Sony continues its bet on virtual reality with the PlayStation VR2, its new gaming headset

Sony’s second virtual reality headset goes on sale this Wednesday, February 22.

Six and a half years after the release of PS VR, Sony is launching the successor to its virtual reality headset for PlayStation on Wednesday, continuing to display its ambitions in a market that is struggling to attract favor with the general public.

“We think it’s the right time to offer a new headset, more technologically advanced, based on feedback from our first model,” says Nathalie Dacquin, Marketing Director of PlayStation in France.

Thirty titles available

Once on the head, the PS VR2, with its futuristic design, is lighter than its predecessor and displays finer and smoother images. The new levers, in the form of handles, are also easy to handle. In terms of ergonomics, the headset is designed to allow the user to play with glasses and only one cable is needed to connect it to the PlayStation 5.

After getting started in January, Tech&Co’s editorial staff was able to deepen its discovery of the PlayStation VR2 in preview. His test can be found here.

Thirty titles will be compatible at the launch of PS VR2, whether new or updates to existing games such as the racing simulation “Gran Turismo 7”. An online event from the manufacturer already promises to add five games to this list.

“It is obviously the games that will make the success of the helmet”, summarizes Nathalie Dacquin.

The PS VR2 is marketed in several countries, including France (from 600 euros), the United Kingdom (530 pounds sterling) and the United States (550 dollars).

A boom in 2014

Despite a boom in the mid-2010s, symbolized among other things by the acquisition in 2014 of the start-up Oculus by Facebook for 2 billion dollars, virtual reality headsets are not yet as popular as game consoles.

According to the firm CSC Insights, less than 10 million units were delivered worldwide in 2022, all brands combined. For comparison, Sony claims to have sold 30 million PlayStation 5s last year.

Two of the flagship models currently on the market, the Meta Quest 2 and the PICO 4 are sold at more than 400 euros, a potentially dissuasive price for many buyers. PICO 4, developed by ByteDance, the Chinese owner of TikTok, is also not available in the United States. The other major players (HTC, HP, Valve) charge similar prices, if not much higher than those of Meta and ByteDance.

“As with most consumer technologies, the entry of new manufacturers into the market will result in a wide variety of devices appearing at different price points,” said Rick Kowalski, analyst for the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). , which organizes the CES tech show in Las Vegas.

“Competition and economies of scale tend to drive prices down over time,” he adds.

The upcoming launch by Apple of its virtual reality headset is also mentioned, but the iPhone manufacturer has not yet made any official announcement.

Uses in business

Another reason limiting adoption by the general public has to do with the constant technological evolution of products and the lack of adaptability, explains Rolf Illenberger, president of VRDirect, a virtual reality consultancy.

Consumers “invest in expensive headsets and are often disappointed when they discover, six months later, that the new generation is much better than the one they bought and the old one doesn’t support the new features” , summarizes Mr. Illenberger.

For the specialist, helmets are currently better suited for specific uses in the business world, but not beyond. “Apart from video games, they do not yet offer a sufficient range of content for people to be attracted to this technology on a regular basis,” he admits.

Sony continues its bet on virtual reality with the PlayStation VR2, its new gaming headset