PSVR 2 at CES Impressions: A Transformative Virtual Reality Experience

    Sony surprised everyone and brought the PSVR2 to CES.

    Sony transformed their Central Hall TV display space into a mini-gaming area, similar to PlayStation Experience. Four demo areas were created for guests to play a 30-minute PSVR 2 demo of Horizon VR: Call of the Mountain, a unique experience different than past CES events.

    In Central Hall, the area Sony typically reserves for displaying their latest televisions was converted into a mini-gaming space. It reminded me of a display area at a PlayStation Experience. Sony has had gaming areas in the past at Central Hall, but nothing like the PSVR 2 area at CES.

    Getting Started

    I roughly calculated the area by walking it quickly before the demo. It was a 6-foot by 6-foot by 6-foot area. It was in line with Sony’s requirements, which state that a “2 m × 2 m (6 ft 7 in × 6 ft 7 in) is required to experience room-scale PlayStation VR 2 games”. So, I assume my experience was as close as possible to being in a lab where all values are zero. The play space was already configured, but the calibration was solid. I also wanted to try the pass-through camera, but I was ushered into the demo pretty quickly since the PSVR2 had a line, another line, and then reservations.

    The eye-tracking was impressively easy to set up. Simply following a series of dots on the screen was enough. This proved useful when navigating menu options, as I could select by merely looking at it. The PSVR controller layout was intuitive, and the subtle haptic feedback enhanced immersion, making the experience feel more real. Even subtle actions like putting hands in water or touching wood on a boat were enhanced with feedback that was so natural it didn’t disrupt the immersion.

    The entrance to Central Hall at CES


    The controllers could detect if my hands were open or closed mostly. At times my hands would stay open or closed without reason. I’m not sure if it was tracking or an issue with the PS5, but it occurred more often than expected. Reaching behind me to grab an arrow or put away my bow generally worked well. I did experience lag during the combat scene but it disappeared as soon as it arrived. This will be interesting to test once the PSVR 2 is at home, instead of CES.

    Not Just Another Experience

    The PSVR 2’s haptic feedback in the headset was subtle and not overwhelming. I felt each shot as I took damage, but it was not uncomfortable. The addition of the haptics gave the combat sequence a heightened sense of urgency and made the experience feel more lifelike. Horizon VR: Call of the Mountain is not a typical VR experience. The sounds, character models, and environments all felt like a AAA game. I found myself captivated by the waterfalls and their sounds, and at times not pay attention to the onscreen dialogue. This caused me to sometimes forget that I was in a game in a way previous PSVR titles had not.

    Impressive Scale

    Climbing a mountain, grabbing ledges, and shooting arrows at creatures was an incredible experience. However, occasional moments of lag and loss of tracking on the controller occurred, but it was not consistent. The majority of the gameplay worked well. The only time the immersion broke was when I got too close to the edge of the play area and was reminded to step back. The cord did not impede my movements or hinder the gameplay, even when climbing or reaching, and I even forgot about it at times.

    Tremendous Interest

    Significant interest was shown in the PSVR2 at CES by attendees. To play, appointments opened at 8 AM every day and were filled in 20 minutes. An overflow line was available for those who missed their appointments. Additionally, another line was present to get into the overflow. On multiple visits, both lines were always full. Sony surprised everyone, including myself, by showcasing it at the show and capturing the attention of people from all over the world.

    PSVR2 Demo Reservation

    Final Thoughts

    The PlayStation VR2 (PSVR 2) offers a truly immersive and transformative virtual reality experience, despite not being perfect. As a PSVR user, I was blown away by the improvements and advancements in the PSVR 2. The highlight of my experience was the game Horizon VR: Call of the Mountain, which demonstrated the potential for even more exciting and engaging future titles. It’s important to note that this is only the first generation of PSVR2, and it’s clear that Sony has set the bar high for future developments. The original PSVR was a huge success, and the PSVR2 has surpassed it in every way from my first experience with it. If you are interested in securing a PSVR 2 unit, you can find all that information here.

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