Sony PlayStation is building on the appeal of VR for gamers with the launch of the new PS VR 2, Sony’s latest VR headset.
It was designed to work with the PlayStation 5, Sony’s next-gen console plagued by production delays due to chronic semiconductor shortages.
But at £530 during a cost of living crisis, it remains to be seen if there’s demand for a product that only really appeals to a niche of gamers.
It’s no secret that PlayStation fans are usually willing to pay a hefty price for their tech – but it still seems like a lot of money for those already using a PS5.
During the pandemic, “scalpers” snagged consoles and resold them at a sometimes hugely inflated price. They didn’t seem to have too much trouble selling on the PS5 at the time.
Investment Director at AJ Bell, Russ Mold, told Sky News: “As semiconductor companies ramp up supply, it will be interesting to see if VR launches like Sony’s continue to drive demand, although inflation and rising housing costs are a potential.” limiting factor.”
Stockists have reported stable supplies, possibly indicating that supply chain issues have finally been resolved.
The premium price tag delivers premium technology. The PSVR 2 has a much higher resolution of 2000 x 2040 pixels per eye compared to 960 x 1080 pixels per eye on the original model. This means that the images on the become sharper and more realistic PSVR2 .
The PSVR 2 features OLED displays instead of LED displays, which Sony claims will result in truer blacks and more vivid colors.
OLED displays also have faster response times and lower latency, reducing motion blur and nausea.
The addition of eye-tracking technology adjusts focus and graphics based on where you’re looking, allowing for more natural interactions and dynamic rendering, optimizing performance and quality.
Meta released its Quest 2 VR headset in 2020. So far there hasn’t been any competition from Xbox, although rumors have been circulating that one has been in the works for some time.
Former Meta employee and tech expert Will Guyatt told Sky News: “When it comes to technical prowess and horsepower, the new PS VR2 is literally miles ahead of Meta’s entire Oculus range, including the recently launched Pro headset – almost triple costs a lot.
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“Sony’s diverse range of launch titles is not just a showcase of the technology, it proves that VR has a future that will improve from generation to generation.”
The new model will launch with 37 VR-enabled games, with Horizon Call of the Mountain taking center stage, building on the recently released Horizon Forbidden West.
Sol Rogers, global director of innovation at Magnopus, a company that creates bespoke VR experiences for companies like Disney, and chair of the Immersive Entertainment Advisory Group for the BAFTAs, believes the launch “will bring in a new crowd.”
He told Sky News: “Demand for VR gaming is increasing as technology improves and the VR ecosystem expands, making it more accessible.”
And he pointed out that Apple will also enter the VR market this year and will certainly start with apps on the hardware.
Sony is meddling in an industry that is partnering with competitors including the Meta Quest 2: a standalone VR headset that also connects to a PC and retails at £399.
Then there’s the HP Reverb G2, which costs £599, and the Valve Index: a high-end PC-based VR headset, which costs £919.
PSVR2 will be a litmus test for the level of discretionary consumer spending in the gaming industry and the popularity of VR gaming. It will also draw attention to Microsoft as it prepares its rumored Xbox competitor.
Anyway, all hardware manufacturers are betting on the growth of the VR market – only time will tell if this is the case.