PlayStation should be making more noise about PSVR 2 demos

psvr 2 playstation store
(Image credit: Sony)

Investing in a new headset can be a hard sell even for the most dedicated VR aficionados. That’s especially true when the PSVR 2 costs £529 / $549 on top of, you know, having a PS5 – something that’s not even been that easy to buy until relatively recently. It sucks then that on that fateful delivery day, unless you’ve bought the Horizon Call of the Mountain bundle or are prepared to pay another £59.99 / $59.99 for the standalone purchase of what’s easily the best PSVR 2 game around right now, there’s nothing that you can dive into straight away without additional cost. That is, unless you know about the PSVR 2 demos hidden away in the PlayStation Store.

Sony just announced "there will be a sampling of game demos or trials available for players to check out when they purchase a PS VR2 headset. Players will initially see the sample content during the onboarding process, and it can also be found on PlayStation Store. This includes demos or trials of Horizon Call of The Mountain, Resident Evil Village, Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge and more." Now, while this is fantastic news, once you're out of that onboarding process it's surprisingly difficult to find those demos in one cohesive collection. Instead, they're hidden away within the store listing for each game, either right up front as an option to download the demo, or further tucked back inside the three-dot menu. Without knowing which games have demos, it's going to be interesting to actually find them all.

Demo demons

hidden psvr 2 playstation store demos section

(Image credit: Sony)

And so I find myself lamenting the good ol’ fashioned demo disc. The original PSVR came with a physical demo disc when it launched back in 2016. It came inside the box for the PSVR itself, and offered access to a small selection of short experiences to give you a taste of the sheer variety of games available on the headset at launch. They ranged from specially made options like the Resident Evil 7 prelude called Kitchen, to more traditional demos for titles like Thumper, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, and Job Simulator. It even included VR Worlds, a kind of demo disc within a demo disc if you will, with a collection of smaller experiences tailored to show off what PSVR was capable of.  

Later on, those demos were added to in the way of two further demo discs, but this time they were digital, easy to download straight from the PlayStation Store. Titled 'PlayStation VR Demo Collection 2' and 'Collection 3' they offered free access to even more slices of PSVR games, expanding the buffet of demos to better reflect the titles that had arrived since that first bundled demo disc. It was a really easy way to get a handle on what exactly owning a PSVR headset got you, what experiences were available through the curation lens of Sony itself. What better way to get recommendations than from the people who literally make the headset (aside from GR+ of course)?

Downloading the Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy's Edge PSVR 2 demo

(Image credit: Sony)

Now, I understand why there isn’t a physical PSVR 2 demo disc, and that’s essentially because the PS5 Digital Edition exists. But, to not have a portion of the PlayStation Store dedicated to such free experiences is a huge missed opportunity. The store should be bursting at the seams with free PSVR 2 game trials, especially as some of the titles available already had PSVR demos… Right now the launch line-up for PSVR 2 is mainly a mix of ports of original PSVR games and titles that have already launched on other VR headsets. Those titles are complemented by the likes of PSVR 2 add-on experiences for Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village, and the aforementioned headliner that is Horizon Call of the Mountain. 

There’s also another value to having those VR demos too – finding your comfort level. VR is such a personal experience that by offering gamers and potential buyers just a little sample of a game, it allows them to work out if it’s for them when it comes to the eventual purchase. That’s even more important with virtual reality than it is with a traditional console or PC game, because not only is there a cost involved, there’s also the idea of comfort. VR games allow us to tackle a wide range of experiences after all, some involving heights and other dangers that are much more visceral and up-close-and-personal than anything in more flat-screen experiences. 

It’s something I’ve experienced first-hand with my experience with various virtual reality headsets over the years. Experiences with VR games and how you feel while playing them can completely change from person to person. While one will be quite happy to dive into virtual reality for hours upon end, another may feel physically nauseous after 10 minutes or so. That’s why being able to test a VR game is additionally important. 

Opening up a PSVR 2 should feel like Christmas morning – full of potential and enthusiasm. But when games are expensive, and – let’s be honest – not always worth replaying or reinvesting in, not having a wealth of well-signposted free content to dive into from day one is remiss. 

Aside from demo access, PSVR 2 also has some other cool features. Check out why this one is Duncan's favorite PSVR 2 feature so far

Sam Loveridge
Global Editor-in-Chief, GamesRadar+

Sam Loveridge is the Global Editor-in-Chief of GamesRadar, and joined the team in August 2017. Sam came to GamesRadar after working at TrustedReviews, Digital Spy, and Fandom, following the completion of an MA in Journalism. In her time, she's also had appearances on The Guardian, BBC, and more. Her experience has seen her cover console and PC games, along with gaming hardware, for a decade, and for GamesRadar, she's in charge of the site's overall direction, managing the team, and making sure it's the best it can be. Her gaming passions lie with weird simulation games, big open-world RPGs, and beautifully crafted indies. She plays across all platforms, and specializes in titles like Pokemon, Assassin's Creed, The Sims, and more. Basically, she loves all games that aren't sports or fighting titles! In her spare time, Sam likes to live like Stardew Valley by cooking and baking, growing vegetables, and enjoying life in the countryside.