Celebrating five years of PlayStation VR

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Celebrating five years of PlayStation VR

A look back at the most played PS VR titles, plus insights from key creators.

Today marks the fifth anniversary of the day PlayStation VR was introduced to the world, and we want to take this moment to thank all of our fans and our talented development community for embracing this platform and supporting PS VR through the years. It’s amazing to see how virtual reality has really established itself in these past five years as a platform for gaming, and we’re pleased to have PS VR play a big role in VR’s growth.

And to celebrate this PS VR milestone, we wanted to give a special thank you to PlayStation fans: Starting in November, PlayStation Plus* members will get three PS VR bonus games for no extra charge. Stay tuned for more details in the PlayStation Plus update in the next few weeks.

Since the PS VR launch, we have seen a diverse range of unique experiences that showcase a sense of presence we set out to achieve with this platform, including critically acclaimed games such as the thrilling sights and sounds action shooter Rez Infinite, the epic rescue mission platformer Astro Bot Rescue Mission, and the stealth action of Hitman 3.

With more than 500 games and experiences available on PS VR, let’s take a look back at the top five most played** games on PS VR worldwide since launching five years ago.

 Most-Played PlayStation VR Games Globally

  • Rec Room
  • Beat Saber
  • PlayStation VR Worlds
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR
  • Resident Evil 7 biohazard

Most-Played PlayStation VR Games, By Region

  • Europe: Rec Room, PlayStation VR Worlds, Beat Saber, The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim VR, Resident Evil 7 biohazard
  • North America: Rec Room, Beat Saber, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, Job Simulator, Firewall: Zero Hour
  • Japan: Resident Evil 7 biohazard, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR, PlayStation VR Worlds, Beat Saber, Gran Turismo Sport

There’s plenty more PS VR games to look forward to, with games in development  such as Moss: Book II, Wanderer, After the Fall, Humanity, Puzzling Places, Zenith: The Last City and more. The games created for PS VR come from some of our industry’s most talented developers who consistently challenge themselves to bring amazing experiences to the platform.

To mark this occasion, we decided to take a trip down memory lane with developers who share with us what their experience was like when they first got their hands on PlayStation VR.

Celebrating five years of PlayStation VR

Can you tell us about your first experience with PS VR?

We were working on a VR prototype in 2015 and had been talking to the PS VR team. I wasn’t still sure about what PS VR could do at that time and they encouraged me to check out the demos at that year’s GDC in March 2015. The London Heist demo completely sold me on the hardware and its potential. The first scene had you being interrogated by a brutish looking fellow and he would respond to your head movements and where you were looking. The second scene you were rifling through a desk looking for items with full hand interaction using Move Controllers and then getting into a fire fight while taking cover behind the desk.  It was the most high quality content I had experienced in VR at the time and I found myself getting on the floor of the demo area at GDC. Exhilarating!

– Chandana Ekanayake, Outerloop Games

VR was technology  I was always interested in, so I was very excited hearing that PlayStation was creating a VR headset for a household setting. The first time I got to really experience PS VR was working on the prototype for KITCHEN, which was arguably the prologue setting things up for what later would become Resident Evil 7 biohazard. Initially, I had only seen the prototype through a regular monitor and could only imagine how things would be in a VR environment, but I was not anticipating just how much the scare factor ramped up seeing things from within the headset. It really was astounding to see how much more immersive of an experience VR could truly be.

– Masachika Kawata, Capcom

As far as I can recall, my first experience of PS VR was actually with a prototype of Project Morpheus (the codename of PS VR in its early phase) where I found myself at the top of a very high diving board with an Olympic pool right below me. This demo was meant to show how we can get a sense of vertigo in VR. And it worked remarkably well.

– Nicolas Doucet, Team Asobi

As a gamer, I have great memories of playing Thumper on PS VR around the launch in 2016.  The heady mix of insanely high speeds, beautiful worlds and rhythm based play come together to create a game which is incredibly tight and compelling.  I was also blown away by getting to be the Dark Knight in Batman: Arkham VR, it helped me realise the immersive power of being a character in PS VR could be a game changer for how we could make games in the future.

– Stu Tilley, Firesprite

 I remember way back in 2016 getting a sneak preview of London Heist at Carnegie Mellon University from an alum who showed early demos at the Entertainment Technology Center. It was so exciting to see that Sony was fully embracing VR in a way that wasn’t happening on any other console. 

– Jesse Schell, Schell Games

I think our first PS VR experience was with Rush of Blood and RIGS: Mechanized Combat League. Rush of Blood was and is one of the best horror experiences in VR to date, that game is awesome. I want more! RIGS: MCL was a ton of fun, it showed us the potential of true multiplayer in VR and inspired us in many ways. It was truly before its time and was one of the better MP VR shooters out there.

Hess Barber, First Contact Entertainment 

I remember playing Thumper at a friend’s place who showed me PS VR for the first time. I was impressed how such a simple switch to its VR mode completely changed the game experience for me. It was still the same game but somehow it felt like a totally different world which was more epic than its 2D counterpart.

Vladimír Hrinčár, Beat Games

How has PS VR changed what you thought was possible for console gaming?

 I think the biggest shift was realizing that players were no longer watching things on a screen, but that they could enter the virtual environment and truly be within the game world. Even if you’re offering the player the same base gameplay experience, it was fascinating to see just how different that same gameplay experience could be from a regular TV environment to a VR environment.

Masachika Kawata, Capcom

PSVR has given a whole new way of playing that wasn’t quite the same beforehand.  Being able to move your hands around to aim a weapon, lift a hatch, drag yourself up a mountain, or throw a donut into a neighboring cubicle felt totally unique compared to regular gameplay.  The immersion PS VR offers through the quality of the displays is the ultimate way to experience a game world – sitting at the dinner table of the main house in Resident Evil 7 on PS VR is truly unforgettable!

– Stu Tilley, Firesprite

PS VR really brought us an opportunity to simplify the experience to a very instinctive level. The best example I can think of is the entire removal of camera control. By becoming the camera, you no longer have to learn camera manipulation and can focus on the action. A simple glance left and right, leaning to see behind a wall, all these are every-action we do without thinking but are actually quite hard to incorporate in traditional games. With PS VR, we got all of these virtually for free (pun intended) and that helped us make a more accessible game!

– Nicolas Doucet, Team Asobi

PS VR is very comfortable to use for extended periods of time which opens up all sorts of design possibilities for different types of games. It led us to make three different distinct experiences for the platform: Wayward Sky – a third person diorama action adventure, Dino Frontier – a western town simulation game with dinosaurs, and Falcon Age – a first person action game with a pet falcon. All three of these took advantage of the PS VR hardware and we had to rethink each genre approach during development to fully embrace what was possible with the hardware.

– Chandana Ekanayake, Outerloop Games

 I think PS VR is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to where VR will go. I truly believe that one day, VR will be the preferred way to play all games. PS VR is the only real dedicated gaming VR platform. It still has more quality games than any other VR platform around today. With so many high quality titles it really is the gateway to AAA VR Gaming. It showed us just how effective VR can be and the potential direction of VR gaming in the future

– Hess Barber, First Contact Entertainment

It is like a night and day difference – PS VR with Move controllers unlocks so many options which were not possible to experience on a 2D screen with just a normal controller.

Vladimír Hrinčár, Beat Games

What should people know about when developing games for PS VR? Any key learnings?

 We learned early to try things out on the hardware as soon as possible even if it’s the silliest idea. What you think will happen vs what actually happens when you tried it out on PS VR differed greatly.  While making Falcon Age, we worked with a real-life falconer in Washington to make sure we were accurate in how we treated falconry in the game. She gave us some pointers on how the falcon should behave after a hunt, how it spreads its wings and protects a kill, and how falcons react to water.  There was a scary part during our time with the falconer. She warned us to not look directly at the falcon’s eyes as it would see us as a threat! It’s hard not to stare at a beautiful bird like that but we managed to do it and no developers were hurt during production.

– Chandana Ekanayake, Outerloop Games

[W]e worked hard on Kitchen,  which was a PS VR prototype that would be a stepping stone for eventually incorporating VR into Resident Evil 7 biohazard. It was our first time venturing into that kind of game scape, so we did a lot of internal testing. I still remember coworkers participating in the play tests would jump out of their seats or slip out of their chairs from fright and would laughingly and angrily remark that the experience was “too scary.” We released a snippet of that footage back in the day, so I’m sure it’d be a good chuckle for anyone who is interested in checking it out.

– Masachika Kawata, Capcom

When developing our horror game, The Persistence for PS VR, we would often have the headset on whilst developing features, being totally lost in the nitty-gritty of the work.  But the game also supports a companion app where you change things in the world.  One member of the team (who shall remain nameless!) used to love dropping enemies in behind people who were working away on their features.  Suddenly they would get attacked from nowhere by a raging mutant and you’d hear them screaming across the studio!

– Stu Tilley, Firesprite

 Halfway through the development of Firewall, we realised all our playtests were so much fun because we (the team) all knew each other and everyone naturally communicated. We realized if people were playing [with] strangers and were shy, it could really limit the experience and we were worried. But the funny thing about PS VR is that it is so immersive and the mic is already a part of it, (most) people just naturally become social. Not only did the game thrive with the communication but it also formed so many relationships, people from all over the world have come together, some have been married, some even had children together.  The thing we were worried about actually is one of the best features about the game, it’s incredibly social and friendly.

Hess Barber, First Contact Entertainment

*PS Plus is subject to a recurring subscription fee taken automatically until cancellation. Full terms: play.st/PSPlusTerms.

**Data from October 13, 2016 – August 31, 2021, excludes The Playroom VR

PlayStation®VR is not for use by children under the age of 12. A PlayStation®4 or PlayStation(R)5 system (sold separately) is required to use PlayStation®VR.

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  • Happy Birthday PSVR!!

    I was hyped since the first Morpheus rumors surfaced and was there day 1 when it finally launched. PSVR is the best thing that happened to console gaming in a very long time and I can’t wait to see what PSVR2 will look like and what the final specs will be.

    I hope PSVR2 will be backwards compatible, but more than anything else I hope Sony will finally bring back the COLONY WARS franchise.

    • Same here! I pretty much read everything surrounding Morpheus.

      Still remember when I drove to the Best Buy on the other side of town (45 minutes one way) to try it out. I was hooked right then and there!

      Thankfully, we weren’t in the times we are right now and I was able to get one without having to fight off scummy scalpers.

    • Same here. From the Project Morpheus rumours onwards I followed the news until it released which I bought at launch. It really can take you to another place and sometimes that can fun or exciting and sometimes that can be terrifying! I loved my first flight in my spaceship in No Man’s Sky. I didn’t love the giant bugs climbing up me and eating me to death in Golem.

      I’m excited for the next chapter with NGVR. I would like to see full games use it so that every game first person game can be played in VR. I would love Sony to bring a new fantasy RPG that’s playable in VR and 2D. And the best VR apps too like Google Earth. Also, a great chat app or realm, maybe PlayStation Home 2.0! Whatever’s coming, I’m looking forward to the reveal!

    • Hey Sony.

      A lot of people including myself seems to be experiencing issues downloading games from the PS3 store.

      Can you help us fix and resolve this issue?

    • Same here

  • 5 years of amazing game experiences. I’ll be among the first in line for NGVR from PlayStation.

  • PlayStation VR is awesome!

  • This is awesome! (Especially the part about the free vr games) but when do you think we’ll get an update on psvr2? I can’t wait and honestly original psvr on ps5 just isn’t the same as on ps4.

  • Bring on these upcoming games and PSVR 2! Happy 5th Year Anniversary!

  • Loved PSVR I have to admit I have moved onto Quest 2 now. However I am eager for psvr 2 so some updates about that would be much appreciated 😉.

  • So will that be 3 vr games monthly or just a one time thing (or these 3 free for any ps plus user indefinitely similar to the ps plus collection)?

  • Wouldn’t this be the the perfect time to announce the new PSVR? Heheh

  • Great, now those of us who don’t have a kiddy VR (compared to PC), will get even less quality PS4 & 5 games. PSVR is weak. But, since a lot of people buy weakness, here’s some free games that everyone owns already.

    Another waste of money, courtesy of jim.

    • Cop yourself on. You’re comparing a half decade old VR headset to MANY revisions of other PC VR headsets……. that were all 500 to 900 quid in 2016.

      And yet PSVR’s screen and refresh rate alone kicked all their butt’s, the same way the PS Vita’s screen was OLED a decade before Switch got that basic tech.

      If you don’t want PSVR, then you want VR to die, period. PSVR makes up over 60% of all VR headset sales to date lol.

    • Proof on your made-up number of 60%?

    • Also, no.. it kicked no one’s butt. It’s powered by the PS4.

    • Wonder if you understand how sad you make yourself sound, wow, thats hilarious

    • Ma – How so? I’m not the one making up numbers.

    • You post on here a lot, Andy. Why would you risk credibility by making up a false claim? If you can’t think of a good enough argument before hitting “Add a comment”, just don’t do it, man.
      Aren’t you embarrassed or ashamed; feel like you let yourself down?
      (Sigh), I feel it for you.

    • wow, i would never hang with you if given the chance. you sound miserable and unkind.

  • Love PSVR and can’t wait to see the next version. Its really strange and amazing how playing games if VR gives me memories of actually being in a different location rather than just memories of playing a game.

  • I have been a gamer since the late 80s and I have never been so excited about getting my PSVR – can’t believe its 5 years ago!! It was even better than I expected and loved every second of playing it, especially games like GT Sport, Resident Evil 7, Astrobot and Skyrim. I can’t wait for the next PSVR and hope i can pre order one as soon as it is announced!

  • While it’s been a great 5 years, I’m even more excited to see the future of VR with PS5.

  • Congratulations. Any chance we could get the VR supported YouTube app on PS5? Even if its simply the PS4 version of the app?

  • I still remember the first time trying out my PSVR on day 1 – kneeling down on the floor to look through the bottom of the shark cage in Ocean Descent to see how deep it actually looked. The immersion was and still is incredible. Super excited for the next generation of VR when it comes to PS5!

  • Still praying for a PSVR version of Alien Isolation please!

  • Congrats on 5 years! Have had some amazing fun on PSVR and can’t wait for PSVR 2!

    My personal list of favorite top 5 from the last 5 years (in no order):
    1. Resident Evil 7 – OK I’ll admit I had to quit at a certain point because it scared the **** out of me, but I’ll be back!
    2. Skyrim VR – Absolutely great. There’s nothing like playing as a stealthy archer in that game.
    3. Beat Saber – nothing really needs to be said about this one. Best party game ever.
    4. Moss – Just an utter delight to play. Absolutely thrilled there’s a second one coming.
    5. Wipeout Omega Collection – just insane.

    Honorable mentions to Super Hyper Cube, Eagle Flight, Dreams, Farpoint, Star Wars Squadrons, and Astro Bot Rescue Mission!

  • Happy Birthday PSVR, so many awesome memories. Racing till my eyes teared up from going so fast in Wipeout, to making it to the volcano boss in Battlezone, slicing up walkers in Saints and Sinners amd shooting polygon folks to some tunes in Pistol Whip.

    PsVR is a must have for anyone who enjoys just the raw fun of gaming.

    Cheers! And heres to PSVR2👍

  • Excited for PSVR2. PSVR wasnt quite where I needed it to be, mostly due to controllers and overall tracking, but also due to lack of larger games. Sony did great to invest in games like RE7, Skyrim and Borderlands 2, but I was glad to hear PSVR2 will be putting an even greater focus on similar length games. In fairness, there were some great shorter games too, Rush of Blood being an early great.

    It was awesome seeing games evolve over the years. I think the affordability of 1st gen was important to attract customers (and then devs), illustrated by PSVR dominating the market, all the way through 2019, possibly even 2020 but I stopped watching. By now I imagine PSVR is not leading sales, and while it was impressive that (at least per reviewers) it held up very well visually against the higher spec Rift and Vive at launch, Im sure PC VR has far surpassed PSVR visually by now lol, and nevermind tracking/controls.

    Just like I felt for PS5, I wouldnt mind if PSVR2 ended up being $400 to attract more customers, but Id personally like a better HMD for $500. As much as PSVR was able to do with a PS4 using PS3 controllers, Im excited to see what PSVR2 can do with all PS5 tech. My understanding is that PS4 was pretty weak compared to PC when PS4 launched. With PS5 standing up better to top of the line PC, and devs focussing purely on SSD (while PC is still having to consider HDD) PSVR2 could stand up to even the next iteration of PC HMD’s that come out after PSVR2 launches.

    • I was really excited for PSVR, but when they revealed that it would use move controllers, that tipped the balance. I’m looking forward to PSVR 2 and I’m very likely to buy it. There are so many great games on PSVR, so I hope I can catch up on them on PSVR 2.

  • Kind of surprised that No Man’s Sky wasn’t in those top 5, that game it a blast in VR!

  • Nice.

    John Earwig

  • CONGRATULATIONS!!!! great memories, MOSS, resident evil, astro bot, theseus, batman, and many more, thank you for immersing us in fascinating stories and impressive worlds, long live video games 👏👏👏🤘🤘🤘🎮🍺😁

  • VR is cool, and I am glad to have PSVR, but I rarely use it because of the motion sickness. I would like for VR Headset makers to include an app or game with their devices that slowly helps the user build VR tolerance

    • Exactly what It happens to me: I love VR games, but I get motion sickness, so I can’t play that much. In fact haven’t played it for long time.
      You have had a fantastic idea! I hope something can be done about it. I know the movement can be adjusted in the game, but I still get sick after some time playing.

  • Wow dude that’s a fantastic idea!

    One thing I did was start Skyrim with max FOV filter, and had it filter further when sprinting. Helped to limit side views zooming passed you. I also used snap turning cuz smooth turning really messed me up. I slowly took off FOV stuff as I got used to it and had none on about 4 to 7 days in.

    Never got around to smooth turning though haha.

  • My prayers have been listened. Thank you and happy birthday PSVR! Now, time to bring back my precious PSVR from the shelf.

  • PlayStation VR for vita! (Latin word for life.)

  • Stop these game companies from leading people into condemnation, by using GODS name in vain. And promoting filthy language and gestures in games. Going onto the PlayStation Network is as bad as going into a dive bar with a bunch of drunken service members.

    • Yeah ban all those Christian games of late that look like they was made on a calculator and are only bought because they give platinums

    • See yasink, being under the power of satan, he not only robbed you of your intelligence. Also your grammar. He is a thief!

  • 5 years of a blurry almost unusable product with low resolution, bad peripheral vision support, and no proper pupilary distance setting like other VR headsets for people with wider set eyes. I got my PS VR day one and doubt I have used it more than 5 hours total. WHERE IS PSVR 2??? This product should have been upgraded YEARS ago!

  • I never recieved my vr converter! Disappointed in you, Sony.

    • Did you apply for it on their website?

    • Yeah those things are a nightmare

      It’s absurd that you can’t just go buy them for $10 or so at this point. It’s risky buying a used PSVR since they can only be claimed once and especially since it’s relatively well-known that the cables are free and worth a good 30 bucks on eBay. I know what I’d do if I was selling a PSVR

  • When I first tried the PSVR. I was like this is awsome. I knew this a long time ago In the late 90’s when I was at Circuit City checking out the VR headset. There was a movie called Lawn mower man. It’s by Stephen King. In the movie there was character was wearing a VR headset. We can thank comic books and Hollywood, certain cartoon’s for the technology we have today.

  • PSVR started March 2020 for me with a secondhand headset I bought from a friend and a dozen VR games. First VR experience was the shark in VR Worlds, then firewall zero hour with aim control. never got the hang of Skyrim, but Saints and Sinners is perfect on my PS4 Pro. Absolutely excited for the new games to hit.

    Question for communicating.

    No Man’s Sky VR running on PS4 Pro. Worth it now or wait for a PS5?

  • Happy anniversary PlayStation VR.

  • Dirt Rally best use of my vr
    So sad Dirt Rally 2 not supported on psvr

  • PSVR helped me get through a really difficulttime in my life. I would like to see gloves and body sensors added, pants, shorts, haptic feedback, goggles.

    • It is always good when a game system, game or book can get you through a difficult period of your life or season. I had a game that helped me through a long, brutal winter. Never give up. The natural end is worth it.

    • Great suggestion. Virtual reality is about sight, sound and feel.

  • i got the PSVR strictly for 2 games, Firewall Zero Hour and Beat Saber and I cant wait for PSVR 2!

  • Happy Anniversary! Keep doing great things!

  • Congratulations on the anniversary, as it has been a dream come true. Looking forward to many more years playing vr games.

  • As someone who actually liked the Virtual Boy, I was excited to see what this PSVR was. I’ve been a PlayStation gamer since 1996 (summer before 11th grade), so I trusted Sony to deliver another quality product. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford one. Unnnnnntil recently. And even for 6-7 year old tech, I’m still very impressed at what this thing delivers. And to top it off, I’m using it on a 2015 PS4 (Uncharted Bundle). I’ve already bought 50-ish games for it. And plan to buy more.
    BUT, I NEED to know…. Will PSVR games be compatible on the PSVR2? Or am I buying these for something that’ll eventually be a pain in the a** to drag out and hook the old one up to play my sweet PSVR1 games on? Glad I got the camera adapter, even though I don’t own a PS5 yet.
    P.S. ALVO is the best PSVR FPS. Firewall is ok. But ALVO. Get ALVO.

    • And yes, I know some games are blurry as all hell. But perfection takes time. PS1 games look terrible today. But we had to start somewhere. And the start looked good when we were living it!

  • I really need to know what these games are. Because, like every game I ever buy on the Store, it ends up as a PS+ giveaway the following week. And I WANT to buy Blood and Truth (currently on sale from $40 to $20 if anyone didn’t know). But if I do, it’ll be one of the giveaways. I just KNOW it! Hahahahahaha. Either way, what are theeeeeeeeeey?

  • Happy anniversary PlayStation VR, I’m a huge fan and I look forward to the next gen experience.

  • my late 2017 Skyrim bundle turned me from ignorant flatlander hater into a faithful member of the small church of VR.

    congrats but it’s time to die already and rebirth as psvr2 the almighty Savior.

  • Can not wait for Psvr2!

    On this Anniversary give us some kind of update of next gen psvr.

  • Well done SIE. PS VR has been your best innovation since the birth of PlayStation! Many thanks.

    You need to improve your marketing/communications for PS VR however – this doesn’t necessarily need to cost more.

    Crucially, if you think future VR games can be sold for £70 – you’ve lost my long-term custom for good, and perhaps many others.

    The gaming industry is experiencing record-breaking sales, profit, and expansion in user-base (sales market) – this is clear from publicly available accounts.

    Your either need to substantiate your justification(s) for the recent price hikes, or insist that developers are paid better from these earnings, as opposed to the increased disparity executives enjoy.

    Sort it out.

    – And you will retain my custom.

  • Thanks for the great memories PSVR, and happy birthday.

    You first blew my mind (and then my children’s) with the short mission in Star Wars Battlefront – just amazing for a fan of the films (and early vector arcade games :) ) since childhood.

    Since then Astrobot Resue gave me the most amazing platforming experience ever and The Inpatient made me literally scream in surprise at one point, to the hilarity of my wife & children in the next room.

    Onwards now to PSVR2, but please make sure to keep backwards compatibility so we can keep access to the back catelogue (and backlog – i still need to play Moss and so many others)

  • Plz resident evil 7 or dreams

  • Μπράβο σας που γιορτάζονται τα πέντε χρόνια 👋🎆🎇✨🎉

  • Have not tried it yet I can’t afford it 😕😪

  • Firewall.
    but playing Blood and Truth (*spoiler alert) was my Real introduction to VR.
    Turned out to be therapy.
    Within a couple of weeks of playing * I had been contacted by my estranged
    paternal family, of some 3 decades and been informed of the death of my Father.
    As this was similar to the opening story
    it actually helped with the grieving process when
    I had no support network at that time for month after. Ended up world #1 on first level for a few months too.

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