2023 is bound to be an intriguing year for the VR market. While most manufacturers are gearing their newest releases up for the ever-approaching Metaverse concepts, PlayStation has released its latest foray into Virtual Reality, doubling down on its potential within the gaming space, and only the gaming space.
At first, there was a lot of outrage at PSVR 2's price, especially seeing as it would be tethered to the PS5, and would launch at a higher price than its sibling console now sits at. Despite this, the range of specs and features on offer boost PSVR 2 well above that price tag within the VR market. Now that I've had a chance to go hands on with the platform for our PSVR 2 review, I can make easier work of answering the question: is PSVR 2 worth it?
In my opinion, PSVR 2 is one of the best VR headsets on the market, offering a premium feature set for the money. Down below, I've tried to factor in the biggest questions that need answering when making a buying decision. I've also peppered in a few of the biggest reasons I think should sway you either way.
PSVR 2 price
First thing's first; PSVR 2 will cost $549.99 if you're in the US. In the UK, it will set you back £529.99 inc VAT. For one purchase you get the headset itself, a set of VR2 Sense controllers, and a stereo headphone attachment.
However, that's not likely to be where your investment ends. If you'd like a bundle that gets you at least one game out of the gate, you can opt to pay £569.99 / $599.99 and get Horizon Call of the Mountain with your headset. At the time of writing, this is the only bundle that's available. Also available for purchase is a charging station for the VR2 Sense controllers. This is, so far, the only accessory officially on offer.
If you think of PSVR 2 as a console peripheral, over $500 might seem like a hefty price to pay. Especially when you consider the fact that the PS5 launched at this same price, and has since dropped to be cheaper after two years on the market. If, however, you look at this as a VR platform that happens to be integrated into the PlayStation family, the narrative very quickly shifts. VR is sadly still an expensive gaming platform, and this doesn't look like it'll change any time soon.
For a VR headset that nets you the same type of features as PSVR 2, you'd need to spend $800 or more (usually around a grand), all things considered. Headsets like these - the HTC Vive Pro 2 or the Valve Index, for example - need one of the best gaming PCs to access those features. VR gaming can be CPU and GPU intensive, after all. Normally, one of these VR-ready PCs will set you back around a grand, if not far more. So, all-in for a PC VR headset, you're talking a full investment of around two grand or more.
PSVR 2 may be inextricably tied to the PS5 for the moment, but altogether you're talking half of the cost of PC VR loadouts. Sony has also been making moves into the PC market in the last year, so it isn't totally out of the realms of possibility that PlayStation opens up PSVR 2 to PC platforms in some way in the near future. If for no other reason, this may help Sony to shift more units. At time of writing though, this may be wishful thinking.
PSVR 2 features
PSVR 2 has some great VR features for the money. Perhaps most notably for VR enthusiasts is eye-tracking and foveated rendering, which is usually reserved for headsets that cost well over $700. This was a particularly tricky feature to test out, but the visual detail wherever I looked on the 120Hz OLED panel looked clear as day. Per eye, PSVR 2 gives you a resolution of 2000 x 2040, and you get a FOV of 110 degrees - only 10 less than HTC Vive Pro 2's gargantuan 120 degree field of view. All that, and you're only tethered by one long USB-C cable that doesn't seem to weigh down the headset at all.
The front of the headset has four embedded cameras that assist with PSVR 2's room tracking capabilities. These also aid with keeping track of the controllers and height of the headset. Room and spatial tracking was definitely a standout feature for me during my testing time with PSVR 2, since it was always a very efficient process that never took long enough to be a faff and didn't once let me down.
PSVR 2's Sense controllers are some of the best on the market, for sure. They fit comfortably in the hand, are surprisingly lightweight, and feature haptic feedback, trigger resistance, and capacitive sensors that all make you feel so present when playing games like Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge. PSVR 2 also gives you haptic feedback in the headband itself, which is an ingenious piece of design that feels amazing every time it's used.
Lastly, but definitely not least, is PSVR 2's Cinematic Mode, which lets you access non-VR PS5 content with the headset on, displaying it on the incredibly sharp OLED panel. This is my favorite PSVR 2 feature so far, and I think it goes a long way to adding more value if you don't have the option to play a lot of VR games. This brings us neatly on to...
PSVR 2 games
At launch, the games offering is perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses of PSVR 2. Although there are plenty of options, especially for folks who haven't experienced a lot of virtual reality before, the only flagship game that's been made specifically for PSVR 2's launch is Horizon Call of the Mountain. This is the only title that properly makes use of the next-gen features in an all-in-one package, because it's been designed for this VR platform specifically.
There are absolutely other standouts - Resident Evil Village VR, No Man's Sky, and Gran Turismo 7 are getting free updates to VR. Elsewhere, there are some excellent VR experiences like The Last Clockwinder, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge, Kayak VR, and What the Bat.
While it's easy to make the argument that the lacklustre game library at launch means PSVR 2 is not worth a buy yet (an argument I can absolutely stand behind), there have been very few big console hardware releases that haven't been met with the "there aren't enough games at launch" line. If Sony gives PSVR 2 the same kind of support that it did PSVR, the games offering will indubitably be worth it in the long run.
For more information about our top PSVR 2 game picks, check out our best PSVR 2 games list.
Who should buy PSVR 2?
PSVR 2 is an undeniably expensive piece of kit, even if it has great value for money in the VR space. When you weigh up the price of PSVR 2 against the cost of the average rent cheque, utility budget, grocery shop, or even against the cost of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, you can't deny that it's a lot of money. For that reason, we wouldn't recommend everyone run out and buy a PSVR 2 as a matter of urgency.
But for a lot of people, PSVR 2 is easy to recommend. Take a look at the list below. I think you should buy PSVR 2 if...
- You're someone who has a vested interest in playing VR games.
- If you have the money to spend on it.
- You got a lot of use out of PSVR.
- You want a more accessible VR platform in terms of price without compromising on high-end features and specs.
- If you have enough space in their homes to play VR games standing up - some games require a generous amount of space.
- You're a PS5 owner who wants a futureproofed device that can also act as a second means of displaying PS5 games (Cinematic Mode is excellent for this).
- You don't have the budget for PC VR gaming.
- You're a gamer who is interested in VR, but not interested in the Metaverse.
- You're a PS5 owner who wants a display with a 120Hz refresh rate, but you don't have use for a monitor or a higher-end TV.
Who shouldn't buy PSVR 2?
If you don't fall into the categories above, maybe think about waiting for PSVR 2's price to drop if you're still keen to get one. On the list below, I've tried to think of people who won't get a lot of value out of PSVR 2, or at least should wait until there are more games available to play, and when the price inevitably drops.
- People who are feeling the cost of living squeeze (food is more important, this can wait).
- If you don't have the budget to buy VR games for PSVR 2 - at the moment, these aren't free on PS+, either.
- People who frequently feel nauseous while playing VR games.
- If you aren't actually interested in VR gaming, there's no need to buy one.
- People who feel the pressure to "keep up" with every bit of PlayStation Hardware - no point buying something for the sake of it, especially when it's over $500 / £500.
- People who already have a VR headset for PC - there are likely more games on PC than there will be for PSVR 2.
- People who are interested in owning a VR headset that's geared at Metaverse concepts.
Overall - Is PSVR 2 worth it?
I would argue PSVR 2 is absolutely worth it, both in terms of price and hype. As a VR headset, it has so much value, and is a lot of fun to use. It doesn't come with half the amount of faff, or money, that PC VR gaming typically brings to the table, and in months and years to come there are bound to be great games on offer.
Even if there aren't that many VR games available, PSVR 2 can still be worth it thanks to the Cinematic Mode, which essentially gives you another display to use that locks you into the best PS5 games and lets you experience them in brand new ways.
I wouldn't argue that it's an emergency, and that you need to pre-order one right now. This platform will only get better with time and with Sony's support. Even if it isn't worth it immediately for the list of people above, I'd be surprised if PSVR 2 wasn't worth it in the long run. Overall, it's so much more than a console peripheral or even one of the best PS5 accessories. This, like PSVR, is a new way to play, and an excellent way to further explore the world of video games.
Gearing up for PC VR? You might want to check out the best CPUs for gaming, the best GPUs for gaming, and the best SSDs for gaming.