The PS5 Pro could finally solve the PSVR 2 frame rate problem

Sony PlayStation VR2 headset with Sense controllers
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

The first time you play Horizon Call of the Mountain, you'll be blown away by the visuals. This year-old PSVR 2 launch title still boasts some of the best visuals on the system, but those visuals quickly get a downgrade the moment you start moving. That's because, like so many PSVR 2 games, Horizon Call of the Mountain actually runs at just 60 frames per second instead of 90 or 120fps.

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The problem is that 60fps isn't fast enough to keep most players from feeling sick, so the game has to use a feature called reprojection that virtually doubles the framerate using a clever algorithm.

While it sounds good on paper, Sony's algorithm isn't as good as the one Meta uses on its Quest headsets, and it leaves behind a weird ghosting motion blur look that can be jarring to some players. Rumor has it the PS5 Pro is releasing later this year and will include a new PS5 Pro Enhanced certification that guarantees minimum framerates for games with the seal. Will this be enough to finally fix the PSVR 2's framerate problem?

Isn't the PS5 already powerful enough?

Horizon Call Of The Mountain Tallneck

(Image credit: PlayStation)

The PS5 is already nearing its four-year anniversary, marking what some have called the halfway point of its lifecycle. As such, Sony is readying new, more powerful hardware to give the ecosystem a mid-cycle bump. Surprisingly, the PS4 Pro launched just three years into the PS4's life cycle, while Sony is allegedly waiting an extra year for the PS5 Pro.

Many folks, including developers, have wondered why Sony is even bothering with upgraded hardware already. But looking at the leaked performance metrics proves exactly why we need new hardware, particularly for VR games.

The PS5 Pro is said to render 45% faster than the PS5, including ray-tracing performance up to four times as fast. In total, the PS5 Pro is said to provide 33.5 TFLOPS of FP16 performance — over three times the PS5's 10.3 TFLOPS. That's plenty of power to give PSVR 2 games the boost from 60fps to 90fps that many of them so desperately need.

The PS5 Pro reportedly has 3x the raw performance of the PS5 plus AI-upscaling to further boost performance and quality.

What's more, Sony is reportedly launching a new AI-based upscaling technology called PlayStation Spectral Super Resolution Upscaling. PSSR for short.

As we've seen from technologies like Nvidia's DLSS, AI upscaling technology can have an unbelievable impact on framerates for games. DLSS 3.5 launched in Spring 2023 with AI-based ray reconstruction, which means that AI is used to determine the final pixel color instead of the graphics card having to do the expensive rendering work to get to that point itself.

The difference in frame rate with this technology enabled is astounding, as one Cyberpunk 2077 example proves:

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Too many PSVR 2 games run at 60fps with projection to 120fps, leading to ghosting and motion blur.

Jumping from 20fps to 108fps by just enabling a feature boggles the mind and proves that the rumored PS5 Pro, with its PSSR technology, could achieve the same thing with PSVR 2 games.

Better yet, this could even mean that games run at a proper 120fps instead of the 90fps intermediary frame rate that I mentioned earlier. This would give PSVR 2 games another clear visual advantage over the best Meta Quest games as they would not only look more complex but would also run at a smoother frame rate. By comparison, most Meta Quest 3 games target 90fps.

Up until now, it seemed that the biggest reason PSVR 2 games didn't reach their maximum visual potential was because of software development tools that weren't ready for primetime. Now, it feels like Sony is finally getting everything in order to make it a good experience. Unfortunately, it may be too little too late for Sony.

But will it save the PSVR 2?

The PlayStation VR2 headset with the Pulse 3D wireless headphones placed on top of it.

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

My biggest concern is that this still wouldn't be enough of a shot in the arm to make Sony care about the PSVR 2 again. The system initially sold better than the original PSVR, but Sony's complete lack of first-party support hasn't convinced gamers they should purchase it over the Meta Quest 3, which has received more support from developers at all levels.

However, the first-party game issue isn't just relegated to PSVR 2 games. Gamers have vented frustrations at Sony's lack of first-party games on the PS5 in general. One Reddit thread compared the PS4's library of exclusive first-party games compared to the PS5.

According to the thread, Sony released 10 PS4-exclusive first-party games in the first three years of the system's life. That compared to the measly three in the PS5's life begs the question: what the heck is Sony doing?

Sony doesn't seem to be taking first-party development seriously this generation, but that's more than just a PSVR 2 problem.

Those numbers don't include VR games, either, which makes the list look even more terrible for the PS5. Worse yet, Sony just closed its VR-dedicated London Studio and made staff reductions at most other first-party studios across the board.

Furthermore, Sony confirmed that no major franchises will see new releases in 2024. That doesn't mean Sony isn't releasing new games this year; it's just that its well-known franchises aren't getting releases this year.

So, while the technical end of things seems to be getting solved with the addition of tools like foveated rendering, PSSR, and even new hardware like the PS5 Pro, I'm not sure if Sony is invested enough in PSVR 2 development to turn things around.

As someone who bought a PSVR 2 at launch, I'm fully invested in seeing the system get better support and eventually thrive. Sony will sell a few more PSVR 2 units once the PCVR support goes live, but that's not going to sell people on the idea that Sony's VR ecosystem is the one to invest in without more first-party exclusive titles.

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