Humanity is Out May 16

The fine folks over at Enhance and tha have announced the release date for the puzzle game Humanity with a total throwback mishmash of trailers.

Full disclosure; I was a play tester for Humanity and was financially compensated for my time. I chatted with Chris Johnston about it on The Max Frequency Podcast. I’d love to do a full, non-NDA-breaking write up about my experience someday after launch. I am stoked to dive in again and chase the Platinum.

Eagle-eyed viewers may be able to find a level I made in the trailer. 👀


Procrastination pays off again! Mark MacDonald and my friend Chris Johnston published a deep dive into the gameplay and modes of Humanity on the PlayStation YouTube channel. If you want a taste of what I was able to experience, check it out.

Playing with PS VR2 for the First Time

Last night, I streamed setting up and playing my new PlayStation VR2 headset for the first time. I don’t always link to my live streams here, but this one felt substantial enough to share. Minus the user error of forgetting there is a power button on the headset, the setup process is so simple. One cable1 and boom, you are off to the races. Which, I was with Gran Turismo 7. The sense of presence and speed is unlike any game I have ever played. It absolutely blew my mind. I had a blast hopping around games. If you are at all curious about PS VR2, I think my stream is worth a watch. I hope you enjoy!


1. I did buy a 3′ USB-C extension cable, which seems to be the max length you can add on to the 14.5′ cord coming out of the headset itself.

State of Play Incoming

New State of Play arrives Thursday, featuring Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League by Brett Elston for the PlayStation Blog

State of Play returns with its first show of 2023! Get ready for new looks at some anticipated games from our third-party partners, as well as a first glimpse at five PlayStation VR2 games set to arrive later this year. Then, settle in for more than 15 minutes of all-new gameplay details and updates on Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, the next game from Rocksteady Studios.

The State of Play is this Thursday at 4:00 PM EST. PlayStation Japan reports that the video presentation will be around 45 minutes and feature 16 games. Subtract the five PS VR2 titles and Suicide Squad and we have 10 mystery titles that should fill between 20 and 30 minutes.1 I’d wager on Final Fantasy XVI getting mentioned again, I’d love first-party. Perhaps we will finally see Naughty Dog’s “Factions,” but I suspect that will be shown no sooner than The Last of Us‘ 10-year anniversary.

Suicide Squad needs a killer demo. I’m not the only person hesitant about a shooty-shooter super hero game set in the legendary Arkham-verse by Rocksteady. I don’t doubt the dev team’s prowess, but I am cautious of the multiplayer, battle pass approach this game appears to be taking. I want to be excited about this one, but I’m struggling.

PS VR2 getting five new games announced right after launch day is excellent. And they are all supposed to launch this year. I bet we see Firewall Ultra. It could be more ports or enhanced versions, but I am hoping for at least one PlayStation Studios title to be revealed. And, of course, Half-Life: Alyx. These announcements could be the cherry on top of launch week.


1. I suppose those mystery games could take less time, but I’m not betting that five PS VR2 games will take more than 10 minutes to reveal and advertise. Prove me wrong Sony!

PS VR2 Interview with 17-Bit – Digital Foundry

PSVR 2 Deep Dive – Song In The Smoke Preview – Talking Tech With 17-Bit by John Linneman for Digital Foundry

I’ve been chipping away at this interview for the past few days.1 Word on the street is the PS VR2 embargo is this Wednesday (2/15/22), which makes sense being a week before launch. Hearing devs talk about their experience with the hardware feels like a ice-cold glass of water on a hot summer day.

My biggest take away is the eye-tracking as a form on input. It sounds like magic. Weapon wheels, item pick-ups, and interaction with the speed and accuracy of your eyes is shaping up to be a generational leap for VR. Can’t wait to try it out next week.


1. 5 minutes here, 3 minutes there. I am learning that having a baby around the house means a lot more bit by bit doing whatever we’d like to do. 😅

Sony Publishes a FAQ for PS VR2

PlayStation VR2: The ultimate FAQ by Sid shuman for PlayStation Blog

Only two real answers I cared to see:

How long is this included USB Type-C cable for the PS VR2 headset?

The included cable is approximately 4.5m (14.7 ft) long.

Just shy of 15 feet seems acceptable to me. The Valve Index sports a 16 foot cable, so it’s in the ball park of the high-end PC headsets.

Will PS VR2 games be digital only or will there be physical disc releases?

Initially at launch, PS VR2 games will be digital. Physical disc releases for select titles may be available at a future date.

I am quite disappointed with this news. Real shame that Sony couldn’t (or wouldn’t) make physical copies of Horizon: Call of the Mountain. At least I’ll have the other two major titles—Resident Evil Village and Gran Turismo 7— on disc.

One more tidbit…

How many games are in development for PS VR 2?

There are currently more than 100 titles in development for PS VR2.

I wonder if that number includes the 30~ in development right now for launch. Either 70 or 100, it’s an impressive number. I’m curious how many are Sony first-party games and how many are ports/upgrades from PS VR1 titles.

The Unanswered Questions for PS VR2

PlayStation VR2 is just shy of six weeks from launch. CES 2023 has passed and I feel like we still have unanswered questions. I remember during the build up to PS VR1 that I felt more informed.1

The roll out of PS VR2 news has been inconsistent. There was official confirmation PS was making a next-gen headset in February 2021, then a name drop in January 2022, followed by the device design reveal in February. Things were quiet until the summer with a glimpse at the user experience. First hands-on reports cropped up in September and then a date, price, and portion of the launch lineup were announced in November.

Since then, there has been a drip of announcements expanding the list of launch games. At CES 2023, Jim Ryan said the headset would launch with at least 30 games. As of this writing, 23 have been announced; glancing at the list, I spot seven PS VR1 games making the jump (some with free upgrades, others not so much). We are missing seven titles so far to meet that 30 game launch list. Sure, there are six more weeks (and hopefully one or two big pop-off titles), but I feel like we need to know the full lineup ASAP.2

Speaking of games, will there be physical copies of Sony’s first-party titles? If Call of the Mountain is digital-only, why not say so up front? I would have pre-ordered the bundle and saved $10 (and gotten the cooler box), if that was announced. Sony hasn’t abandoned the physical game market, so why the hush-hush nature on physical PS VR2 titles?

How long is the cable? Quick searching suggest that the single cable is longer than PS VR1’s cable.3 One rumor even claims the cable is detachable/replaceable. That would be swell! We know just about every other spec of the device. Perhaps we will find out, when and if Sony does an official unboxing.

I think the biggest unanswered question (besides if Half-Life: Alyx will come to the system) is PC compatibility. Over the last two years, PlayStation has been far more open to putting their games on PC. The VR game library is strong on PC. With PS VR2 only needing to connect via on USB-C cable, there is no apparent reason why the device wouldn’t work with a powerful enough PC. I hope the headset is compatible, as it would be a sign of goodwill and an understanding of the current market.4

Don’t let my pondering as a lack of excitement; I am stoked for next-gen VR. I have been a believer in VR ever since I first tried it in the Engineering Building in-between classes at UCF. Heck, my current joby job is for a company that does tons of VR work. But this is one of the oddest platforms launches in awhile; stranger than the PS5 itself. It feels like PlayStation isn’t putting its back all the way into the console’s launch. I hope to see the conversation amp up here in the coming weeks.


1. Scrolling back through the PlayStation Blog in the Summer of 2016, there was at least one post a week about PS VR; some new game preview, announcement, behind-the-scenes, and more. That headset launched in October 2016. To be fair, PS VR was a first-gen headset for PlayStation, they were pushing retail store demos (which I attended twice), and it was a different PlayStation.

2. That’s not to take away from the big titles at launch. I cannot wait to play Horizon: Call of the Mountain, Resident Evil Village, and Gran Turismo 7. Those are major games. Personally, I’d love SuperHyperCube to make the jump, alongside Tetris Effect and Rez Infinite. And where is the new Astro Bot game that has to be in the works?

3. I would hope so.

4. I remember when PS VR1 launched and people quickly found out you could plug in any HDMI source and it would display the image. You didn’t have the snazzy UI or full blown VR, but the capability was there. I even wrote about it for IGN’s wiki guide. You could even use the Nintendo Switch with it through some cable wizardry and play Breath of the Wild with its VR mode.

Gran Turismo 7 is Coming to PS VR2

Gran Turismo 7 and Beat Saber are coming to PSVR 2 by Jordan Middler for Video Games Chronicle

Announced by President and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment Jim Ryan at CES, Gran Turismo 7 will arrive as a free upgrade at the launch of the headset.

You would be forgiven for not remembering PS VR2 launches next month. Heck, I only remember because I have a placeholder in my delivery tracking app. Sony’s launch of this platform is odd.

Why wasn’t this announced two months ago when the launch date and price were revealed? Another strange announcement for PS VR2. Were they holding off until both CES and the teaser for the movie was ready?

With both GT7 and Resident Evil Village as launch games, I am more and more jazzed to get my hands on the device. We should get more hands-ons impressions from CES this week, I’d imagine.

Resident Evil Village VR launches February 22 for free – PlayStation.Blog

Resident Evil Village VR Mode launches February 22 for PS VR2 as free DLC by Kanda Tsuyoshi for the PlayStation Blog

Today, I’m happy to reveal that this additional mode will release on February 22, 2023 as a free DLC for Resident Evil Village. You can download and play it immediately when you get your PlayStation VR2.

Always suspected this was going to launch with PS VR2 and be free, considering Resident Evil 7‘s launch on PS4 and PS VR, but nice to see it in writing. I will say this, it sure doesn’t feel like PS VR2 launches in just 69 days.

PlayStation VR2 launches in February at $549.99  – PlayStation.Blog

PlayStation VR2 launches in February at $549.99  by Isabelle Tomatis, Vice President of Brand, Hardware and Peripherals, SIE for the PlayStation Blog

PS VR2 launches February 22, 2023 at $549.99.

Woof.

Costing more than the PS5 hurts. I thought it would be $500 at the max. I understand the pricing. The tech in the headset and controllers is top notch; market-leading in some areas. Combined with the PS5 is still cheaper than a Valve Index and supped up PC or the new Quest Pro.

But, man, it is a tough pill to swallow when just looking at the sticker price. I bet Sony felt good when Meta raised the cost of the Quest 2 by one hundred bucks earlier this year. The top end Quest 2 now costs just $50 less than PS VR2. If you have a PS5, I think spending the extra $50 is a no brainer. If you don’t already own a PS5, then the conversation there changes tune.

Sony also announced a wave of games heading to PS VR2. Notable titles are The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR from Supermassive Games, Crossfire: Sierra BrigadeCosmonious High by Owlchemy Labs (of Job Simulator fame), and Tentacular. None of those are “wow, gotta buy PS VR2 day one” games to me though. Horizon VR: Call of the Mountain is doing almost all of Sony’s lifting here.

I’m surprised there is no mention of Astro Bot yet. I would have bet that Asobi was going to have a game ready for launch. I’m amped for Resident Evil Village. Hopefully, that is also a launch day title and I can have some impressions for Chapter Select Season 5. And, of course, the dream that Half-Life: Alyx could come to PS VR2 is still strong. That would be the game to snag. I hope that is something Sony and Valve could make work.

I am excited to get my hands on PS VR2. Hopefully, that’ll be at launch. But I know I am in the enthusiast group of consumers. I think this is going to be a tough, tough sell to the average PS5 owner.

And perhaps that’s the point. With Big Tech pushing for headsets and immersion, Sony is in a prime spot with their tech. It’d be even better if PS VR2 is PC-compatible. One would hope it would be, considering all that connects it to the PS5 is a USB-C cable. We’ll see how it shakes out in February and for the rest of the PS5’s life-cycle. The tech is exciting. I hope the games will be too.

Thoughts on the PS VR2 Announcement

Sony’s next generation VR headset was officially announced/acknowledged at the end of February 2021. I’ve been meaning to write about the announcement since then, especially since it was a 2020 prediction of mine. Procrastination paid off in March when Sony revealed the new controller design for what most are just calling PS VR2. If I wait any longer, the whole thing will be revealed and I don’t want to necessarily wait that long.

The initial announcement did more than confirm the new hardware was coming out some time after 2021: It actually gave insight to where the hardware is headed, especially for such an early tease.

…enhances everything from resolution and field of view to tracking and input. It will connect to PS5 with a single cord to simplify setup and improve ease-of-use, while enabling a high-fidelity visual experience.

The original PS VR had all right specs back in 2016, with some that are still leaders in the VR space. The headset supports a 90Hz-120Hz refresh rate, which matches the Valve Index and out-specs Oculus Rift S and Quest 2. PS VR1 has a 100° field-of-view with a 1080p OLED display, while the Index has 130° field-of-view with 1440 x 1600 LCD screens.

The single cord reminds of the Rift S when I tried it at PAX East 2019. This tells me that the PS5 is going to be handling all of the processing, unlike the first iteration of PS VR where an additional processor box was required for powering the TV output and audio processing, something the PS5 should have no issue handling at all. I know plenty of people who were wishing for a wireless headset, but if Sony did go wireless, I doubt they could use the PS5’s power to its max potential. It would limit the new headset’s capabilities right out of the gate.

…which will incorporate some of the key features found in the DualSense wireless controller, along with a focus on great ergonomics. That’s just one of the examples of future-proof technology we’re developing to match our vision for a whole new generation of VR games and experiences.

Back in February, this was easy to imagine after using the DualSense with my own PS5. The technology inside that controller is just begging for VR implementations. Thankfully, it didn’t take long at all to see how Sony was going to morph the DualSense tech into a VR controller—a real, designed-for from the ground up VR controller.

Gone are glowing golf balls, replaced with a tracking ring monitored by the headset itself. This implies there will be no need for the official PS5 camera accessory to use PS VR2. The marvelous haptics and the adaptive triggers are in place along with finger touch detection. This doesn’t sound quite like finger-tracking. The touch detection will be in place where your thumb, index, and middle fingers rest. Maybe finger-tracking can be added via a patch, if the headset does have outward tracking cameras. When you combine these elements with the PS5’s Tempest audio engine, PS VR2 has incredible potential to really put users in a place. Hopefully the headset keeps a high refresh-rate OLED panel to further immerse users in color and reduce sickness. The real test will actually be to use the controllers and the headset, but I can’t see that happening until Fall 2022 at the earliest, especially with the controllers only going out to developers in the near future.

I have been a day-one adopter of PS VR and a firm believer in VR as a whole since I demoed an HTC Vive one day at UCF on a whim. VR truly offers new ways to engage with games, media, and each other. PS VR has reminded me a lot of Oculus’ cheaper initiatives with the goal of getting quality VR in the hands of everyday consumers.

There are plenty of ways Sony balanced cost with quality for the PS VR. The two key points would be the use of the PS4 itself as the power behind the headset and the use of the PS3 Move Controllers from 2010. PS VR itself launched in 2016. Repurposing older technology allowed them to not bet the proverbial farm on VR though. By using a console that was in tens of millions of homes (now over 125 million) with older accessories, Sony offered customers a competent, fully featured VR headset that helped prove VR was and is more than a fade. Combined with exclusive games deals and continuous development for new games, both internally and externally, Sony was able to offer enticing titles for the platform despite its limited specs. Some games even pushed the medium forward like Tetris Effect and Astro Bot Rescue Mission.

Now, with PS VR2, they seem to be going all in on the right types of technology to create a powerful, comparable, and competitive headset. Combined with the relationships curated with developers and rock solid exclusives, PS VR2 can push forward in the space well. It will (most likely) be cheaper than top-of-the-line PC headsets and likely have more power than mobile headsets like the Oculus Quest 2. It could find that sweet spot once again between cost and quality.

Also, Half-Life Alyx on PS VR2 please?