Sony Delivers the Decisive Blow to PlayStation VR2’s Future

Astro Bot and its appearances in PlayStation characters

The demise of PlayStation VR2 has been attributed to Astro Bot.

Among Sony’s May 30 State of Play announcements, the standout for me was Astro Bot, a fresh 3D platformer crafted by Team Asobi that pays homage to the legacy of PlayStation. Its allure lies in its distinctiveness from the usual narrative-driven action games like Stellar Blade that Sony frequently unveils nowadays. However, my enthusiasm is tinged with disappointment as there seems to be no indication that the game will be compatible with PlayStation VR2. (Digital Trends sought confirmation from Sony on this matter but has yet to receive a response as of the time of this publication.)

This potential letdown is significant because titles featuring Astro Bot typically showcase the prowess and elegance of PlayStation hardware. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission is renowned as one of the premier original PlayStation VR games, while Astro’s Playroom remains my preferred PS5 game due to its innovative utilization of the hardware. I had hoped that the next offering from Team Asobi would continue this trend for PSVR2, but it appears that this will not be the case. It feels like the final blow for Sony’s VR headset.

The ongoing issue with PSVR2

PSVR2 boasts impressive specifications for a VR headset, and I have enjoyed playing titles like Rez Infinite and Zombieland Headshot Fever Reloaded on it. Nonetheless, it is widely recognized that the headset has fallen short of expectations, with Sony failing to deliver a robust lineup of games for it. While the headset debuted with the impressive Horizon Call of the Mountain from Firesprite, first-party support has been notably scarce since then.

The PlayStation VR2 placed on a table alongside Sense controllers.

Sony acknowledges the existence of the headset at events, but the showcased titles are consistently multiplatform. Behemoth initially seemed like a compelling exclusive following its trailer at the latest State of Play, but upon further investigation, I discovered that it will also be available on Meta Quest 3. I am inclined to acquire it there instead. Earlier this year, I detailed my growing preference for Meta Quest 3 over my PSVR2. This sentiment persists, as I have not donned my PSVR2 headset since authoring that piece.

It is regrettable that I am eagerly awaiting Sony to provide me with a reason to revisit the headset, yet that prospect remains elusive. I am not alone in this sentiment. According to market research firms like Omdia, the VR industry is facing challenges overall, with PSVR2 particularly impacted by a dearth of compelling content. Following the Astro Bot announcement, I am skeptical that Sony can reverse this trend.

Astro Bot … on PS5

None of Sony’s game studios seem to prioritize VR anymore. PlayStation’s London Studio, which was previously focused on VR, transitioned to a live-service game before being shuttered. Rumors suggest that Firesprite’s upcoming title will also not be VR-oriented. If any developer were to be entrusted with creating a game specifically for PSVR2, it would likely have been Team Asobi. Through Rescue Mission and Astro’s Playroom, this Japanese developer demonstrated a willingness to explore the capabilities of hardware in game design.

A robot soaring on a controller in Astro Bot.

PSVR2 is in dire need of a title like that, and Team Asobi appeared ideally suited for the task. If Sony opts not to grant them this opportunity, it seems unlikely that any other studio would receive such a mandate. Team Asobi felt like Sony’s trump card for PSVR2, yet Astro Bot emerges as a game primarily tailored for PS5 rather than a showcase for PSVR2. Even if Sony were to announce VR support for the game before its release, it suggests that any such integration would be supplementary.

I have confidence that Team Asobi will deliver a stellar experience with Astro Bot, but its unveiling seems to signal Sony’s abandonment of first-party support for PSVR2. The only glimmer of hope I retain is the potential for PSVR2 to gain compatibility with PCs. Sony has expressed interest in this, and recent leaks indicate plans to introduce an adapter for PC VR functionality. Should this materialize, I could at least utilize my PSVR2 to enjoy titles like Half-Life: Alyx and Boneworks via Steam — although technically, I could already do so with my Meta Quest 3 if desired.

If you are contemplating acquiring a PSVR2, I would advise against it. And for those seeking a specific reason to abstain, Astro Bot has just provided one.

Robert White

Robert is a dedicated tech journalist who thrives on uncovering the human stories behind technological advancements.

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