Even though PSVR 2 isn’t even out yet, I’m convinced that Sony already has a killer app for its virtual reality headset in Gran Turismo 7.
Polyphony Digital’s racing sim is an absolute delight, and I’ve been tearing up the tracks, completing license tests, and collecting cars like they’re going out of fashion ever since its release. I’ve even enjoyed the more casual modes like Music Rally, which has introduced me to the marvelous work of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and their ‘Hooked On Classics’ albums.
But what makes GT7 so appealing is how it showcases almost every element of what the PS5 can do. It really brings the console’s feature set to the fore, like the best SSD for PS5 that eliminates practically all load times, the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers that make you feel like you’re in the driver’s seat, and even the game’s 3D audio, which sounds simply phenomenal when the rain is crashing down all around you. (The PS5 DualSense can also turn into an extremely convincing steering wheel using the Six-Axis gyro if you haven’t given that a try yet.)
All these things combined help deliver a truly immersive racing experience, and it’s helped make Gran Turismo 7 one of the best games I’ve played on PS5 to date. But then it struck me: Sony has the potential to make it even better.
Cue PSVR 2. Sony’s next-gen virtual reality headset is scheduled to arrive at the end of this year (supply issues permitting), and I think it could be a match made in heaven for Gran Turismo 7, and developer Polyphony already had previous experience to prove this to be true.
I’d love to see the game support the new virtual reality headset, as the prospect of being able to get a true sense of what it feels like while at the wheel of some of the world’s finest cars has me giddy with excitement.
We already know that Sony’s dabbled with virtual reality in Gran Turismo before – GT Sport had PSVR support, after all – but it was extremely limited due to the humble power of the PS4 and the technical limitations of the headset itself. You could only race against a single AI opponent or view car models in a showroom environment, and the low-resolution display and downgraded graphics took a lot of the sheen off GT Sport’s otherwise impressive visuals.
That doesn’t have to be the case for PSVR 2 and GT7, though. Not only is the PS5 far more powerful than the PS4, but the PSVR 2’s high-end specs completely destroy those of the original headset: 4K resolution per eye, 120Hz refresh rate, eye-tracking, a wider field of view, and a ventilation port to keep you cool during the final stretch of the Nürburgring. The new headset even has a rumble motor built-in, which I’m sure could be used in a variety of interesting ways.
In theory, Gran Turismo 7 could deliver an incredible virtual reality experience, then. But I also think that making an existing PS5 title VR compatible has more chance of attracting people to Sony’s new headset, than a game that’s been created solely with virtual reality in mind, like Horizon Call of the Wild.
If people are already enjoying GT7, like me, and want to take things to the next level, I feel like there’s more chance of them picking up PSVR 2 than being convinced by a game they’ve never played, and one that can only be enjoyed using the headset.
Gran Turismo is also Sony’s best-selling IP of all time (opens in new tab), selling upwards of 80 million units. It means the racing sim has an extremely broad appeal which, if the PSVR 2 is to be successful, is a must.
There’s a clear potential for Gran Turismo 7 to become the killer app to showcase just how great PSVR 2 can be, and I hope Sony and Polyphony are in agreement to build upon the tentative steps took in GT Sport to deliver a genuinely excellent virtual reality showcase. I mean, who wouldn’t want to feel like they’re behind the wheel of a Bugatti Veyron, or dare we say a Willys Jeep?