While the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have been on the market for a while now, the relatively recent launch of the Playstation VR has shaken the pot a little. The PSVR might not have quite as impressive tech specs as the competition, but it comes pretty close, is considerably more affordable, and utilizes a commonly owned game console instead of a high-end gaming PC. Sony also has much better connections with the big gaming studios and quite a few of its own franchises that it could potentially bring over to its new VR headset.
So what can we expect from the Sony Playstation VR, what are the requirements, and is it worth picking one up? Let’s jump in and take a closer look.
What are the requirements to use it?
Most high-end VR headsets utilize an equally high-end PC in order to render VR, with the only other option being headsets that tether to a mobile phone, providing a much less impressive VR experience. The Sony Playstation VR takes a different approach from either of these methods, utilizing a Playstation 4 or the recently released Playstation 4 Pro as the brains. In addition to the PS4, you’ll also need the Playstation VR headset, a PS4 controller, and the Playstation Camera. Several games also utilize the Playstation Move controllers for a more immersive experience.
Considering more than 36 million PS4 units have been sold around the world, the Playstation VR is an accessory with a large and very immediate user base, making it an instantly more accessible VR choice than either the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift.
What are its standout features?
- 5.7-inch OLED
- 100° field of view
- 3D audio
- 1080p RGB graphics
- 90-120Hz refresh rate
- 6DOF head-tracking
Much like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the Playstation VR uses a variety of sensors to tell which way your head is pointing in order to ensure that your physical position is mapped correctly in the virtual world. The PSVR is much more ergonomic than its VR rivals and seems that it was made with the entire family in mind, rather than hardcore gamers with its simple headband and rubber eyepieces that can fit over existing glasses. It has comfortable padding and can be secured and tightened using a dial on the back of the band.
In addition to great specs, the Playstation VR also has the ability to render two different images simultaneously for cooperative gameplay. This allows for one display to be shown on the headset and for a completely different image to be shown on the television. The aim of this, according to Sony, is to prevent virtual reality from being a solitary experience and is their way of trying to introduce a social aspect.
Only a select few titles support this feature at the moment, including the free Sony-made Playroom VR.
What are the most anticipated games?
Some of the games that are launched with the Playstation VR are:
- RIGS Mechanized Combat League
- VR Worlds
- Tumble VR
- EVE: Valkyrie
- Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
- Robinson: The Journey
- Wayward Sky
In addition to the launch titles, a few new games have released over the last month or so, including the highly anticipated Eagle Flight.
See also – Best Playstation VR games
What can I do beyond gaming?
Admittedly the Sony Playstation VR is much more limited when it comes to its non-gaming functionality, after all — this is an accessory for a game console. That said, there is still support for 360-degree video from a number of sources. You can also expect social networking experiences and much more. As for VR porn? As long as it can be ran through Sony’s browser, it’s certainly still possible, if that’s your thing.
What are the controllers like?
The Playstation VR fully supports the Playstation 4 controller and is a requirement to play most games. In addition, the Playstation Move wands can be used in conjunction with the PSVR, as the camera is capable of tracking the blue light emitted from the headset and the wands through the Playstation Camera. The wands can act as virtual hands in-game, giving you the ability to pick up and drop objects as well as fire virtual guns and manipulate various tools around the virtual world.
There’s also some pretty cool accessories, like the gun control seen above.
How much is it and can I buy it now?
Sony confirmed the price of the Playstation VR on March 15, 2016, of $399 in the US, €399 in Europe, £349 in the UK, and 44,980 yen in Japan. This is a lot cheaper than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but it’s worth highlighting that PS4 requirement and the controllers, camera, and wands that are needed for the full experience with the Playstation VR making the price creep back up towards a price tag of $500. Of course you’ll also need a Playstation 4, which brings the total investment price closer to $850 – $950. Still, that’s a lot cheaper than its PC-powered competitors.
Right now you can pretty easily get a Playstation VR core package, but the $499 bundle, which includes the required camera as well as extras like the Move controller, is currently not available for immediate purchases due to higher demand.