Here's why PSVR games won't work on PS VR2, according to Sony

PlayStation VR headset with the PS Eye camera
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • PlayStation's SVP of Platform Experience, Hideaki Nishino, revealed that original PlayStation VR games will not work on a PS VR2 headset.
  • Nishino stated that differences in tracking technology were the primary reason PSVR games won't work on PS VR2 headsets.
  • Primarily, it's likely that the requirement to use the DualShock 4 controller in many games could be a big part of the reason since the PS VR2 wouldn't be able to track that controller.

If you were hoping to see your original PlayStation VR games get a whole new life on the PS VR2 when it launches next year, you're in for a round of disappointment. PlayStation's SVP of Platform Experience, Hideaki Nishino, revealed that original PlayStation VR games will not work on a PS VR2 headset, quashing any hopes of backward compatibility for the new headset.

When asked about potential backward compatibility on the Official PlayStation Podcast episode 439, Nishino quickly dismissed the possibility, saying that it wouldn't be possible due to the differences in tracking capabilities of the two headsets. That's because, while the original PSVR utilizes a pair of cameras mounted on a fixed point via the PS Eye accessory, PS VR2 tracks player movement via four cameras located on the headset itself.

The cameras on the PS VR2 headset map the room around players and can track player movement dynamically throughout the space, making it difficult to 1:1 translate to the old, static tracking method. In addition to that, the PS VR2's Sense controllers emit IR lights that are also tracked by these four cameras, while the original PS VR relied on colored LEDs that the PS Eye would track.

Even when running PSVR games on a PS5, gamers need to use PS4 controllers or PS Move controllers that emit these colored lights. Since PS VR2 won't be able to accurately track these older light styles, it would be impossible for PSVR games to understand an input they aren't programmed for — the PS VR2 Sense controllers.

Nishino specifically says that "developing games for PS VR2 requires a totally different approach than with PSVR," which implies that it's not just the tracking itself that makes backward compatibility difficult, but also game design, as well. Many PSVR games don't allow players to turn around because the front-facing PS Eye wouldn't be able to see the headset or controllers accurately.

This would likely cause some confusion in PS VR2 games since the only movement limitation with PS VR2 is the USB Type-C cable that connects the PS VR2 headset to the PS5 console.

Since the launch of the PS5, Sony has been a bit less straightforward with backward compatibility and next-gen upgrades than Microsoft has been on its latest Xboxes. While it's not surprising to see Sony buck the idea of VR backward compatibility between PSVR and PS VR2 headsets, it's still going to be disappointing for potential PS VR2 customers who wanted to try their old favorites on newer hardware.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu