OPINION PIECE

PSVR 2 shock and the joys of Mixed Reality: My year 2023 in VR

PSVR 2 shock and the joys of Mixed Reality: My year 2023 in VR

The year 2023 is almost over and has provided some highlights for VR enthusiasts. Here is Josef's personal review of the year.

The VR year 2023 had a lot to offer. Important new VR hardware was released, the game libraries of many users were enriched with some highlights, and the course was set for an exciting 2024.

My personal VR year 2023 was mainly marked by two VR headsets: A bitter disappointment was followed by an important realization.

Bye bye Quest 2!

I had a lot of fun with my Meta Quest 2 for a long time. The wireless VR headset turned me into a VR fitness fan and I spent many hours in FitXR, Les Mills Bodycombat or Synth Riders.

Over the course of 2022, however, we grew apart — especially as more and more details about the new edition of an old love became known.

I took my first steps into VR with the Playstation VR. I'll never forget the two demos that put me in a shark cage in the depths of the ocean and tied to a chair in a crazy woman's shabby old Kitchen.

So when Sony announced that the long-awaited PSVR 2 would finally be released in early 2023, my pulse immediately quickened.

My personal disaster called Playstation VR 2

The disillusionment was all the greater when I finally got Sony's new VR headset on my head. The comfort brought me to the brink of despair. The Halo ring put so much pressure on the back of my head, temples, and forehead that I could barely play for more than 30 minutes at a time.

In addition, the sweet spot of the Fresnel lenses, which were already outdated at launch, was extremely small, and the screendoor effect was clearly visible. After less than a month, I sent my PSVR 2 back. I haven't regretted it to this day, as Sony has more or less abandoned the VR headset.

After the brilliant start with the VR hit Horizon Call of the Mountain and the VR modes for Resident Evil 8 and Gran Turismo 7, there wasn't much more to come. To this day, the game library consists largely of popular VR games re-released for the PSVR 2. More exclusive highlights? None at all.

Meta Quest 3 saved my VR year

My original plan to turn my back on mobile virtual reality and play countless graphically demanding console games didn't work out. Luckily, another VR headset was waiting in the wings.

At first, the Quest 3 was only on my radar out of professional interest. Today, I use it almost every day.

It can be adjusted to the shape of your head using the official Elite Strap or third-party solutions. The pancake lenses provide a wonderfully clear image without a mini sweet spot, and the virtual worlds are much more polished than on the Quest 2 thanks to the new XR2 Gen 2 chip.

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By the way, I prepared my old Quest 2 for a friend a few days ago and noticed how big the difference compared to the Quest 3 really is. I would recommend anyone who is thinking about upgrading from the Quest 2 to the Quest 3 to take the plunge. It's worth it!

My newfound enjoyment of Mixed Reality

The ability to display mixed reality in reasonable quality alone makes Quest 3 interesting for all VR and AR fans. Tomislav has already described the advantages of mixed reality in a series of articles. Still, I didn't realize how important this feature would be to me.

Whether I'm checking my smartphone on the go or working in a virtual office, I wouldn't want to be without mixed reality. The Quest 3's color pass-through may not be perfect yet, but it already offers a glimpse into an exciting XR future.

One of my personal XR highlights is the small but excellent mixed reality game Track Craft. Here you can place a digital racetrack in physical space and perform spectacular stunts with lovingly designed mini-cars.

Another time-waster: Eleven Table Tennis in Mixed Reality. You can find many more of the best XR apps for Quest 3 in the linked article.

2023: A good VR year

For me, 2023 was one of the best years in recent VR history. Even if my individual experience wasn't the best, the PSVR 2 is a great device for many users, and I'm happy about that. Like its predecessor, it will have introduced many Playstation owners to VR for the first time.

I just wish Sony would do more with the Playstation VR 2, so that the VR headset doesn't just sit on the shelf of PS5 owners.

For me, 2023 and the PSVR 2 have made me realize that comfort, flexibility, and modularity are more important to me than wired graphics power with no modulation options.

But really, it shouldn't be an either/or question: The VR industry needs mobile VR, PC VR, and console VR. Virtual reality and VR headsets are a highly individual experience, and the more people who have access to good VR across platforms, the better.

In any case, I am excited to see what 2024 will bring and hope that all your VR wishes come true. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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