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Hands-on PSVR 2 tests: is it better than Quest 2?

PSVR 2 hands-on
PSVR 2 hands-on

Hands-on tests of the Playstation VR 2 show that it is significantly better than its predecessor.  But the real question is whether it’s better than the Quest 2.

Background: the VR market

Playstation VR was the most popular VR headset in 2019
Playstation VR was the most popular VR headset in 2019

Playstation VR had been the most popular VR headset, reaching 5 million units sold by the end of 2019, which was remarkable at a time when other VR headsets were estimated to be selling in the tens of thousands.

But in 2020, Oculus released the Quest 2, which went on to completely dominate the VR market, with over 14 million units sold as of 2022.  Not only did it have cutting edge wireless tracking technology, but in addition, it could also be used as a wireless desktop VR headset.  All for a price that started at $299, thanks to heavy subsidies from Facebook.

From left to right: Oculus Quest, Quest 2 and Rift S
From left to right: Oculus Quest, Quest 2 and Rift S

However, since then, a decrease in advertising revenue has forced Meta to increase the price of the Quest 2 to $399.  Can PSVR 2 reclaim the throne?

Playstation VR 2

Sony began revealing details about the PSVR 2 in 2021 and finally showed what the new headset looked like early this year.  Sony showed an impressive trailer for one of the PS VR2’s launch titles, Horizon Call of the Mountain.

The actual release of the PSVR 2 won’t be until early 2023 but there have already been at least two hands-on tests of the Playstation VR 2 — by The Verge and by IGN.  Here’s The Verge’s preview of the PSVR 2.

The tests show that PSVR 2 is far better than its predecessor — with cutting edge graphics, a much simpler setup with no external cameras required, and new controllers that use the PS5’s Adaptive Triggers to provide variable resistance.  None of that is really of any surprise.  But the question is whether PSVR 2 will be better than Quest 2?

PSVR 2 vs Quest 2

The Quest 2 uses a mobile processor, whereas the PSVR 2 uses the power of the PS5 to deliver desktop VR graphics.  However, Quest 2 can also be used as a desktop VR headset.  When used with a VR-ready PC, the Quest 2 can provide games on par with those of the PS VR2.  Moreover, it can do so wirelessly, which, if you haven’t tried it, makes VR far more immersive than having a cable getting in your way and constantly breaking immersion.

Having an untethered headset is such a significant improvement that I am willing to put up with slightly worse graphics to play wirelessly on a Quest 2 instead of one of my tethered VR headsets.

One significant constraint to the popularity of these VR headsets is the hardware required for them.  To use Quest 2 for desktop VR, you need a VR-ready PC, which can be costly.  However, if you already have a decent processor, the price of a VR-ready graphics card has come down significantly in the last few months because of the cryptocurrency crash.

As for the PSVR 2, you’ll need a PS5, which is still very hard to find without paying a premium to scalpers.  (Here’s how I got a PS5 at MSRP.) But if Sony can find a way to make more PS5s available, it would be much more accessible for the average person than putting together a VR-ready PC.

In the end, there might not be a battle between the PSVR 2 and Quest 2 because they arguably address different markets.  Many console gamers would never consider playing on a PC, particularly if it requires them to upgrade their graphics cards.  Meanwhile, most PC gamers would feel no need to get a PS5 when they already have invested in gaming PCs that have graphics that can match those of the PS5.

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Mic Ty

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