The PSVR 2 is coming, and I'm quietly screaming with joy. And that's a little funny to me, as someone who used to be extremely lukewarm or non-plussed about VR headsets. But over the last year, I watched as Oculus Quest 2 (now "Meta Quest 2") became the hot new thing on the block. VR, it seems, after years of having been seen as "the next big thing," is finally here for real. All along, though, I rolled my eyes at the concept of even buying one.
My existing disinterest wasn't tied to the apps or the hardware, quite the contrary, actually. I've been curious about some of the best Oculus Quest 2 games, including some titles that were on the original PlayStation VR, such as Beat Saber and Superhot VR. But it's always seemed like getting into the original PlayStation VR right now was a bad investment, as it's pretty old. As someone who is still looking for a successor to Ring Fit Adventure for at-home gamified exercise, the news of Liteboxer VR for Oculus Quest 2 sounded like something I wanted to play.
So, without further prelude, let's break down why I'm so excited about PSVR 2.
I will not get "Meta" with Facebook
The Oculus Quest 2 may have been the popular gift of 2021, but it is not for me. Why? I do not want to own any device that is fully inside of, and under the control of Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook. I only begrudgingly have Instagram and Facebook accounts, but at least those services and apps have to play within the rules of the internet and the Apple App Store.
While you can try to control Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp's access to your data by tweaking web browser and phone settings, the same cannot be done as easily within a product Meta releases and controls entirely. Mark Zuckerberg's company is only going to give you the preferences and settings they deem worthy.
And, to be frank, last year (and every year before that) proved to me that Meta is not capable of making these decisions responsibly.
If you're wondering why am I so staunch about settings, just look back to October, when Facebook rebranded as Meta (which was done comically poorly, as you can see below).
The decision to try and shirk the Facebook branding for the overall parent company (the social network retains the name) came during the eye of the Facebook Papers storm. The timing still seems too obvious to ignore, as the Meta brand was revealed while Facebook documents released by whistleblower Frances Haugen revealed that many of our worst suspicions about the company were correct.
The Washington Post's analysis found that Facebook values user engagement over user safety; that the company failed to effectively moderate content around the world; and that Facebook had the proof that Instagram was harmful for the mental health of teenage girls.
Knowing all of that, I don't use any Facebook product without at least a tinge of guilt, and it gives me a serious reason to avoid diving headset-first into an ecosystem entirely under its control.
Sony? I have no such qualms about trusting them with another piece of hardware in my house. Maybe they'll one day prove me wrong, but they're not screwing things up as badly as Meta/Facebook.
PSVR 2 sounds like it will support my other need
When the PSVR 2 news broke, I was mining every article I could looking for one specific detail: can I use it despite my shoddy vision. I'm not blind, mind you, but I do require some sort of corrective eye-wear, be it contact lenses or glasses. I'm not like my friend Hunter, who got LASIK for the purpose of a VR headset, either. I'm OK with wearing glasses, and I think I'd rather miss a gaming experience than get corrective surgery.
First off, the precedent is here because the original PSVR had adapters for prescription lens support. Heck, it was even designed so you could wear glasses while wearing the headset (though the dual layers seems a bit much), as the FAQ page for the headset noted that users could "telescope the lens closer to, and farther away from, your face to get the optimal fit."
On top of that, there's a 2019 Sony patent (as reported by UploadVR) that gives me more reason to be optimistic. While patents aren't proof of anything you can bet on, this showed that Sony was looking into a pair of prescription glasses that would work with a new version of PSVR, that included eye-tracking. And then Sony's announcement of PSVR 2 included news that the glasses would support — you guessed it — eye-tracking.
So, bring on the PSVR 2 games and experiences!
While I want to support any company that's competing with Facebook, that won't be enough on its own. Fortunately, Sony looks to be betting on quality.
I'm excited to see the little glimpse of Horizon Call of the Mountain provided in the above video, which will probably make me feel like I'm actually using a bow and arrow. And I bet it will likely be just the first of many exciting experiences for the PSVR 2.
I can't wait to see Sony announces next. I only hope that the PSVR 2 doesn't cost as much as a PS5 (which is probable) and that it's easier to find in stock (which is less likely).