After a long teaser campaign, F1 23 is fast approaching. This year’s F1 game sees the long-awaited return of the popular Braking Point story mode, with Aiden Jackson and Devon Butler racing together as teammates for the fictional Konnersport Racing team.
Red flags are also back for the first time since F1 2014 and the handling is getting a long overdue overhaul. Combined with a new F1 World mode replacing the divisive F1 Life hub and the new Las Vegas circuit, F1 23 is set to get the series back on track after last year’s disappointing entry.
These are all welcome additions. But there’s one feature F1 23 is sorely lacking on PS5: PSVR2 support. With no new PSVR2 racing games on the horizon, this is a massive missed opportunity.
No plans for F1 23 PSVR2 support
F1 22 was Codemasters’ first F1 game to support VR on PC for headsets such as the Meta Quest 2 and HTC Vive. If your hardware is powerful enough to run it optimally, F1 22 delivers one of the best VR racing experiences on PC.
Most of us will never drive an F1 car in real life, but the immersion of VR gives you an idea of what it feels like. Environments have a greater sense of scale and you can also judge distances and braking points more naturally in VR. It's an exhilarating experience.
While F1 22 launched with PC VR support, PSVR owners were left out. This wasn’t surprising. The original PSVR was six-years-old when F1 22 arrived. Compromises to get F1 22 running on PSVR would have severely hampered the experience.
This won't be an issue on PSVR2. Thanks to the PS5's extra horsepower, Sony's new VR headset is a significant step up, with an OLED screen displaying 2,000 by 2,040 pixels per eye, a wider field of view and haptic feedback.
In theory, it should run F1 23 with a few visual cutbacks – especially as this year’s game still uses the old Codemasters EGO engine.
We were hoping Codemasters would utilise its experience developing F1 22 in VR for PC to bring F1 23 to PSVR2. Sadly, this isn’t going to happen.
Since F1 23 was announced, EA has confirmed to UploadVR that F1 23 will only be playable in VR on PC, with no plans for PSVR2 support.
Although F1 22 is playable in VR on PC, optimising F1 23 for PSVR2 is a different proposition.
Unlike PCs, PS5 hardware is universal. Every player will have the same experience, so optimising the game to run smoothly for everyone is pivotal. PSVR2 also uses unique eye-tracking technology for its foveated rendering, which would require additional optimisation work.
There’s clearly a lot of demand to play F1 23 on PSVR2. We often get asked about PSVR2 support in YouTube comments for our F1 23-related videos. But the headset's low install base makes it difficult for EA to justify porting F1 23 to PSVR2.
A slow start
It’s fair to say the PSVR2 has had a slow start. There was considerable hype among enthusiasts in the run-up to launch, yet Sony’s new VR headset is no longer a talking point.
Launch sales were reportedly lower than expected. According to a recent Bloomberg report, Sony sold between 270k and 300k PSVR2 headsets in its first month, though these numbers aren't verified.
These sales numbers aren't as bleak as they seem, however, when you consider it took five months for the first PSVR unit to sell 915,000 units. Even so, it’s still a fraction of the PS5’s gigantic player base, with 32 million units sold to date despite widespread stock shortages.
With a retail price of £529.99, the PSVR2 isn't cheap - costing more than a PS5 console. Coupled with the fact you can only buy it on Sony’s PlayStation Direct website, the PSVR2 isn’t enticing the mass market. This may change soon, however.
Sony recently announced that other retailers will start stocking PSVR2 soon, allowing you to order it from retailers like Amazon and GAME. After a soft launch, Sony is also ramping up its marketing campaign.
Just this week, Sony released a new advert starring Bella Ramsey from The Last of Us playing Gran Turismo 7 on PSVR. This will hopefully give Sony's VR headset a much-needed sales boost.
Gran Turismo 7 has raised the bar for VR console racing. The car interiors are incredibly detailed, and the racing is on another level. After experiencing GT7 in VR, going back to a flat screen is genuinely difficult.
Unlike F1 23, GT7 was designed with VR in mind from the outset. Sony sees GT7 as a showpiece for the PSVR2 and likely funded its development. Without additional funding from Sony, investing resources into PSVR2 development doesn’t make business sense for EA when the install base is so low.
Where are the PSVR2 racing games?
F1 23 launching without VR support sets a worrying precedent for the future of third-party PSVR2 racing games. At the time of writing, there are no new PSVR2 racers announced for this year. GT7 looks stunning and plays incredibly well in VR, but the wow factor is starting to fade.
F1 23 will be playable in VR on PC, but PS5 players will be relegated to flat screens. It’s a huge shame because F1 23 could be a PSVR2 system seller for F1 game veterans. Likewise, it could also attract VR players who have never played an F1 game before.
Sadly, we may have to wait until F1 24 to experience F1 on PSVR2. But that may depend on if sales pick up for the PSVR2. Time will tell, but the next year is crucial for Sony’s fledging VR headset.
At this rate, GT7 will be the only option for PSVR2 racing fans for the foreseeable future.
For more articles like this, take a look at our F1 page.