I don't know about you, but as a PS5 owner I'm now looking at 2023 with a mixture of great anticipation and anxiety.
A new PS5 console that comes with a removable optical disc drive has been widely reported to be landing late next year, and just yesterday did we get an update from an industry insider that says that this console, which is most likely an incoming PS5 Slim, is currently with developers ahead of its launch next year.
But I'm also excited because, as I wrote last week (in Should I wait for a PS5 Pro or just buy a PlayStation 5 now?), Sony's previous-gen release schedule points toward potentially another new PS5 console launching next year, too – a PS5 Pro.
The evidence for this comes by looking at the PS4 console generation, where Sony released both a PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro at the end of the third year of the console generation after launch. The PS4 hit store shelves in November 2013 and was then followed by the PS4 Slim in September 2016 and then the PS4 Pro in November 2016. If Sony follows the same release schedule this generation, then that would mean a PS5 Pro console would arrive in November 2023.
But, if a PS5 Pro is going to launch next year, the same year as the PSVR 2, then which piece of hardware would be the better buy for a gamer already with a PS5 console? And especially so as they would likely retail in the same ballpark of $549.99 / £529.99 / AU$879.95. Right here I briefly outline my thoughts arguing for each.
PSVR 2: reasons to buy
Here are the reasons I think it could be argued it makes sense for a PS5 gamer to spend their money on PSVR 2.
1. PSVR 2, literally, delivers another dimension in gaming, and does something that Xbox simply cannot match. If a PS5 gamer doesn't buy PSVR 2 then they are leaving incredibly immersive virtual reality gaming on the shelf, and when Sony is bringing its best IPs to the platform such as Horizon, it makes sense for a PlayStation 5 gamers to add PSVR 2 to their gaming armory.
2. PSVR 2 looks really advanced, too, with a raft of incredibly impressive next-gen VR tech and features on offer. Yes, this is no kid's toy, this is an orders of magnitude mega upgrade on the original PlayStation VR gaming headset, with twin OLED displays delivering a super sharp resolution of 2000 x 2040 per eye, a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, a wide maximum FOV of 110 degrees, an IR camera for eye tracking per eye, 4 embedded cameras for headset and controller tracking, a motion sensor, in-built haptic feedback engine and support for 3D audio. PSVR 2 is going to be a virtual reality gaming powerhouse.
3. PSVR 2 is designed to be powered by PS5, not a PS5 Pro. This means that you're likely going to get the exact same performance in PSVR 2 games when the headset is being powered by a PS5 as you are if a PS5 Pro is released and that is used to power it instead.
PS5 Pro: reasons to buy
These are the reasons I think you can make an argument for a gamer to save their money for a PS5 Pro purchase over PSVR 2.
1. PS5 Pro, if released, will most likely be the most powerful video game console ever made, outstripping even the best Microsoft has to offer, the Xbox Series X, and would future-proof the gamer for the entire generation. There have been very few rumors as to just how powerful a PlayStation 5 Pro would be if released, but according to a presentation by tech firm TCL, it pointed towards a console capable of 8K resolutions and 120Hz refresh rates. Naturally, a console with that power on tap would also offer huge upgrades on gaming performance when running at a 4K resolution, too, which is what the majority of PS5 Pro buyers would most likely be doing (as 4K TVs are widespread, but not 8K TVs). Most importantly, though, the PS5 Pro would also future-proof the gamer for the entire generation, with them almost certainly guaranteed to play PS5 games in the absolute best possible fidelity.
2. There would be plenty of PS5 games to play on PS5 Pro, but not so many PSVR 2 titles. This is just a fact. If a PS5 Pro does launch next year then PS5 gamers who upgraded would have a vast selection of games to play on it, and to make use of its awesome next-gen power. PSVR 2 on the other hand, will likely only have a small selection of launch games and a few more releases around the winter holidays. So it can be argued it makes sense to buy PS5 Pro first and then PSVR 2 a bit down the line when more games have released for it.
3. Frames win games, so if the gamer was into their multiplayer then owning a PS5 Pro that could run games at higher framerates/refresh rates would theoretically give them an in-game advantage. Also, if the game could be displayed at an 8K resolution then that would make spotting details and enemies easier. It would likely be a small advantage but marginal gains can make all the difference.
PS5 Slim + PSVR 2: is this the golden ticket?
But don't forget about the third option here – that a PS5 Slim and PSVR 2 could be the best combo.
Yes, sure, the PS5 Slim isn't likely going to improve the core gaming performance over a standard PS5, but it will be able to power PSVR 2 and will likely boast a smaller, sleeker, more compact design that is also more power efficient and quieter.
So the idea of the PS5 gamer buying a PSVR 2 in February next year, enjoying playing on it until a PS5 Slim is launched, then selling their OG PlayStation 5 and then buying a PS5 Slim replacement, also can be argued for.
Yes, this would be the most expensive option, but if the gamer could get a good price for their OG PlayStation 5 then it could still be affordable for most people, especially if they start planning for the purchase now.
Want to know what a PS5 Slim could look like? Well, the below concept video is based off today's very latest rumors and gives us out best look yet.
So, there you go. That is my opinion on whether it makes sense to buy PSVR 2 or wait for a potential PS5 Pro launch, as well as if PS5 Slim and PSVR 2 actually make the most sense. I think a case can be made for each option, with the deciding factor likely how much each person either values having access to virtual reality gaming, or simply the highest-fidelity traditional console gaming experience they can get.
Personally, from my point of view, I always think it counter-intuitive to second guess future developments to the extent that you end up not enjoying a gaming experience that is available to you just because something else coming down the line might also offer you joy. If I can play great games now then that's what I want to do – I don't want to go, "well, if I wait a year I might be able to play this game or that game at a higher resolution or frame rate".
My own plan for next year is to buy PSVR 2 at launch and enjoy the games and experiences it delivers in 2023. Then, if a PS5 Pro does arrive, I'll look to upgrade to that as well, maybe considering selling the PSVR 2 if I don't think it's right for me at that point, in order to do so. The point will be, though, I will have enjoyed what PSVR 2 has to offer me at that point, so will have bagged that experience and not missed out by playing the waiting game for PS5 Pro.
Only each gamer can speak for themselves in terms of what they will personally do, but what I do think is certain is that all PlayStation gamers should be excited about the next year, as it's looking like one stuffed with exciting new software and hardware. Bring it on!