We’re still awaiting confirmation of the first VR game natively designed for PS5, but for now we know that many PSVR titles for PS4 are expected to support backwards compatibility on PS5. When running on PS5, those older titles are likely to benefit from the console’s greater power, which could improve frame rates, resolutions, and loading times.

While it wasn’t until last week that we got the full PS5 reveal, Sony announced the console’s technical specs in a blog post back in March. The company later updated the post to add detail about backwards compatibility for PS4 games running on PS5.

First, the company noted that it expects “the overwhelming majority of the 4,000+ PS4 titles will be playable on PS5.” As far as Sony has indicated, this includes PSVR titles as well.

The company also said that many backwards compatible titles will have access to more processing power, which can improve performance.

“We’re expecting backward compatible titles will run at a boosted frequency on PS5 so that they can benefit from higher or more stable frame rates and potentially higher resolutions.”

This isn’t necessarily automatic for all titles, as some have technical limitations which would prevent them from dynamically improving with more power, unless manually adjusted.

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However, many modern PSVR games are already designed with performance scaling in mind between PS4 and PS4 Pro, which allows them to look their best within the confines of each system’s resources. Games already designed with this scaling in mind are more likely to be able to benefit from improved performance when running on PS5.

Sony says it is testing games to look for backwards compatibility issues.

“We’re currently evaluating games on a title-by-title basis to spot any issues that need adjustment from the original software developers.”

For games that do require some manual intervention from the developers, the most popular PSVR titles will be the most likely to get patches to benefit from PS5’s performance. We’d expect that Sony’s first-party PSVR titles, like ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission and Blood & Truth, would be most likely to see such patches.

Frame Rates, Supersampling, and Loading Times

Although PSVR games target a locked framerate of 60Hz, 90Hz, or 120Hz (and will ostensibly continue to do so), the extra power on PS5 should enable greater stability for games which sometimes hitch under load. Additionally, the extra power could allow developers to bump frame rates up to the next tier (though this would almost certainly require a patch).

Even with the same 1080p display, PSVR games can look sharper with supersampling | Photo courtesy iFixit (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

The extra headroom could also be used to increase the render resolution of specific games. Although PSVR has a per-eye resolution of 960 × 1,080, increasing the render resolution beyond the display resolution is known as supersampling, which can bring surprising benefits to sharpness despite viewing the image on the same display.

It should also be relatively trivial for PS4 PSVR games to benefit from PS5’s much faster memory, at least when it comes to loading times, but the real power of PS5 for VR won’t be revealed until we see games natively designed for the console.

PSVR Games Built Natively for PS5 Will Benefit Far More

Epic’s ‘Lumen in the Land of Nanite’ demo show’s what’s possible with PS5 hardware | Image courtesy Epic Games

Although it’s nice to know that PS5’s extra power will likely benefit backwards compatible PSVR titles, new PSVR games natively built for the console will see far greater improvements in graphics and performance.

That’s because PS5 uses a new architecture with considerably more power, but developers will need to re-architect their games to get the most from the console’s new hardware. That includes designing for the system’s blazing fast SSD, using ray-tracing acceleration, and tapping into the system’s dedicated 3D audio processing capabilities.

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Although we know that PSVR will be backwards compatible with PS5, and that PS4 games are likely to benefit from the improved hardware, Sony still hasn’t announced plans for a next-gen headset, nor has it confirmed native PS5 VR games.

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  • Jim P

    Better. Just wish the people that have one on this console could experience true VR. Like 360 movement. Walk any direction and not lose hand presence.

    • Adam Broadhurst

      All that will no doubt come with PSVR2

    • Bob

      PSVR 2 is coming with a most likely release date of Q3/Q4 2021.

      So eventually they will be able to do all of those things so don’t worry.

  • Adrian Meredith

    The best thing Sony and Microsoft could do is support openXR and allow all existing headsets to be supported.

  • impurekind

    Presumably it will also help reduce any LoD and pop-in issues too.

  • Greyl

    Still a closed platform, so all the cool custom avatar stuff people are doing on VRChat, Neos VR, the workshop maps on Pavlov, etc, won’t be possible on PSVR, due to copyright infringement fears, as evident by Dreams’ copyright policy.

    • kakek

      Have you seen the stuff on dream ? Not very efficient policy.

  • They don’t say that old PSVR will work on PS5, so maybe even if PSVR games will work, you couldn’t play in VR, only in 2d

  • Bob

    Sony have talked about HDR for PSVR 2 which is sorely needed in VR.

    Too often colors and contrast are downplayed among other things (resolution, fov) which doesn’t make sense at all because washed out colors and grayish blacks are incredibly harmful to immersion even if a user doesn’t think it does until they actually see the difference. Bearing in mind you’re essentially placing a screen right in front of your eyeballs so contrast and colors are even more essential.

    Not to mention it is sort of pathetic that in 2020 most of the mainstream consumer VR HMDs are still just as awful as they were in 2016 in terms of the blacks, color saturation and accuracy.
    LC displays should not be the way forward; it should only be used as a stop-gap to better display technologies such as OLED (or even microLED) but it is simply not the right technology to get the most out of virtual reality. Yes they’re cheap and that’s why every company out there that doesn’t give a damn about VR but are riding this technological trend are pumping HMDs out quickly to make a quick buck which is incredibly wrong.

    • kontis

      It’s not just about not giving a damn. These “pathetic” displays are some of the best in the world. Good luck finding higher PPI OLED than the one in the Quest.

      The current state of the technology is just not there and starting manufacturing to push these display specs further would cost $5-$10 billion dollars, according to Samsung. This is doable in smartphone market, but not in XR market.

      Sony is not making the screen in PSVR, so they can talk as much as they want, they can offer only what manufacturers can sell them. Valve also talked about huge importance of HDR in VR years ago (they made an incredible prototype with hacked, overclocked display to make people feel like they are on real beach), but they weren’t able to offer it in an actual product.

  • Rupert Jung

    If they just had mounted the camera on the headset itself than on the TV…

  • Schadows

    Has Dualshock 4 been confirmed as working on PS5 ? (I didn’t find any source for that despite some people claiming it to be true).
    Without any light bar on the DualSense, some PSVR games might not be playable otherwise.