I’ve been thoroughly enjoying my time with PSVR 2, thanks to new games such as Horizon: Call of the Mountain and some stellar ports, such as Kayak VR and Tetris Effect. Free VR updates for existing titles on launch day for Gran Turismo 7 and Resident Evil Village add a delicious layer of icing on the cake, too.
Having great games is one thing, but even many of the best VR headsets fail to make them user-friendly or foolproof, either through design or necessity. Excellent headsets like Valve Index require the setup of additional cameras to work properly, which can strictly define your play space; a problem if you don’t have much room to begin with. Similarly, the original PlayStation VR was a pain to set up, with several wires and an adapter box needed to function.
My favorite thing about PSVR 2 is that it sidesteps these frustrations entirely. And while an expensive piece of kit, its simple setup helps it to feel like a convenient peripheral for your PS5, rather than a burden that requires a heavy helping of real estate.
Unlike its cumbersome predecessor, PSVR 2’s setup is blissfully simple. It’s one USB-C cable into your PS5 and you’re golden. No extra boxes or adapters, no delicately placing cameras just right like they’re the safety flags in a tight game of Minesweeper.
Some VR headsets have gone a step better by being entirely wireless, and that kind of convenience can’t be beaten. Headsets like Meta Quest 2 and Pico 4 don’t require connection to another PC or console. The PSVR 2 does require you to hook it up to your PS5, but the single wire setup is a damn sight better than what we had to deal with on PS4 with Sony’s first foray into VR.
Sony has done a great job with the initial PSVR 2 setup process, too, as it keeps first-time VR users in mind. The setup walks you through concepts like defining a play area and how to properly affix the headset to your head for maximum comfort and immersion.
On top of that, PSVR 2’s setup phase introduces users to the passthrough camera function, which enables a view of your surroundings without needing to take the headset off. This is brilliant for locating the device’s bespoke Sense controllers and making final checks to your play space without having to go through the trouble of removing the headset and risk upsetting your sweet spot.
Lastly comes a feature that you don’t see on many contemporary VR headsets:eye tracking. The PSVR 2 setup does an excellent job of introducing the concept, and walking you through a simple calibration process where you direct a pointer with your eyes, training the headset to your movements. It works amazingly well, and enhances games like Rez Infinite where you can target and lock onto enemies with your eyes.
Simplicity creates longevity
The PSVR 2’s simplicity might not seem like a big deal, but it’s the headset’s ease that will keep me coming back to it time and again. I think about how the convenience of the Nintendo Switch’s portability makes it very easy just to pick up and play for a bite-sized session. You take it out of the dock and you’re good to go. There’s an incentive to play there, knowing I’ll be loading into one of the best Nintendo Switch games in a matter of seconds.
That same ease of access is there with PSVR 2, albeit in a slightly different form. Knowing I can plug the thing in as easily as I would a wired controller encourages me to hop in for a quick VR session without worrying about extra wires and the like.
The PSVR 2 quick menu feeds into this, too, and is accessible via the PS5 dashboard. With this, you can very quickly adjust your play area if you fancy something a bit more active like Horizon’s frantic rock clambering. Or, adjust headset calibration if you feel something is slightly out of alignment.
It’s nice to have a console-based VR headset that puts convenience first. As PSVR 2’s really the only headset in town on that front at present, it sets a high standard for others wanting to bring similar hardware beyond the realm of PC. Now, as VR tech improves and we start seeing more frequent and affordable headsets, I hope creators of these devices will take a leaf from Sony’s book on PSVR 2.