No matter whether the reports of Sony shifting only 270,000 PSVR2 headsets since its February 2023 launch are true or not, it seems safe to say the future of the platform isn’t exactly guaranteed. While current owners are enjoying a long list of launch titles and a handful of games released since 22nd February 2023, the messaging from Sony continues to be limited. Apart from a few new games announced during a State of Play showcase — all of which come from third-party — there’s very little on the horizon to actually get excited about. What should early adopters be looking forward to next? Is Sony itself going to support the platform beyond Horizon Call of the Mountain? Is this thing going to bomb?
These may seem like drastic questions to be asking just one month after a hardware launch, but they already feel pretty legitimate. There’s an incredibly stark difference when you compare the leadup to the release of the PS5 to its more expensive peripheral PSVR2. Well before launch, we knew Sony’s first-party studios would have titles like Demon’s Souls and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales ready for day one, while Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal waited in the wings. You had software to play immediately, and much more to look forward to in the future.
You can’t say the same for PSVR2. Yes, there are a few titles coming like C-Smash VRS and Firewall Ultra, but are these games someone is going to drop £530 on a headset for if they weren’t convinced by the launch lineup? Absolutely not; they’re not system sellers. That’s what PSVR2 needs right now, and if Sony isn’t willing to give the platform the limelight in a notable PlayStation Showcase before it released, why would it do so after? You only get to make a first impression once, and it feels like the hardware manufacturer has fumbled PSVR2’s big time.
After making a fairly decent splash on release day, chatter surrounding the headset has dropped off a cliff. While we do continue to support the platform with daily coverage and reviews, it’s impossible to ignore how the headset is no longer a topic of conversation. The engaged are looking for the next big PSVR2 game to play while the mainstream — who Sony wants to actually buy the damn thing — have moved on. They’re not scouting out the Best PSVR2 Games. They’re not Googling offers to try and find the headset for slightly cheaper. The world appears to have already moved on.
Can Sony turn things around? I think it’s got a mighty struggle on its hands. Even the most hardcore of PSVR2 fans can surely see the drought in content that’s coming — Sony doesn’t have a single PlayStation Studios game announced for the device, and only supported it at launch with a single spin-off title. Software is the main pull, and PSVR2 needs its system sellers. Right now, they’re absolutely nowhere to be seen.
The other issue Sony faces is marketing. PSVR2 was never going to sell gangbusters right out of the gate, but it never really feels like the platform holder genuinely tried to get the word out at all. Appearances during livestreams were limited, with new announcements mostly relegated to the PlayStation Blog. That’s where you’ll get the eyes of the enthused — people like us — but you need the mainstream on board to make a £530 product a success. Has anyone seen PSVR2 on billboards? TV adverts? Clip rolls before YouTube videos and Twitch channels? Hell, the PS Store on the PS5 marketed PSVR2 for about a day, and now it’s already a roller only accessed if you scroll down.
I want PSVR2 to succeed, but I think the device is already a few steps down the road to being a failure. If PlayStation Studios does have new PSVR2 titles in the works, what’s to say Sony looks at its initial sales data and quietly cancels those projects? Why should Insomniac develop a Marvel’s Spider-Man spin-off for an audience of 270,000 when it could put that time into perfecting Marvel’s Wolverine? Why would Firesprite Games make its horror game exclusive to PSVR2 when it would get so many more sales as a standard PS5 game?
It’s not supply-constrained like the PS5 has been in years past; there just doesn’t seem to be enough interest in PSVR2 to justify these big projects. I hope Sony doesn’t go down this road — it’s at its best when developing these unique experiences — but the future right now doesn’t look bright for PSVR2. From a business standpoint, that screams “pull back” rather than “go all in” to me. The hardware’s great, but if nobody’s buying it, why would anyone support it?
Do you agree with Liam’s thoughts or are you more optimistic about the future of PSVR2? Place a vote in our poll and expand on your thoughts in the comments below.