Tom is a little shocked PS VR2, but I, a VR skeptic, have my doubts. So Tom put on the headset, trying to convince me that yes, Sony’s latest VR platform was the real deal and worth paying for. In fact, he says, it’s the most fun jump in gaming since Mario 64. But I wonder if this expensive peripheral is more like the Mega Drive’s 32X—an impressive addition, but difficult to use and destined to have a limited library of b-tier exclusives and fast ports. We argue about it in this video here:

Jim and Tom have a lively discussion about the PS VR2’s strengths and weaknesses.

There’s no doubt that the PlayStation VR2 is an incredible piece of hardware, with 4K resolution, eye tracking, all the haptic features of a DualSense controller, and powered by the PS5’s high-performance silicon processor. But all this, of course, is not cheap: at £529.99/$549.00, it’s more expensive than the PS5 needed to run it. And that’s just for the headset and controllers: you don’t get any games as standard. No cute AstroBot game showing off all the fancy new features. Even a measly demo compilation.

This is offset a bit by the fact that VR exclusives tend to be inexpensive, but that’s mostly a concession to the fact that most VR exclusives aren’t what you’d call “rich” experiences. The vast majority of the VR library (no matter which headset you choose) consists of short tech demos, mini-game collections, and traditional games that have been adapted for VR with varying degrees of success.

Horizon: Call of the Mountain is a great launch title, but is it rich enough to convince people they need an expensive peripheral?

In short: it’s an incredible, ground-breaking technology, but it’s very hard to sell. And that’s the vicious cycle VR has found itself in since its re-emergence in the 21st century a few years ago: the high barrier to entry (cost, space, availability) keeps the user base low, giving studios less incentive to create custom, AAA experience for him, which makes the game library unsatisfying to potential buyers. Ironically, the original PS VR made some headway in breaking this paradigm, as it was a cut-price VR solution (with a reduced feature set). But next-gen upgrades are available at next-gen prices.

It’s quite a pickle, and I don’t begrudge any tech company trying to make VR the next big thing, which it probably should be.

Big first publishers like Valve and Sony can invest in big names like Half Life: Alyx and Horizon: Call of the Mountain, which are certainly quality experiences in their own right, but are they enough for VR to finally explode into the mainstream and take it beyond a fun toy for rich enthusiasts? That remains to be seen in the case of PS VR2, though I bet most of your friends haven’t played Half Life: Alyxhow good is that