A Sony executive confirmed Friday that the PlayStation VR 2 will not be backwards compatible with games developed for the original PlayStation VR.
Sid Shuman, Sony Interactive’s Senior Director of Content Communications, asked Hideaki Nishino, Sony’s Senior Vice President of Platform Experience, if games for the original PSVR could be played on a PSVR2 kit on Official PlayStation Podcast, Episode 439 (his response starts at 29:12).
“PSVR games are not compatible with PSVR2 as PSVR2 is designed to provide a next-gen VR experience,” said Nishino. Nishino listed several “much more advanced features” in the VR2, including new controllers with haptic feedback, adaptive triggers, expanded eye-tracking, and 3D audio. “This means developing games for PSVR2 requires a very different approach than the original PSVR.”
While the answer was emphatically “incompatible,” ruling out all fan hopes, Nishino’s checklist of new VR2 features didn’t clearly explain why the system wouldn’t be able to run less advanced VR1 games.
Consider the Oculus Rift S, which announced a completely different eye-tracking system than its predecessor, the original Oculus Rift. The Rift S retained compatibility with games developed for each Rift system (along with some games for other headsets). It’s been a seamless transition for those who have upgraded their Rift or opted for VR at a later date.
It’s also a disappointing result for some great games that were only available on PlayStation VR. This includes the original Mario caliber Astro Bottricky puzzle game staticsthe VR mode for Resident Evil 7 never released on any other system, exclusively for first-party VR Blood & Truthand a VR mode for obliterate that could only benefit from a VR2 headset.
The lack of compatibility could potentially affect the PSVR2’s far more focused control system, centered around the Sense VR controllers. PSVR players could switch between a DualShock 4 (and even use that gamepad’s motion-sensitive capabilities), PlayStation Move wands, and even the PSVR Aim Cannon. While the PSVR2’s gamepads follow the typical VR design, they have more sophisticated rumbles and “impulse” triggers, borrowed from the PS5’s Dualsense.
Slated for early 2023, PSVR2 received a more formal launch into the world earlier this week when Sony offered hands-and-eyes details of the PS5 add-on at Tokyo Games Show 2022. The VR2 offers several quality of life upgrades over its predecessor, including a single wired connection, a precise interpupillary distance (IPD) calibration tool, and an improved space tracking system. This followed earlier disclosures of the system’s base specifications.
Sony offers a camera adapter to play PSVR games on the PlayStation 5, which keeps the system functional. But that’s no great consolation for the notable games that have been stranded on the island of previous-gen VR experiences.