Virtual Reality is the next big thing, right? Everyone has heard some variation of that phrase, yet there has been no real evidence of mainstream VR adoption. In June 2023, though, the VR enthusiast space just got its biggest co-sign yet: The Apple Vision Pro headset. Just like that, the market interest seems to be stronger than ever. Especially from casual consumers. As exciting as this VR headset for Apple is, we still need to take a quick look at what this could mean for VR gaming’s biggest mainstream manufacturer, Sony, and the PSVR2.
The PSVR 2 headset was released in February 2023, and it really didn’t seem to gain much traction beyond the initial media rounds covering it as a new piece of hardware. Sure, they had Horizon Call of The Mountain, and a few other games, but VR Game Development still hasn’t caught up to the current quality of games expected by most audiences. Other than a fancy gimmick every few months, most VR headset owners rarely find themselves adding these giant goggles to their daily device rotation. Apple plans to change that.
In typical Apple fashion, the Cupertino Company unveiled the Apple Vision Pro headset during their WWDC. The big news of the day was undoubtedly this announcement, and their wording during the reveal was quite interesting. Instead of calling it an augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) headset, Apple describes it as a “spatial computer.” Interesting. Yet, they are kind of justified for using those specific words. Most VR headsets we’ve encountered so far have really never been “computer” level in terms of processing. This time around, though, Apple’s M2 chip is equipped within that headset form factor, along with a new R1 chip for its cameras, sensors and tracking.
Unlike the PSVR 2, Apple’s VR headset is made for more than just gaming. The display alone provides a combined 8K+ resolution. This is a far cry from the 2000×2040 pixels resolution given to players in PlayStation’s VR space. Because the PSVR 2 is primarily a gaming device, there’s really not much else you can comfortably use it for, especially when you have the option to enjoy content using a real-world interface. It’s also a bit of a chore to control your headset with motion controllers. On the Apple Vision Pro, there’s no extra weight to contend with. It’s pretty much just you and your headset, and this builds a strong level of immersion when viewing content.
Apple’s VisionOS pretty much guarantees that a lot of the things you enjoy on your smartphone, Mac or PC will be bigger and crispier in VR. Meanwhile, the PSVR 2 is priced similarly to a PS5, but with a much weaker catalogue of games to play. Casual consumers would rather just get a PS5 rather than a PSVR 2, especially because of lower interest in VR gaming from devs.
Pricing is probably the weakest point for the Apple Vision Pro compared to Sony’s PSVR 2. Still, it’s likely that Apple’s Vision Pro will act as a catalyst for other VR manufacturers to think bigger, and treat VR like a full-blown computer, rather than a gimmick device.