Veteran VR developer Aldin Dynamics, the studio behind Waltz of the Wizard, says it is pausing development on PSVR titles until Sony clarifies plans for the future of VR on PS5.

While Sony has brought PSVR to PS5 thanks to backwards compatibility with PS4 titles, the company has been tight-lipped on whether it plans to launch new VR hardware to bring its VR ambitions into the next generation.

For developers like Aldin Dynamics, that’s created an uncertain future which makes it difficult to commit limited time and development resources to the platform.

The studio has been working in VR since the earliest days of the industry. After its release all the way back in 2016, the studio has used its title Waltz of the Wizard as a perpetually updated test-bed for new ideas, like an innovative method for VR locomotion.

Aldin’s ‘Waltz of the Wizard’ | Image courtesy Aldin Dynamics

Though the game is available on all major VR platforms, Aldin’s CEO, Hrafn Thorisson, today announced the studio is pausing development on the PSVR version of the game until Sony addresses its future plans for VR on PS5.

“Sony apparently isn’t hellbent on keeping 1st gen PSVR away from PS5, but question remains what they’ll do next. I think they should do PSPVR (PS5 connection option), he said. “We’re holding off on further VR product updates on PS (including Natural Magic [a major upcoming expansion to Waltz of the Wizard]) until Sony talks what’s next.”

Thorisson’s mention of “PSPVR”—a reference to Sony’s prior PSP gaming handheld—is a suggestion that the company’s next VR headset should be standalone like Oculus Quest, with the option to plug into PS5 for rendering greater performance.

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Speaking to Road to VR Thorisson elaborated on the studio’s decision decision, saying that PSVR’s aging hardware has fallen out of step with where other major VR platforms are heading.

“I think Sony did an admirable job with ’90s tracking technologies and controllers, after they dropped their gamepad requirement. In many ways Sony did a good job—but the platform became instantly outdated after release.” he said. “Oculus and SteamVR platforms let us accomplish our vision for what a VR experience should be, and the latest iterations of hardware—especially Oculus Quest—are further showcases of how VR friction is decreasing, usability improving, and retention of users is increasing with every step taken in VR.”

Image courtesy Aldin Dynamics

Limitations in tracking, especially, have made it difficult to design next-gen VR content, Thorisson said. And with little guidance on Sony’s future plans for VR on PS5, the extra work needed to keep content and features in sync with more advanced VR platforms is a risky investment. As of now, the upcoming expansion to Waltz of the Wizard, dubbed Natural Magic, won’t be heading to the PSVR version of the game—at least until Sony clarifies its VR roadmap.

“Sony needs to upgrade their platform significantly, and I personally hope the reason for their silence is that they’re hard at work on a PSPVR or otherwise a massive improvement of PSVR 2.0,” said Thorisson.

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  • Ad

    I’m more than a little tired of these suggestions for a sony standalone. We know it isn’t coming, we know they won’t make it, and the people insisting it is the only way forward are just wrong. Would I like it to happen? Sure, it would open competition and get the devs who only see standalone to maybe work on other platforms.

    But there’s no reason to believe it could happen when Sony is focused on the PS5 as Microsoft is dumping money into Xbox. They won’t split their attention. The PSVR is stuck simply because they don’t want to saddle the PS5 with it, harming both the PS5 and the PSVR2 that might come out in 2022. The PSVR is an accessory to the PS4, not a platform, and now on PS5 it gets a small boost from unlocked framerates and high resolutions if they patch them in, but they cannot release any PS5 games with it supported because that’s not how consoles work.

    He doesn’t have to make anything for PSVR, and I want to see a full explanation of how the PSVR market worked and why so few devs cared about the platform that still has more headsets than all others combined, but statements like this seem like they’re almost rhetorical in a disingenuous way. Like he’s saying “I’d be happy to work with sony, as long as they do things I know they won’t do, and do everything facebook does.” I get the feeling that the people who call for sony to make standalone will just find a new excuse to prefer the Quest if they did, and in practice it just means they’ll never accept the PSVR2 that we do get.

    • VR5

      We know it isn’t coming, we know they won’t make it

      How do we know this exactly? We really don’t know anything about their plans, maybe they aren’t even working on PSVR2.

      I’m not sure if standalone is the best way for PSVR to evolve but I can see why so many people speak in favor of going into that direction. Sony themselves are probably not clear where to go so any input from creators and customers might sway them one way or another.

      • Ad

        People who say they should make a standalone are making zero effort to understand the position that sony is in, and they’re setting things up for them to refuse to accept a PSVR2 because it isn’t a standalone device. Even if Sony did make a standalone they likely wouldn’t want to serve an ultra casual audience.

        • VR5

          At this point, any PSVR2 announcement will probably met with relief. Standalone doesn’t equal casual btw, why would it.

          • Ad

            Because that’s the target audience for the quest.

          • VR5

            Its target audience is broader than that. PS also targets the casual audience. Steam does too. But not exclusively.

          • Ad

            Ask developers, that is one of the main things they cite about what makes the quest so viable.

          • VR5

            Yeah as in isn’t complicated and doesn’t scare off potential customers. You want to reach casuals, they’re the mainstream. Gamers are the niche. But gamers can also be trendsetters, casual gamers often follow the hypes created in the gaming scene.

            You have to appeal to both for best results. And PSVR is already plenty casual friendly, it’s what gave it its early lead over PC.

          • Ad

            Casuals as in non gamers

          • VR5

            That’s the problem when you assume that other people use a word only in the meaning you think it has.

            Casual gamers are people who play games casually, i.e. they don’t buy a lot of games, only a few per year. Non gamers are people who usually don’t play games but buy a console/handheld for stuff like brain training or fitness.

            I guess with Beat Saber VR appeals to non gamers but unless the person who buys the hardware also buy a few games, selling hardware at a loss is not a good business model.

            Core games like Walking Dead or Population One do well on Quest, you can’t serious claim it is only for non gamers.

          • Ad

            Why do you respond to my comments if you’re just as much a desperate facebook fanboy as usual?

          • VR5

            The real question is why I’m trying to have a discussion with you. You’re right, it doesn’t really feel worth it.

          • Ad

            You’ve never made a rational or reasonable comment. Even when things are at their worst you’ve been a nauseating and irrational presence with nothing of worth to say.

    • TechPassion

      2022? :)
      By 2022 everybody forgets about Sony VR. They must release PSVR 2.0 in 2021.

      • Ad

        Their CEO said they wouldn’t be doing VR next year.

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    • Andrew Jakobs

      How are you so sure Sony won’t make a standalone? let’s not forget they actually had the handheld console, and before that they even had videoglasses, hell let’s not forget the Walkman… And with the Quest (2) being a succes, I can imagine Sony also changing their roadmap from a console connected headset to a standalone headset (which can also connect to the console), that makes perfectly sense.
      Let’s face it, PCVR-only headsets will be a thing of the past, as soon as it will have wireless connection, it will probably have an ARM SOC in it from now on which will also function as a standalone headset.

      • sfmike

        They might make it but based on past performance they then will not actively support it if it doesn’t make a billion in profits. Remember Sony 3D World, movies, TVs, cameras and blu-rays?

      • Ad

        Except Sony doesn’t consider the Quest 2 a success. They sold 110 million PS4s, they don’t give a damn about the Quest having sold 1 million and a half units or whatever between the two of them, they don’t care if it sells 10 million. They don’t care, they don’t live in the VR bubble. Walkman and Video glasses were cheap and straightforward for what the non gaming segment of sony did, we’re talking about the playstation division that carries the company. Anything they do with VR would be to serve the PS5, anything else would be a waste of time.

        • VR5

          Visual inside out tracking is computational expensive. Wireless stream decoding is as well. A standalone could make for a great wireless PS5 headset while also be an entry point to VR even without an expensive Playstation.

          Oculus has found a good recipe for mainstream VR. There will be competitors picking up on that model.

          And let’s not pretend the Quest is done selling or that they will stop making them once it reaches 10 million. If they can sell 10 million, they can sell even more.

          The sooner the trajectory confirms this to be a likely outcome, the more effort Sony will put into developing their own VR standalone (I’m sure they’re researching the possibility).

          • Ad

            This is gibberish. They don’t care, the quest is a joke compared to the PS4 and 5 and they have no vested interest in the success of XR as a platform so they have no desire to lose money on it like Facebook. They care about the PS5 and fighting Xbox/game pass/xcloud. A standalone headset would be a terrible waste of their time and resources in their eyes. What Facebook reality labs does is irrelevant to them.

          • VR5

            You might be right. Or you might be wrong. Do you have a telepathic rapport with Sony? Are they one person or do you have to read a lot of people’s thoughts to make out what “Sony” wants?

            Observing dynamics and arguing plausibility is all fine but let’s not pretend we know things for sure we really don’t.

          • Ad

            I care even slightly about their actual incentives and what they’ve said and other people in the gaming industry have said about them. You’re just pointless speculating based on a really weird bubble. It’s weird that speculation based on literally nothing and counter to everything about how their business works is no less valuable to you than an educated guess based on their history of engagement with XR. The facebook community has really not given you enough perspectives.

          • VR5

            You’d be more convincing if instead of just claiming you understand something you’d actually show you do. Calling someone stupid doesn’t make you smart.

    • Amni3D

      Standalone isn’t as important as it would seem on paper, a wireless console HMD achieves 90% of that “ease of use”, imo. I’d love a Sony standalone HMD, but it’s not likely. Plus, I think they know that they have more sway over mainstream VR than Facebook.

      What I’m not a fan of is this sentiment of false urgency from people saying “PSVR2 needed to release yesterday or its doomed!”. They can take their time, not everything has to be an incremental yearly release..

      • Ad

        I think they need to do it sooner rather than later because the industry needs them, which is for us, but also Facebook could get into streaming VR, which would actually be a threat to them. Facebook is paying capcom to make Resident Evil 4 VR.

  • LoneWuff326

    i couldnt agree more the psvr is outdated hardware, and psvr owners complain when new games release and they dont support psvr. Its outdated hardware and sony doesnt seem to care much about it anymore they havnt even updated the headset since it launch and im talking both hardware and software

    • VR5

      Games usually take longer to make it to PSVR but most quality titles not bound by Oculus funding usually made it to PSVR sooner or later. This might change now considering this dev’s statement. And I don’t think Valve will try to port Alyx to PS4, or even PS5 if that were an option unless Sony reached out to share funding.

      • psuedonymous

        I don’t think it will affect new games being ported to PSVR: PSVR remains the single largest VR user base (PS5 or not), leaving those sales on the table is not a great move unless someone has already funded your entire development cycle.

        Remember that ‘Waltz of the Wizard’ is a 4 year old game. Sales on any platform are unlikely to be high except for new platforms bringing fresh users (e.g. Quest), so Vetan VR are saving money by not producing updates for it.

        • VR5

          Good point.

          On the other hand PC is probably not far behind in terms of combined headsets and is seeing continued growth thanks to HL:A. If Quest keeps its momentum it will also quickly catch up. We’re already seeing Quest versions being prioritized over PSVR, sometimes even over PC.

          PS5 exclusive games would have helped PSVR get more simultaneous releases with PC. Porting to PS4 requires optimization. Not as much as Quest maybe but there you can get away with lowering fidelity. PS gamers expect something closer to PC than to mobile.

        • LoneWuff326

          true psvr sold 5 million units but how many of those people are still using it?

      • Arno van Wingerde

        i think chances of PSVR software making it to the Quest are better… I wonder how much weaker the Quest 2 is than the PS4 …

  • MosBen

    I could very much get onboard with a Sony mobile VR HMD as part of the Playstation line. It would extra be able to get onboard if some of the better PSVR titles were able to make the jump.

  • Adrian Meredith

    I’d just like to see native quest support for the next gen consoles, its the path of less resistence especially as far as microsoft is concerned. Series X runs on windows anyway so technically it already supports VR with the right software installed. Ms should do a deal with oculus to bring its games to series X (and alyx too) I’m pretty sure it would be pretty successful perhaps in years time when the user base is large enough

    • IcedForce

      Quest support is kind of out of the question.

      With Xbox One there was some rumors MS getting Facebook HMD to it but that ended up not doing anything and now MS has its own VR “platform” and it would be kind of stupid from them to allow Facebook to integrate into Xbox when they can just slap their own WMR on it. Not to mention that WMR support for Xbox would be a lot better for the consumers than Facebook which most likely would require exclusivity and so Quest 2 would be the only Xbox HMD out there without any competition and as we have now seen with exclusivity in games, MS really isn’t up to it anymore bringing Xbox exclusives to the PC also.

      Sony has their own PSVR so Facebook isn’t going to get there and that leaves only Nintendo from the big ones and from its history if Nintendo was to bring VR to Switch, they would do so with their own hardware and they are still control freaks so that shuts every and all 3rd parties outside. So if Quest was to come to consoles it would be the long theorized Facebook Console or something else.

  • Hmm that’s a little discouraging. I would have thought VR developers would be queued in on PSVR2’s roadmap by now albeit under NDA.
    Hope this twists their arm enough to release some details, even if they’re subject to change.
    Especially if that system is potentially standalone, the sooner devs have the expected hardware requirements the sooner they can at least begin to target it properly.
    I hope Aldin will update us if Sony reaches out, even if they can’t discuss the details.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Ofcourse this could also be a ploy from them to get the info under NDA..

  • That’s basically punishing owners of their product on an existing system based on what future Sony products may or may not be like. Pretty poor form. It’s one thing to say they won’t port some new game to PSVR which is understandable as they look to the future and it’s on a system that is now being replaced by PS5 but this is different.

    I don’t have a PSVR and consider it poor VR based on Sony botching it with retrofitting the unsuitable Move controllers for it hampering the potential, PC VR & Quest are way superior (have been for ages, not just now with Quest 2), that’s not the point.

    It would be great if more companies jumped in VR. Nintendo now has one multipurpose platform nstead of home + portable as they did so they could do a Nintendo Quest as a second platform that is different enough for people to not feel like they should get all the Nintendo games on their other platform. Sony could do anything as well. Who knows what’s gonna happen? They are mistreating existing owners *now* based on unknowns.

    Edit: they’re doing damage control saying they maxed out PSVR and can’t do more features. Sorry, that’s not an answer, they either can make it work on PSVR, or they can’t. If they can’t, just say they halt updates on PSVR as it stands regardless of what Sony does in the future rather than present it as some kind of retaliation to the users over Sony not bringing the future soon enough or not keeping them in the loop.

    After all, if they come up with a PSVR2 that is on par and can do the things they want, that still won’t mean they can update it for existing PSVR owners. So the updates are halted regardless and they look to new products. They phrased this completely wrong if that’s what they wanted to do but instead they sound pissy and like they wanna pressure Sony (lol) or make them look like the bad guy for their own product’s end of life.

    They could have just said: “We’re very sorry but we have reached the limit of what PSVR can do so any future updates will be bugfixes at most rather than new game features. Thank you for the support, hopefully Sony’s next VR product will be more capable so we may return as well!” instead of create all this drama and piss users off.

  • Nothing to see here

    Sony should at least offer full SDK support for the current PSVR. Imagine how pissed off a customer who buys a “PS5 compatible” PSVR bundle only to find that not only are there zero PS5 games that support the PSVR, Sony won’t even say if they are coming. Talk to us Sony. We have long memories and if you treat current PSVR owners this badly, why would we want to go through that again after you release the PSVR2 or whatever you are planning?

  • Andrew Jakobs

    PSPVR, now that would be VERY interesting. And I wouldn’t be suprised if it will become something like that, and maybe that’s the reason why they also won’t be coming soon with new hardware (as a long time ago it was said they would probably come with PSVR2 around half year after launch of the PS5, so it wouldn’t be overschadowed by the PS5 launch itself, and give them more time to get the OS improves.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      Ad commented that Sony does not seem to be planning a PSVR2 in 2021.
      In 2022 most VR gamers will have switched to the Quest or PCVR (say, reverb G2). Yes Sony can keep interest going with e few PSVR games in the meanwhile, but the hardware is looking pretty antique… Of course, with their marketshare and a really good PSVR2 they can come back, but I am surprised they have given up on updating their PSVR…. I had certainly expected a PSVR2 in 2021.

  • I agree with him… it’s a hard for an indie studio commit to a platform that has an uncertain future and is now very obsolete, with executives saying they won’t release a new hardware in 2021…