PlayStation VR 2 will not be backwards compatible with PSVR

The PSVR 2 will not be backwards compatible, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the PSVR back catalogue is lost forever

Sony’s upcoming VR headset, the PSVR 2, will not be backwards compatible with PSVR titles.

The news was broken by SVP of Platform Experience Hideaki Nishino on the PlayStation Blog podcast, where he said that the new headset will not be backwards compatible as it is “designed to deliver a truly next-generation VR experience.”

The news has had something of a mixed reaction on social media, with many decrying the poor state of game preservation, particularly in the VR space. Others have expressed disappointment that they will be unable to revisit beloved PSVR titles such as Astro Bot Rescue Mission without having to dust off their old hardware.


The lack of backwards compatibility, while disappointing for some, isn’t particularly surprising given the age of the technology the original PSVR relies on – as Sam Watts, Immersive Partnerships Director at VR experts Make Real Ltd, explains to NME:

“It’s a shame for users and developers alike not to have backwards compatibility baked in but it makes sense from a technical point of view, especially as PSVR relied upon the much older PS Move controllers, or DualShock gamepad,” he says.

“Both of these required the PS4 Camera to detect and track these for positional input. This could be done using the inside-out tracking method of the PSVR 2 headset for the PS Move controllers I suppose, but the majority of games were gamepad-based so it would be a fair bit of effort for small gains.”

Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
Astro Bot: Rescue Mission. Credit: Team Asobi

It would be technically possible for developers to update their titles to the newer PSVR 2 SDKs to enable support on the PSVR 2, assuming their past sales were strong enough to justify the work. Additional work would be required to update the games for the PSVR 2’s new control system, however.

“Considering the PS Move were far simpler input controllers, compared to the PSVR 2 mature controller design, there would be some updating needed for mapping controls over to take advantage of the wider options,” says Watts. “Whether this is a straight-forward process to emulate the PS Move with one trigger or perhaps revisit the design is up to the developer.”


Watts also adds that, because VR titles had to be heavily optimised for the base PS4 console, with enhanced options available for the PS4 Pro, a PS5 port would allow for a much higher performance ceiling for higher frame rates – perfect for players who suffer from motion sickness in VR.

PSVR 2 promo image showing the headset from the side. The Sense controllers are also shown
PSVR 2 headset and Sense controllers. Credit: Sony

The likelihood of PSVR titles being ported or updated to work on PSVR2 is therefore possible, but somewhat dependent on the install base of the PSVR2 over time. If it proves large enough, then developers may decide it makes good business sense to update their games – especially considering the relatively low adoption rate for the original PSVR.

The PSVR 2 is set to release in 2023, with a host of new features for the next-generation VR headset. Everything we currently know about the PSVR 2 is available here, and we also have a list of every confirmed PSVR 2 game to date.

If all this talk of next-generation VR headsets feels a bit too futuristic, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the retro-inspired FPS WRATH: Aeon of Ruin is finally preparing to leave Early Access.

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