Sony may have opted to have a rather low-key presence in this year’s CES — the company did not announce any new TVs as it always did, for instance — but gamers got a few interesting news related to what may already be the most exciting PlayStation product for 2023: the PlayStation VR2 virtual reality headset. After announcing its technical specifications and, more recently, its price and launch date, Sony will now have to focus on the software side of things and that is exactly what it did in CES: it not only confirmed that Gran Turismo 7 will be finding its way to PSVR2 (as it has been heavily rumored during the last few months), but that it will actually be a launch title for the headset come February 22nd.
Sony’s famous racing game will be appearing in virtual reality form via a free software upgrade offered to all GT7 owners at some point before PSVR2’s launch day. This is not the first time a Gran Turismo game is presented in VR, of course: GT Sport also featured such an option on the PS4 working with the original PS VR but it was, for lack of a better term, more of a tech demo than anything else. The teaser video shown off during Sony’s CES conference gives off the impression of a much more fleshed-out option, as the player/driver is participating in a 12-car race at Road Atlanta and everything seems to be fairly close to what GT7 looks like on a PS5. There’s obviously more information coming from Sony about this free upgrade during the next few weeks, so we’ll be reporting on this again pretty soon.
The presence of Gran Turismo 7 in the launch line-up of the PlayStation VR2 in and of itself, though, may prove to be rather important for Sony’s virtual reality peripheral. Several “games for gamers” present in the following initial list of games for it — such as Sony’s own Horizon: Call of the Mountain or Capcom’s Resident Evil Village — are more than welcome, but Gran Turismo’s cultural value may very well lend the PSVR2 some of the broader appeal it needs to attract mainstream consumer interest too. How and what Polyphony Digital decided to implement in VR form is still of obvious importance, yes, but by just “being there” on launch day, GT7 can only help PSVR2’s cause. So the list of confirmed games for it currently looks like this (Ryan mentioned “more than 30 titles” so a few are still missing):
2MD: VR Football Unleashed All-Star
After the Fall
Cities VR: Enhanced Edition
Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate
Gran Turismo 7
Hello Neighbor: Search and Rescue
Horizon: Call of the Mountain
Kizuna AI: Touch the Beat
Moss: Book II
No Man’s Sky
Resident Evil Village
Song in the Smoke: Rekindled
Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge Enhanced Edition
The Dark Pictures: Switchback VR
The Light Brigade
The Tale of Onogoro
In the same presentation Jim Ryan, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO, also confirmed that another virtual reality darling, Beat Saber, will be making its way to PlayStationVR 2. This is a hugely popular game with hardcore and mainstream gamers alike, so it could also help PS VR2’s fortunes. Beat Saber’s development company, Beat Games, belongs to Oculus/Meta now, but one can’t imagine them risking the brand power of such a hit with a sloppy port to PS VR2, so we’re eagerly awaiting news about a release window.
In the same CES presentation Sony also unveiled “Project Leonardo”, a new controller kit for the PS5 designed to help people with disabilities enjoy modern games in the most accessible way possible. This kit is highly customizable, capable of adapting to a player’s special needs in order to grant full control in all popular types of games with or without the assist of a DualSense controller. When taking into account Sony’s related efforts on the software side of things — God of War Ragnarok, The Last of Us Part I and even the PS5’s user interface all feature extensive accessibility options — it’s clear that the Japanese manufacturer means to invest more in gamer inclusivity. Always a good thing in our book, that.