Sony took seven long years between the launch of the original PlayStation VR and now the proposed 2023 release of the PlayStation VR2, and apparently, the company is more than comfortable leaving its old headset in the dust.
Old PS VR games will not be playable on the new PS VR2, according to a comment from senior vice president of platform experience Hideaki Nishino on the Official PlayStation Podcast.
Too different — The issue, per official Sony brass, is that PS VR2 is just too different from the PS VR, what with its Quest 2-style inside-out tracking and newer, modern features. @nibellion on Twitter broke out Nishino’s specific explanation.
“PS VR games are not compatible with PS VR2, because PS VR2 is designed to deliver a truly next-generation VR experience,” Nishino explains. “PS VR2 has much more advanced features like all new controllers with haptic feedback and adaptive triggers...inside-out tracking, eye-tracking...3D audio...and 4K HDR, of course. This means developing games for PS VR2 requires a whole different approach than the original PS VR.”
Not a great excuse — PS VR2 is clearly a much more powerful, capable, and enjoyable VR experience if early hands-on impressions are any indication. And Sony definitely wants this headset to be more successful than its previous one, with big plans for exclusive games tied to its most valuable IP. But that’s not really an excuse for not offering backwards compatibility.
There are diehard PS VR fans who built up libraries of games they won’t be able to play without hauling out an outdated headset; there are developers who might not want to spend the resources porting an old game, and other ones who might do the work and charge even more for a game people already own. The benefits of developing for PS VR2 will clearly be big, but it really just seems like a decision was made to not spend the money to figure out backwards compatibility and hope customers won’t mind.
PlayStation doesn’t have a great track record with backward compatibility — you need a subscription to a game streaming service to play PS3 games on a PS5 — but this still seems like a decision that should have gone another way, or at least been explained better.