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PSVR2 Hasn’t Solved VRs Biggest Problem

The new PSVR2 looks very impressive on paper. Oled screens, 4k, HDR, head vibrations (which isn’t something you brag about unless it’s pretty good).

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But Sony’s laundry list of features may sound great on paper, but they do absolutely nothing to solve VRs biggest problem: content.

And I must stress this isn’t a Sony only issue, In fact, everybody has this problem, and nobody seems overly keen to solve it.

VR is a limited market, so nobody wants to create full-on AAA VR titles, Half Life Alyx aside. But it’s a limited market exactly for that very reason.

Over Christmas I was looking into finally making the plunge. And yet every demonstration is of someone hitting coloured beams of light away, solving little puzzles or playing any number of other mini-games that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a collection of games on the Wii.

People bought the Wii in their droves, partly because of those exact mini-games. How many birthdays, Christmases and family holidays have been ruined by Wii Sports Golf? I can only imagine.

But that’s because of the social element. VR, by definition, doesn’t really have that. You may be able to interact with other people, but you’re still sitting with your eyes blocked and sound blasting in your ears.

PSVR2: On the Horizon

PSVR2’s flagship title looks set to be a new Horizon game. It’s hard to tell what exactly it is yet, with the teaser trailer giving just a small hint of what it might be.

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I’m not going to try and guess. Some people are saying it’s an on-rail “experience”, others are saying it’ll be more than that. What it won’t be – and I say this with some confidence – is an Horizon game.

You won’t explore a big open world, knocking off towers, fighting enemies and journeying wherever you want to go. Why? The technology isn’t there yet. If it was, I’d preorder it tomorrow.

The awe and wonder of having two 3D screens strapped over your eyes just aren’t enough to make up for the fact that the content you can play on it – by and large – isn’t there yet.

Sure, you can give Fallout 4 and Skyrim a go if you want. And there are games like Star Wars: Squadrons which are ideal for VR.

But all those games are playable without VR.

Where are the must play games? Where are the things that absolutely need to be seen in VR to be believed? And if they’re out there, why aren’t they being marketed? Why is every video of someone on VR of them playing a mini-game?

PSVR2 is going to be a very cool piece of kit. You can tell that from the specs. But announcing it without also announcing some substantial content is a mistake.

Yes, it’s because it’s going into production. They announce or it leaks. But that’s standard. PSVR2 has to be made.

Instead I suspect this will be one of the big “surprises at E3” six months from now. And those, like me, waiting for a reason to buy this or any other VR kit, will have to wait even longer.

 

 

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blank Mat Growcott has been a long-time member of the gaming press. He's written two books and a web series, and doesn't have nearly enough time to play the games he writes about.

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