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Sony just put one final nail in the PlayStation VR2’s coffin

Astro Bot and its PlayStation character cameos
Team Asobi

PlayStation VR2 has been murdered. The culprit: Astro Bot.

My favorite announcement of Sony’s May 30 State of Play was Astro Bot, a new 3D platformer from Team Asobi that celebrates PlayStation history. It looks incredibly charming and stands out from the typical narrative-action games like Stellar Blade that Sony tends to release these days. That said, my excitement also comes with disappointment as it does not appear that the game will support PlayStation VR2. (Digital Trends reached out to Sony to confirm that was the case but has not gotten a response at the time of publishing this story.)

That’s a potential letdown because games starring Astro Bot typically show the power and beauty of PlayStation hardware. Astro Bot: Rescue Mission has a reputation for being one of the best original PlayStation VR games, while Astro’s Playroom is still my favorite PS5 game because of how it creatively uses the hardware. I had hoped the next Team Asobi game could do that for PSVR2, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. It feels like the final nail in the coffin for Sony’s VR headset.

PSVR2’s persistent problem

PSVR2 boasts some impressive specs for a VR headset, and I’ve had a good time playing games like Rez Infinite and Zombieland Headshot Fever Reloaded on it. That said, it’s no secret that the headset has not met expectations and that Sony has failed to put out games for it. The headset did launch with Firesprite’s impressive Horizon Call of the Mountain, but first-party support has been completely quiet since then.

The PlayStation VR2 sits on a table next to Sense controllers.
Giovanni Colantonio

Sony does acknowledge the headset’s existence at showcases, but all the titles shown are always multiplatform. I thought Behemoth was a fantastic exclusive to nab after seeing its trailer at the latest State of Play, but looking into the game further, I discovered that it will also be released on Meta Quest 3. I’ll likely pick it up there instead. Earlier this year, I explained how I began to prefer my Meta Quest 3 to my PSVR2. That has continued to be the case, as I have not put on my PSVR2 headset since writing that article.

That’s a shame because I’m looking for Sony to give me a reason to put it on again, but it just isn’t happening. I’m not alone in that sentiment. According to market research firms like Omdia, the VR industry is generally struggling, and PSVR2 has felt the impact particularly hard due to a lack of interesting content. After the announcement of Astro Bot, I no longer believe Sony can turn this around.

Astro Bot … on PS5

None of Sony’s game studios appear to be VR-focused anymore. PlayStation’s London Studio, which had been, pivoted to a live-service game before being shut down. Rumors suggest Firesprite’s next game won’t be VR either. I thought that if Sony would give any developer the chance to make a game specifically for PSVR2, it’d be Team Asobi. With Rescue Mission and Astro’s Playroom, the Japanese developer proved itself as one willing to explore hardware’s capabilities in game design.

A robot flies on a controller in Astro Bot.
Sony Interactive Entertainment

PSVR2 desperately needs a game like that, and Team Asobi seemed perfect for the job. If Sony doesn’t want to give that to them, I doubt it wants to give any game studio that task. If Sony had an ace in the hole for PSVR2, it felt like that would come from Team Asobi. Instead, Astro Bot is a PS5-first game rather than a PSVR2 showpiece. Even if Sony reveals VR support for the game before launch, the announcement indicates that whatever could come would be supplementary.

I have faith that Team Asobi will do a great job with Astro Bot, but its existence seems to affirm that Sony has abandoned first-party support for PSVR2. The only glimmer of hope I still have is for PSVR2 to gain PC compatibility. Sony has said it’s looking into this, and recent leaks suggest it plans to release an adapter to make it work for PC VR. If that happens, I’ll at least be able to use my PSVR2 to play games like Half-Life: Alyx and Boneworks through Steam — then again, I could technically already do this with my Meta Quest 3 if I wanted.

If you are still on the fence about picking up a PSVR2, don’t. And if you’re looking for a more specific reason why not to do so, Astro Bot just gave you one.

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Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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