Advances in technology have allowed practical virtual reality to become a reality. There’s still a lot to accomplish before we get to the level of Star Trek’s holodeck, but today’s commercial VR systems have proven to be viable solutions in making it a believable experience. Currently, the PlayStation VR is vying for supremacy in the space, boosted by the fact that it has some triple-A developers on board that are prepared to produce some stellar content now and in the coming months.
One of the pitfalls of the PS VR, in comparison to its esteemed rivals like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, is that it employs older technology when it comes to its VR tracking. Specifically, it relies on the PlayStation Camera to track the glowing LEDs found throughout the headset, the Move controllers, and DualShock 4. Whereas the HTC Vive, for example, provides more accurate tracking from two “lighthouse” base stations that keep track of the laser position sensors found on the headset – also helped by having two base stations, as opposed to the PS VR’s single camera tracking system.
During the first few days using and getting acquainted with the PS VR, we noticed tracking issues that would produce some rather annoying results. They weren’t prevalent or constant, which is a relief because problematic tracking issues can pretty much kill a VR system. Still, whenever they did occur, it was an annoyance to say the least. For example, the VR world would “shift” despite us not moving at all and keeping still. Another tracking issue that we saw is when our disembodied hands in certain games, would just float slowly away from us.
It’s these kinds of tracking inconsistencies that forced us to give the PS VR a lower rating pertaining to its overall VR experience. While it’s far from perfect, we did manage to ameliorate the issue by doing a few things that nearly eliminated these meddling tracking issues. To be fair, though, it’s not going to go away entirely because there are still times when those LEDs on the headset are blocked from the PS Camera’s direct line of sight – such as when we have the Move controllers in front of us, blocking those LEDs.
So, if you’ve been struggling with some tracking issues, we really hope that these tips below will be beneficial in easing them; possibly mitigating them to the point of having only a few, minor occurrences.
- Turn off any light sources that are behind your play area: Looking back at our experience demoing the PlayStation VR during E3 2016 and some other events, we noticed that these demos were conducted in very dim conditions. Given how those LEDs can possibly be subdued when there’s strong ambient lighting around, the PS Camera might have a tougher time tracking them. Therefore, it’s recommended to turn off any light sources behind the play area.
- Switch the placement of the PS Camera: Who knows why, but after we moved the PS Camera from a higher vantage point above our television set, to a lower point below it, we noticed less of those problematic issues happening.
- Recalibrate the PS VR: This last tip is arguably the most important one out of the bunch, just because the process requires us to meticulously recalibrate the PS VR. Under the settings menu of the PlayStation home screen, you’ll want to navigate down to the device section and select the PS VR headset. From there, it’ll ask you to position the headset accordingly to what’s being shown on screen – so that the LEDs line up to the target areas. Once this was completed, it pretty much eliminated those drifting/shifting issues we had previously.
Any other owners run into any tracking issues, or have any further advice related to this topic? Let us know about it in the comments.