PSVR2 represents the next big step for virtual reality

For its time, Sony’s PSVR headset was competent and functional. It didn’t push the boat out compared to other devices, but by becoming at least somewhat affordable, Sony struck gold with the best-selling VR headset to date. The company is now looking to beat sales of the device with PSVR2except he does it in a different way.

The tracker is high-end, expensive and cutting-edge – just ignore the single cable connecting it to a PS5. It looks mostly like a catch for the enthusiast market before expanding its reach in later years. Technology, games and experiences, however, must support this proposition. A recent hands-on session with the PSVR2 proved to us, at least, that Sony knows what it’s doing.

From its lightweight feel to the next-gen Sense controllers, everything about the device feels premium. Gone are the old PS Move sticks of the PS3 era, replaced by futuristic pads that track movements with much more precision. But in the context of a Horizon Call of the Mountain demo, the big differentiator is eye tracking.

Once the headset is attached and calibrated – easy-to-use settings, on-device buttons and system-based guidance make it easy – it’s all about rewiring your brain to control the sliders with your eyes instead of the head. Granted, it took a bit of getting used to (we were still moving our noggin to some extent by the end of the demo), but once you get the hang of the feature, it makes it much easier to navigate. Simply look at a menu option to select it instead of holding out a PS Move stick, or looking away from an object to ignore a button press. There is a lot of potential to take interactivity to a new level using the functionality; that’s at least what distinguishes PSVR2 from its predecessor at first.

Along with eye tracking, the new Sense controllers adopt the circular nature of other VR headsets on the market. All the buttons you’d expect from a PS5 DualSense controller are present, with the exception of the touchpad, which implements trackable movements of input readers.

When playing Horizon Call of the Mountain, they allow you to climb rocks with pinpoint accuracy, either by sticking your hands into cracks or using vines to pull yourself up. Everything feels natural, with the joystick allowing you to rotate the camera and get your bearings just right before climbing. Sensor controllers track your movements much more accurately, with fewer movement issues or the need for troubleshooting.

All this happens with a good degree of comfort. Sony’s first PSVR headset for the PS4 was popular as it was easy to put on, adjust and then give little trouble when playing Astro Bot Rescue Mission or Blood & Truth for hours on end. After about an hour with Horizon Call of the Mountain, the same can be said for PSVR2. Many of the comfort options on the helmet itself are the same: a button on the back of the main plastic strap allows you to stretch it around your head first. The visor that covers your eyes can be pushed back and forth to find the right spot, then the lens is adjusted using a scroll wheel to remove any blur. Everything is then locked into place with a handle to tighten the helmet to the head. We can’t talk about how it feels after several hours of sessions, but first impressions are positive. We would be happy to return to the collaborative efforts of Guerrilla Games and Firesprite Games.

PSVR2 represents the next big step for VR Hands On 3

Of course, PSVR2 comes with the obvious tech upgrades to help it look and perform better than was possible on PS4, but we left our demo enthused about its immersion-enhancing potential above all else. With eye tracking that moves from certain interactions from button presses to retina scans, you can do much more with less action. With improved hand tracking in Sense controllers, developers can create more complex functions to expand what’s possible in VR.

All of this looks like the next big step for virtual reality. Using Horizon Call of the Mountain as its flagship, PSVR2 represents what some PS5 fans feel they haven’t gotten yet from their flagship console: a true leap into the future of gaming technology. It remains to be seen how the headset will hold up over longer periods of play or what the game line will look like beyond the release window, but Sony has packed the PSVR2 full of reasons for it to be an even bigger hit than the previous generation.

PSVR2 will launch on February 22, 2023 and you can check it out All PSVR2 launch games through the connection. Have you received your pre-order yet? Share your answers in the comments below.

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