The PSVR 2 is going to suffer from severe sticker shock. On top of having to own a PS5, the headset costs $550. I’m mentioning this up front because that’s likely to turn a lot of people off before I even get to the perks of the system. But if you can bring yourself to spend more on an accessory than the console itself, there’s a lot to love here.
Sony’s new headset is a massive improvement over its predecessor in almost every way. Gone are the external camera and processor boxes. Now, you can just plug the headset directly into the front of your PlayStation 5. The old Move controllers (which were initially designed to compete with Nintendo’s Wiimotes) have also been upgraded to more robust Sense controllers. It can even track your eye movements inside the headset itself.
In short, it’s one of the best VR headsets you can get right now. But does that make it worth it?
A New Kind of Comfort
One of the most significant hurdles to VR adoption is making a giant piece of tech that can sit on your face without being uncomfortable. Conventional wisdom is that the best way to do that would be to make them smaller—in an Iron Man-esque fantasy world, a simple pair of glasses would be ideal—but Sony has taken a different route. And for the better.
The headset itself is fairly bulky, but not heavy, per se. The lens module can slide forward or back along a track, and the headband is sturdy enough to sit on your head and distribute its weight. On the rear, there’s a large dial that can be used to tighten the headband to your comfort. Compared to the Meta Quest 2—even using its upgraded strap that really should be standard—the PSVR 2 is much more comfortable.
The lenses inside the headset can be adjusted using a dial on the outside that will move them closer or further apart. This is crucial, because if the lenses are misaligned, everything can get very blurry and difficult to focus on. For a lot of people, this is likely part of the reason they get headaches or motion sickness while using a headset. So, it’s welcome to see the control so conveniently placed.
Finally, there are a pair of earbuds that plug into the rear of the headset. While technically you can use any wired headphones you’d like, these included ones are designed to attach to the headset and can be placed in little divots on the side when not in use. The earbuds are … fine. The audio quality is nothing to write home about, but it’s much easier to get immersed in a game when the sound isn’t coming from your TV across the room.
Speaking of, another nifty feature of the PSVR 2 is that it automatically streams what the VR user is seeing to the TV. Other systems often have a complex or finicky system to pull this off, which is really boring for anyone else just watching one person wave their arms around in the living room.
Eye on the Prize
There are still precious few games for the PSVR 2. The headset isn’t backward compatible with previous PSVR titles, and the huge libraries currently on platforms like PC or the Quest will take time to port over. But in some ways, that might be for the best. The PSVR 2 has features that most headsets don’t have and, when a game makes proper use of them, they’re incredible.