It’s not controversial to say that the PSVR is one of the most successful premium VR products on the market. Instead of needing a powerful PC to drive something like an Oculus Rift, all you need is a PSVR and a $299 base model PS4. Sony have innovated quite a lot to get a good VR experience on such humble hardware and many of the PSVR’s exclusive titles are legitimately innovative.
Given that the PSVR headset is already pretty good (and gave us the excellent halo headband design) it would be pretty great if current PSVR owners could port their hardware forward and the good news is that for the most part you can!
PSVR Compatibility With PS5
The compatibility of the PSVR with the PS5 is really old news at this point. Lead PS5 architect Mark Cerny himself confirmed in an interview with Wired that the PS5 is compatible with the PSVR. He did not however elaborate on how it would work or if anything beyond the headset itself was included in that compatibility. After all, the PS4 camera and PS Move controllers are essential to PSVR. Yet the move controllers need a camera and the PS4 camera has a proprietary connector. The good news is that Sony have not officially cleared the situation around PSVR accessory compatibility.
PSVR Peripheral Compatibility With PS5
In an August 3rd blog post, Sony confirmed that the PS5 would be compatible with the PS Aim, PS Move, PS4 Camera and Dualshock 4 will work with the PS5. Although when it comes to the PS4 DualShock controller it will only work with PlayStation 4 games.
When it comes to the question of the PS4 camera and it’s connector, Sony confirmed that current PSVR users will receive a free adapter to convert the PS4 Camera to USB. So if you currently own a complete PSVR setup, you can transition it over to the PS5 without putting down any additional money.
Game Backwards Compatibility
The question of backwards compatibility for PS4 games (including PSVR PS4 games) isn’t entirely clear yet. Sony has confirmed that the PS5 has native “legacy” modes for the PS4 and PS4 Pro. This means that the console can present an environment to PS4 games that’s identical to what they expect from the respective PS4 systems. In theory this should mean that any PS4 game inserted into the PS5 should play without any extra work needed on the game itself.
Then, additionally, some PS4 games will take advantage of PS5 “boost” mode. This will enhance PS4 games to have graphical quality, resolution and frame rates beyond what the PS4 could achieve. Sony have already tested and certified 100 games for boost mode and have indicated that thousands of titles are being evaluated. Sony has said they are confident that at least 4000 titles will work with the boost mode eventually.
What About PSVR 2?
While it’s fantastic that the PSVR is compatible with the PS5, what PSVR fans are probably keen to know is when the PSVR 2 will be announced. You can read more about our thoughts regarding the PSVR 2 here.
The long and short of it is that Sony isn’t under a heck of a lot of pressure to release the PSVR 2. Largely thanks to their decision around backwards compatibility. It means that new PSVR games will have to support all PSVR headsets. It also means that developers already have the entire million-strong PSVR user base to develop games for on the PS5.
That being said, the PSVR is in serious need of an update. PSVR is so cheap partly because Sony pulled together a bunch of existing hardware. The PS4 camera could already track the light on the controller and was backwards compatible with the PS Move controllers, which are actually PlayStation 3 peripherals!
Modern VR headsets have incredibly, inside-out tracking solutions that are incredibly accurate at translating movement in 3D space. We’ve recently tested the Oculus Quest and its tracking system is virtually flawless.
The screen resolution and screens themselves in the headset need a serious upgrade as well and 110-degree field of vision figures are becoming the norm in higher-end headsets. Which means Sony has a lot of scope to improve the VR experience in the next generation while still offering scalability with their existing headset.
Why PS5 Is So Important For VR
Sony pulled off the impossible with the PSVR. For about $800 you could buy a complete tethered, premium VR system. If you were one of the 100 million people who bought a PS4 regardless, that barrier to entry was halved, Underpowered as the PS4 is, PSVR works. With more than a million PSVR units out in the wild, the PS5 can offer those users a serious increase in fidelity, performance and immersion. With a GPU with reportedly more than 10 teraflops in power, far more than current VR-ready PC minimums. That finally opens up mainstream console gaming to truly high fidelity VR. Comparable to what’s possible on PC.
We don’t know yet what a PS5 will cost, but speculation sits somewhere around the $500 mark. That means you can buy PC VR grade equipment for under $1000 and if you want to wait for PSVR 2, I really don’t expect it to push the total cost of the hardware over that level either.
PlayStation is currently the only console maker that offers VR. Not counting the weird Google Cardboard like Labo experiment on Switch. So this move towards full backwards compatibility for existing PSVR can only be an amazing boon to VR as a mainstream technology. I’m now even more excited for the PS5’s launch than ever!