3 Big Things You Should Know Before Buying A PlayStation VR2

When it comes to gaming in virtual reality, PC users are spoiled for choice. VR offerings from A-list tech titans like Meta and Valve and hardware specialists like HTC all play nice with Windows-based gaming PCs. Game designers have made a point of executing on crowd-pleasing VR-oriented titles, too, with everything from "Half-Life: Alyx" to "Among Us" finding active fanbases in virtual reality. Even Apple will be introducing a headset to its product ecosystem soon.

That said, Sony in particular has been looking to close the VR gap for console gamers. PlayStation VR has consistently performed well, even in its somewhat clunky first iteration. The PS VR2 has eliminated much of the cruft of the original, delivering a complete, user-friendly VR package without depending on outdated tech or third-party peripherals. Here are three things the wise customer should know before splashing out the considerable cost of a Playstation VR2 headset.

The PS VR2 is expensive

Sony has never been shy about charging serious coin for high-level gaming experiences. That habit has reached its peak with the PS VR2, which the company has priced to effectively double its profit on the PS5. The PS VR2 retails at an eyewatering $549.99 and does not come bundled with the console. Given ongoing shortages in the availability of the PS5, grabbing a headset and the console needed to run it could also be more complicated than visiting a store or clicking an Amazon link. In comparison, the Meta Quest 2 is priced at $399.99.

Bluntly, this looks like the probable future of any hardware that features the PlayStation brand. Sony has had multiple years of the PS5 being the top-end luxury benchmark of consumer gaming, hard to come by, and outright painful to pay for. The company caught an enormous 100%+ increase in net profits between 2020 and 2021, likely driven in part by the release and sky-high price of the PS5. Despite uneven performance since, Sony is likely to keep chasing that fiscal high for the foreseeable future.

Fully immersive gaming comes with one snag

This may be obvious, but sometimes obvious things get missed: the PS VR2 headset is not cordless. At all. Users plug the headset into the PlayStation with an actual physical cable or the pretty lights and colors do not happen. It's just one cord and it's a capacious 4.5 meters long (almost 15 feet), but per The Verge, it still tended to get underfoot during high-energy play sessions. 

There are benefits as well as drawbacks to a hard connection between the processor and the peripheral. Being tethered to a stationary box is a definite downgrade in immersion compared with the many PC-based wireless VR offerings, but it also offers a way around one of the technical pitfalls of PC VR. Each wireless headset designed for PCs comes with its own set of potential wireless PC-based problems, all inherent in whichever protocol that particular system uses to cross the airwaves. PlayStation VR2 owners won't have to worry about twitchy routers or connection-crippling updates as long as they keep their heads within shouting distance of their entertainment centers.

The PS VR2 isn't backward compatible

Maybe the biggest concern with the PS VR2 comes down to what it doesn't have. The system's game library raises red flags. First of all, the PS VR2 is not backward-compatible with PSVR titles. It also can't run PC VR games. It's PS VR2-specific titles or nothing for customers willing to shell out for one of the consumer gaming market's priciest peripherals. 

Sony appears to expect customers to simply trust that companies will continue to release exciting titles for the comparatively niche system. The run-up to the PS VR2's release was also less than reassuring: games that had featured at trade shows and were presumed to be locked-in certainties for the system, such as "Resident Evil: Village" and "Gran Turismo 7," never made it to journalists or reviewers. 

Sony fans just had to hope they'd show up when the PS VR2 hit shelves. Reservations aside, PS VR2 is an exciting piece of technology with some excellent software available. Whether the listed concerns are dealbreakers or just the joys of buying top-end technology comes down to customers to decide.