PlayStation VR2 Gets Bad News for PSVR Players

Sony‘s next-generation virtual reality headset for PlayStation 5, the highly anticipated PlayStation VR2, recently received some disappointing news for current PSVR players. Despite high hopes that the PSVR2 would retain backward compatibility with the PSVR game library, Sony confirmed this would not be the case – outraging many loyal PSVR owners who will be unable to play their existing VR catalog on the new hardware.

PSVR‘s Surprising Success Sets High Hopes for PSVR2

The original PSVR headset first launched in October 2016 as an accessory for the PlayStation 4. Against a landscape of expensive and complex PC-based virtual reality headsets, the PSVR stood out as an affordable, console-friendly option perfect for PlayStation gamers.

Retailing for $399, the PSVR sold exceptionally well over its lifespan – recent figures indicate over 6 million headsets were sold, exceeding even Sony‘s expectations. The PSVR developed a beloved library of VR-exclusive games, plus added VR modes to popular PlayStation titles like Gran Turismo Sport and No Man‘s Sky.

As rumors around a next-generation "PSVR 2" began circulating to coincide with the PlayStation 5‘s late 2020 launch, PSVR fans waited with bated breath for an evolved, state-of-the-art Sony VR experience. And with the PS5 natively supporting PS4 backward compatibility, many assumed continuing PSVR support would be a given.

Shock Announcement: The PSVR2 Will Not Be Backward Compatible

That hopeful assumption was shattered in early 2023 however, when Sony confirmed that the PSVR2 would not retain backward compatibility with original PSVR games. Fueled by comments from SIE CEO Jim Ryan dismissing backward compatibility as a way to "hold innovation back", this news outraged PSVR owners who suddenly faced an obsolete VR library they could no longer access.

Comparison of PSVR and PSVR 2 Headsets

The PSVR (left) relied on external cameras, controllers, and processing units while the PSVR2 (right) features updated internal specs and tracking.

The core issue comes down to the vast differences in technology between the original PSVR of 2016, and the cutting-edge PSVR2 Sony plans to launch in 2023. While both units are VR headsets tethered to PlayStation consoles, their tracking capabilities, display technologies, input methods and connectivity rely on completely different foundations that would make backward compatibility extremely challenging if not impossible.

PSVR vs PSVR2: A Generational Leap in Capabilities

To understand the connectivity rift between the PSVR ecosystem and the upcoming PSVR2 platform, we have to examine just how much VR technology has evolved since 2016 across some key areas:

Tracking and Cameras

  • PSVR: Relies on external PlayStation Camera tracking lights on headset and controllers
  • PSVR2: Features cameras built into the headset for advanced inside-out tracking that does not require external cameras


  • PSVR: Single 5.7" OLED display with 1080p resolution
  • PSVR2: Dual 2.89" OLED displays with 4K HDR resolution (2,000 x 2,040 per eye)


  • PSVR: PlayStation Move motion controllers, DualShock 4 controllers
  • PSVR2: All-new VR2 Sense controllers with haptic feedback


  • PSVR: HDMI and USB connections via Processing Unit breakout box
  • PSVR2: Single USB-C cable connecting directly to PS5 console

As demonstrated above, the PSVR 2 is leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor, bringing dramatic improvements that ironically also prevent any backward compatibility at the system level. Even if PSVR games could be reconfigured to work on a software level, the new headset simply cannot support the older tracking systems, input methods and graphics pipelines relied on previously.

Sony could consider remastering or optimizing select PSVR titles for PSVR2 – similar to PS4 games re-released as enhanced PS5 titles. But for the majority of games, expecting ongoing support and access is simply unrealistic from a technical perspective. Gamers feeling misled by Sony here may have unreasonable expectations around the persistently modular nature of PC-based gaming ecosystems.

Navigating the Messy Landscape of PlayStation VR Compatibility

With compatibility between PlayStation device generations continuing to fragment VR support across hardware types and software libraries, understanding what works with what has become increasingly convoluted.

Here is a breakdown of which games and headsets can be used where:

CategoryOriginal PSVRPSVR2
Headset CompatibilityPS4, PS5 via backward compatibilityPS5 only
Controller CompatibilityDualShock 4, PlayStation MovePlayStation VR2 Sense only
Game CompatibilityPS4/PSVR games onlyPSVR2 games only
Library Size600+ PSVR gamesTBD at launch

To illustrate the messy compatibility issues:

  • PSVR will work on both PS4 and PS5, only supporting original PSVR games
  • PSVR2 will only work on PS5, only supporting games designed specifically for it
  • Neither headset will support the "cross-platform" VR games designed for the other

This puts PlayStation gamers in the frustrating position of needing to own both headsets if they ever want full access to the complete PlayStation VR game library. While Sony has not announced plans for a PSVR2 game remaster program, they also haven‘t explicitly ruled it out. Gamers can only hope for a limited selection of PSVR classics re-tooled to work on the new hardware over time.

PSVR or PSVR 2? Navigating the PlayStation VR Purchase Decision

For PlayStation gamers deciding whether to remain patient with aging PSVR tech or take the expensive plunge into PSVR 2, there are convincing arguments either way:

Reasons to Stick with Your Trusty PSVR

  • Extremely affordable now as a "last-gen" device
  • Massive 600+ game library with many bargains
  • Finally fully realized with PS5 enhancements
  • Wireless adapter releasing in 2023

Reasons to Upgrade to Next-Gen PSVR2

  • Cutting-edge display, tracking, audio technology
  • Enables next wave of new VR gaming content
  • Tighter integration and optimizations for PS5 power
  • Future-proofed to be viable for 5+ years

Ultimately there is no unambiguously superior option. Players adamant about continuing their existing PSVR game collection should wait for fire sale bundles unloading old headsets and accessories. Next-generation early adopters with some extra cash should prepare for the PSVR2 launch later this year.

As with any console transition timing, there are compelling arguments on both sides. But all PlayStation VR fans undoubtedly feel stung by Sony‘s tone-deaf refusal to support carrying our libraries forward into this exciting new virtual reality era.

Frequently Asked Questions on PSVR Backward Compatibility

Do all PlayStation 4 games work in VR?

No, only games specifically designed and tagged as PSVR-compatible will work in virtual reality. Non-VR PS4 games cannot be loaded into the PSVR headset by default.

Can you connect and use PSVR on a gaming PC instead of PlayStation?

Not natively or officially, no. There are unofficial third-party drivers that technically enable using PSVR as a "Riftcat" substitute for SteamVR, but latency is very high. PSVR was designed exclusively for PlayStation consoles.

Will the upcoming PSVR 2 wireless adapter work on original PSVR headsets?

No, Sony has only announced PlayStation VR2 compatibility for the wireless VR adapter expected in 2023. The original PSVR units do not contain the internal hardware needed to communicate wirelessly with the PS5 console.

Can you use multiple PSVR headsets on one PlayStation console simultaneously?

Unfortunately no. The PlayStation console OS only allows pairing with one designated VR headset at a time. There is no native facility for local multiplayer between multiple headsets on a single PS4 or PS5.

At the end of the day, Sony could have avoided much of this consumer confusion by simply adding backward compatibility to the PSVR 2 hardware. But as virtual reality pushes immersive gaming to the next level, radical technological evolutions are also breaking some norms around cross-platform ecosystems we‘ve come to expect elsewhere. PlayStation gamers seeking continued life from their PSVR libraries will remain out of luck once they upgrade.

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