I am, and have always been, a giant supporter of PlayStation VR. The very night Sony's new VR accessory/system went on sale, I woke up at midnight to click the "Buy" button on Amazon with no regrets. I've always said that if VR ever became a reality I would be first in line. My shiny new VR system was waiting on my porch for me when I got home from work on launch day. This was well before I was writing about games on a professional level, and indeed my first published review was for Ubisoft's Eagle Flight on a now-defunct PSVR site.
Over my time at Gaming Nexus, and during my extended stint at PSU.com, I became the "PSVR Guy", reviewing almost every major release (and a mountain of smaller indies) on the system. I wore through my first PSVR's power supply and had to buy a second unit, after searching in vain for someone to repair the first. I spent hours, days in Sony's headset, comparing it when asked to "having an amusement park in your house". I love VR games, in particular the ones that let me hang out with distant friends and family in online virtual environments. PSVR suited me just fine, for a long, long time.
But after July 2020's release of the glorious PSVR version of Pistol Whip, requests to review PSVR games simply dried up and turned to dust. I have not been offered a single PSVR game for review since August, and my attempts to actively go seek out games out to review have been met with the sound of sad, lonely crickets. The other day I went to the PlayStation Store to check to see if any games had snuck to market without me noticing, and was shocked to find that the PlayStation VR header is completely gone from the store. There's no way to find PSVR games all together in one place anymore, let alone browse through a committed "What's New on PSVR" section.
It's true that Hitman 3 is scheduled to be released on PSVR in late January, but that feels very much like the last hurrah of the system before Sony bails on the VR space entirely. In an October 2020 interview with The Washington Post, Sony Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan commented that "I think we’re more than a few minutes from the future of VR. PlayStation believes in VR. Sony believes in VR, and we definitely believe at some point in the future, VR will represent a meaningful component of interactive entertainment. Will it be this year? No. Will it be next year? No. But will it come at some stage? We believe that. And we’re very pleased with all the experience that we’ve gained with PlayStation VR, and we look forwarding to seeing where that takes us in the future."
Which sounds to me like PlayStation VR is dead as a doornail, and it isn't coming back any time soon, if at all.
I still went through the motions, ordering my camera adaptor to hook PSVR to PlayStation 5. It's still sitting in the mailer packaging on my dresser. Turns out, there's no real reason to hook it up. I played all the games that I own on PSVR extensively for review. I'm done with them, and there's nothing new on the market for me to play. After all the time I spent daydreaming about how Sony's next system would clean up the sometimes shady visuals on PSVR games, I haven't bothered to try it out. It just feels that - like the Vita before it - Sony has bailed on a viable system that still had a lot of life left in it. My PSVR sits in a basket in the corner of my living room, collecting dust along with the hated Move Controllers needed to play on it.
It seems that development for PSVR is over. I can only imagine that most of the development houses that were working on PSVR games (that hadn't already signed contracts with Sony) have pivoted over to Facebook's Oculus Quest 2, which is suddenly the most viable VR system on the market. So that's where I'm going, as awful as it feels.
I'll be frank here. Giving Facebook any money for anything ever is utterly abhorrent to me. I long ago deleted my Facebook account. Beyond being horrified by their policies and politics, I find being on Facebook to be tiring and soul-crushing. After enjoying the wild-west first years of Facebook's rise to power, reconnecting with old friends and long-lost relatives, I eventually grew weary of keeping tabs on all these people. I started realizing that people move in and out of your life for a reason; you aren't supposed to know everyone you've ever met forever. I just didn't have enough bandwidth to pay attention. So after a few false starts, I bailed on Facebook for good and deleted my account.
But last week, I found myself opening a new Facebook account, much to my chagrin. Because Facebook forces Oculus users to have a Facebook account to buy and manage their games, and I really, really miss playing VR games. I don't have a PC powerful enough to run VR games (a fact that I am attempting to rectify), so I really relied on the PlayStation 4's (admittedly limited) power to fuel my virtual worlds. But now I need something stand-alone, and the Oculus Quest 2 is simply the best option on the market.
The Quest has the most games available, the best support, and the brightest future. Knowing that spending money on any VR system at all is risky, the Oculus Quest 2 simply seems like the best gamble, even if it means selling my soul to the devil and letting Facebook back into my house after an extended period of being Facebook-free.
But in our current world situation, I rely on VR to get me out of my house a little bit. I want to be able to once again explore other environments, taking a break from the walls of my house to virtually get outside a little bit. I love crawling virtual dungeons and haunted houses, and it's clear that PSVR just isn't going to do it for me anymore.
So here I am, forking over a decent pile of money to the evil empire so that I can play VR MMOs and space shooters. To say that I'm conflicted about it is an understatement. But despite my regrets, I'm still pretty excited to get my hands on some new tech; that's just the geek in me. And I'm pretty jazzed to rid myself of PSVR's cumbersome web of wires. I'm excited for the day my Quest 2 arrives; I like unpacking boxes with new gadgets in them. And in the end, I'm sure I'll have a ton of fun with my new Oculus Quest 2. VR is wicked awesome, after all. And maybe I'll be so delighted with my new Quest 2 that I'll tell my two Facebook friends all about it.