokesperson told Upload VR that to access VR with Hitman 3 on PS5 you’ll need to be playing the PS4 edition, because PSVR operates as a backwards compatible device. The spokesperson added that “we have not announced PS5 titles for PSVR.” PSVR support on PS5 for No Man’s Sky, meanwhile, comes “by virtue of the backwards compatibility functionality” according to the developer. 

That means that PS5 buyers with a fondness for VR have a dilemma on their hands: buy the PS5 optimized version of the game, or an inferior edition to retain access to virtual reality play. Neither seem particularly great, but fortunately there is a third way.

Both Hitman 3 and No Man’s Sky have a free upgrade available for owners of the PS4 version (digital only in the case of the former), so theoretically you could install both the PS4 and PS5 versions on your console, accessing the last-generation version when you fancy donning the PSVR headset. It’s not ideal, though, especially when you consider the PS5 doesn’t have an enormous amount of free SSD space, but it’ll work in a pinch.

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Bizarrely, that means that there may actually be some demand for developers Hello Games and Activision to introduce a PS5 downgrade option, allowing buyers to access the PS4 edition for PSVR play. Sony has said this is up to the developers.

While it’s a shame that this seems to all but confirm there won’t be any games specifically designed to take advantage of PSVR hardware, existing VR titles may still benefit from the extra grunt of the PS5 hardware in the form of smoother gameplay or more detail. 

As for the future, Sony clearly hasn’t given up on VR in the medium term. Just days ago, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan was telling The Washington Post that VR will remain a “meaningful component” of gaming going forward. 

“PlayStation believes in VR,” he said. “Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that.” 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.