During the newest episode of the PlayStation Podcast, platform experience VP Hideaki Nishino confirmed that the company's upcoming PlayStation VR2 headset won't be able to play the games of Sony's previous VR generation. To Nishino, this is done for the benefit of the new headset feeling like a genuine evolution of the technology.
"PSVR2 is designed to deliver a truly next-gen experience," said Nishino. Citing the hardware's new features such as advanced haptic feedback and eye tracking, he explained that developing games for the system required a "whole different approach" compared to the original PSVR.
Sony's famously had issues with backwards compatibility throughout the years. After the PlayStation 3 could play games from the previous PlayStation eras, the PlayStation 4 famously couldn't due to its significant hardware differences. That would be rectified with PlayStation Now streaming for PS3 games, and bringing PlayStation 2 games to the console using emulation technology.
For the PlayStation 5, Sony's solution was to offer games across previous generations via PS Now and a high-end tier of PlayStation Plus.
With the PSVR2, Sony has previously said that it wants the headset to stand alongside the PS5 rather than be viewed as an accessory. As a result, at least 20 games will be released for the headset when it launches in early 2023, including Resident Evil Village and Horizon: Call of the Mountain.
Though the PSVR2 is said to have a decent amount of games at launch, the lack of backwards compatibility may end up hurting the device in the long run. Consumers often purchase consoles with an expectation that the previous generation of games will still be accessible on the new device. A lack of that feature may serve as a deterrent to buy the new system at launch.