Virtual reality hasn’t seen much notable progress in the past two years, with none of the five best VR headsets we can currently buy being released within the last 18 months, and only one since 2020.
But with the imminent arrival of PSVR 2the expected release of the last Oculus (Meta) Quest helmet and the possibility of Apple’s long-talked-about mixed reality headset emerging, 2023 seems to be the year when virtual reality could finally begin to realize its full potential.
The PSVR 2 alone – as the only one of three headsets with a confirmed 2023 release date – would be more than enough to push the dial for VR going based on what we already know. Although much has been said about the The price of PSVR 2in fact, it will arrive as one of the most impressive headsets at a price that is at the lower end of the VR market.
To reinforce this point, compared to 2022 Meta Quest Pro, the PSVR 2 will launch at a third of the price of the Pro while offering superior resolution, field of view and panel refresh rate. Not to mention Sony’s commitment to developing exclusive experiences for its new headphones that no competitor (so far) can match.
Aside from the confirmed PSVR 2 release, here’s what 2023 could hold for VR.
Champion Waiting: PSVR 2
As impressive as the PSVR 2’s specs and features are, there’s no escaping the hardware’s reliance on owning a PlayStation console which is a potential limitation. This was also true for the early PSVR debut, which didn’t lack performance value but nonetheless suffered from a lack of opportunity.
So naturally, the ultimate measure of PSVR 2’s success will revolve around the games and experiences it will offer – especially its exclusives. On that front, no title looks more promising for PSVR 2’s ability to push virtual reality forward than Horizon: The Call of the Mountain.
Following Horizon: West forbidden As the latest entry in the popular PlayStation-exclusive franchise, Sony has made no secret of the size of its bet on the success of Horizon: Call of the Mountain for the PSVR 2. As the launch title for the new headset, Call of the Mountain is being released heavily by Sony as part of a bundle with the PSVR sequel, and has arguably shown just enough to pique the interest of seasoned PlayStation gamers.
As good as this title looks, though, it’s slim pickings elsewhere in terms of PSVR 2 exclusives… so far. The majority of titles currently advertised as being on their way to Sony’s latest have already been released for other VR headsets, such as the Meta Quest 2, which won’t do much to encourage casual VR fans to give up. their old headsets for PlayStation’s new one. a.
Still, if nothing else, the superior specs on offer in the PSVR 2 at a fraction of the price of many of its competitors should (in theory) be enough to shake the cobwebs of the VR market.
And there are hints that we won’t have to wait too long after the release of PSVR 2 to find out what further advancements in the world of VR look like.
Although his efforts in the metaverse didn’t really pay for itthere has arguably not yet been a VR headset launch that has matched the popularity or success of the Oculus Quest 2 (now Meta Quest 2). And it’s not by chance.
The Oculus Quest 2 has stood out since its release due to its ability to present an easy entry path into the world of VR – not requiring a heavy PC setup or an expensive console to run – while still doing match its accessibility with impressive performance. Technical specifications. The headset has also benefited from the release of many of the best VR games to date during its life cycle, such as Beat Saber (now bundled as a redeemable download with Quest 2 headsets), Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge and Resident Evil 4 VR.
This at least allowed Meta to compensate for the damage caused by its failing Metaverse product. Horizon Worldswho was recently reported (opens in a new tab) having seen a steep drop of more than 100,000 users in just eight months.
What didn’t help Meta, however, was the disappointing launch of its pricey mixed reality headset, the Meta Quest Pro. Despite impressive overall performance, the Quest Pro has been largely overlooked since its release in late October. This is likely due to the Pro’s inability to represent a sufficient improvement over the Oculus Quest 2 to justify its price.
What the Pro does is prepare the ground for the arrival of Meta’s Quest 3 and, if Meta CFO David Wehner is to be believed (opens in a new tab)this arrival will arrive at the end of 2023 (with the Quest 4 would have should follow soon after). Rumors that the Quest 3 will adopt uOLED displays in addition to the planned improvements to the performance specs of the already exceptional Quest 2, the 2023 version of Meta looks very much like a potential game changer for virtual reality.
And the Meta Quest 3 might even be the game-changer for virtual reality in 2023, provided we don’t see the arrival of a strong new competitor in the market.
The great unknown: Apple’s mixed reality headset
Not yet officially confirmed but widespreadApple’s entry into the world of virtual reality is just as eagerly awaited as one might expect, even with proposed release dates having been consistently missed and moved over the years since reports of the helmet first appeared. This ultimately shows what a headset from Apple would mean for the VR market.
When Apple released its first iPhone in 2007, it was nothing short of a revelation, both for smartphones and technology in general. As renowned as Apple was as a company all those years ago, it still hasn’t even come close to the prestige and popularity (or cult status as some would say) that it has now. The success of the iPhone has a lot to do with it, but so does the consistency of Apple’s other product releases in the nearly two decades since the first iPhone arrived.
With its track record of quality and innovation, it’s reasonable to expect that any virtual (and mixed) reality product from Apple could act as a game-changer for virtual reality in the same way that the iPhone did. made for smartphones. And rival companies, like Google and Samsung, would likely seek to compete. Realistically, a release of Apple’s rumored headphones would spark a VR arms race the likes of which we’ve never seen for support, with consumers ultimately reaping the benefits.
If 2023 turns out to be the year we finally see Apple enter this space, it could very well also be the year we’ve been looking back on for some time in the future, when virtual reality has finally started to realize its true potential.
The happy bonuses
If the potential releases of three new VR headsets weren’t enough to spark excitement for the 2023 outlook for VR, several announced and impending software releases for support should seal the deal.
Big-name pop culture franchises like Attack on Titan, Stranger Things, Peaky Blinders, Ghostbusters and Jurassic Park are all coming to VR, each hoping to match the exceptional quality (and popularity) of the 2020s Half-Life: Alyx. At the very least, the current popularity of each franchise will bring renewed gaze and attention to virtual reality, which will translate into benefits for the medium.
And while we’ve seen things like Stranger Things on VR before (in the form of Stranger Things: The VR Experience in 2017), advances in development studio capabilities for VR in recent years mean that efforts of five years ago are decades behind. .
This reflects the rate of evolution of VR software having far exceeded that of hardware, but 2023 could finally be the year we see this change. Even if that ends up being only half true, any progress in virtual reality finally realizing its true potential is cause for excitement.