Unleashing VR Brilliance on PC: The Sony Saga of the PSVR 2

When Sony unveiled the PlayStation VR2 earlier this year, it was billed as a total paradigm shift for gaming and those kinds of words are usually greeted with excitement. Unfortunately, that excitement has been tempered somewhat by news that Sony is set to allow PSVR 2 games to be played on PCs. In this guide, we take a closer look at what that actually means and why – despite some killer features – you might want to think twice about attaching Sony’s latest headset to your PC.

Decoding the Adapter Dilemma

Also, if you want to hook up the Sony PSVR 2 with your PC, you’ll have to pay extra for a special adapter, since most desktop PCs don’t have a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort over USB-C, which is what is needed for an uncompressed video signal to the headset. Although $60 for the adapter won’t bankrupt you, it adds a cost to an expensive headset that feels unnecessary – especially since there are gaming laptops that natively support DisplayPort over USB-C. This tweak seems unusually necessary.

The Eyetracking Enigma

The Sony PSVR 2’s eye-tracking is touted as a key feature that will dramatically change how games are played, and how they can be optimised to respond to a player’s eyes. But the PC VR port doesn’t have eye-tracking. It could have been used to enable foveated rendering that sharpens what the player is looking at while dimming the rest, and it could have forced developers to change their software to make use of this and other eye-tracking features. It would have heightened the experience. It’s a bit disappointing to get a PC port of a new, fancy headset that doesn’t have these features.

A Dim View Without HDR

Though the visuals in Sony PSVR 2 are certainly colourful thanks to its OLED screen, console users will miss out on yet another of its best features: High Dynamic Range (HDR). Sunlight in the Gran Turismo 7 HDR mode seems to pop out of the screen, but this level of realism will sadly never cross the console divide.

Limited Rendering and Lackluster Haptics

The lack of eye-tracking, doubly depriving the potential for foveated rendering, means that PC users are stuck with a watered-down version that demands your gaze remain fixed forward to avoid a blurry experience. The more complex haptics and adaptive triggers that enhance the overall feel of your virtual body in PS5 VR won’t be matched when headset inputs are sent to a PC. All this means that you’re not experiencing the leap forward in immersion that Sony has otherwise accomplished.

A Provision for the Privileged Few?

Against the backdrop of these constraints, a natural question arises: Who is the Sony PSVR 2’s PC variant for? On the surface, it seems to be for a niche slice of the edge case market of existing PSVR 2 owners who also happen to own a VR-ready PC. The Sony PSVR 2 is estimated to cost between $400-$550. Additionally, the headset lacks key features such as passthrough, advanced sensors and controllers that PC headsets already come with. If you add in the costs of the PC and the peripherals required for access, the proposition can quickly become expensive. With that said, even with those limitations, the Sony PSVR 2 offers levels of fidelity that are simply unmatched among PC-compatible VR headsets, especially if you factor in its resolution, refresh rate and comfort.

The Sony Legacy

By publicly embracing VR early with the original PlayStation VR at a time when the tech wasn’t widely reliable or innovative, Sony made a big bet that paid off, positioning itself as a leader in the immersive gaming space. The PSVR 2 represents an incremental iteration that continues to bring high-end visuals, precision haptics and smooth controls, all while the library of VR titles for the platform grows steadily. Bringing the best elements of a platform typically reserved for enthusiasts and PC space, Sony is walking a foundational path towards making premium VR more accessible. Despite the bumps in the road, the company appears steadfast in its commitment.

But the PSVR 2, regardless of how its PC support is eventually received, showcases that vision in the best way possible, proving how possible future tech can look when the tech and the vision are working together.

Jun 10, 2024
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