Playstation VR is now available in stores and online, but it might not be a great purchase for everyone. After spending some time with the device, hopefully I can help provide some answers to some questions that you may have or that you should have when it comes to taking the plunge into virtual reality with Playstation.
Should I Get PSVR for my Kids?
If you're planning on getting Playstation VR for the family, be aware that Sony highly recommends players being at least 12 years of age. This may be due to the size of the device, children's susceptibility to motion sickness, or the optics not setting right with developing eyes. Chances are though, Sony is playing it safe. With very little research done on the effect of Virtual Reality on developing children, it might be best to take the wait and see approach.
How Much Does it Cost?
The price alone will steer some potential customers away. At $399.99, Playstation VR is one of the more “affordable” premiere headsets. While the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are more expensive and require a high-end PC, the Playstation VR is a new accessory for the Playstation 4. So, if you already have a PS4, jumping into VR will take less of a toll on your bank account.
But wait! There’s more! Along with the Playstation VR headset and the PS4, you will also need the Playstation Camera. Which should cost you around $59.99. This is not an option, you must absolutely have the camera to track the lights on the headset for motion tracking.
Another item that is kinda optional is the Playstation Move. You may remember these controllers from 2003, when everyone was trying to capture the Nintendo Wii motion control market. The Move may not be required for most games, but if you want that full VR experience, you will want to purchase two Playstation Move controllers. Playstation is kind enough to sell two in a bundle for $99.99. Luckily for you, you should be able to find them sold used for around $25.
It is also important to note that you can’t use the micro USB cable that you use to charge your Dualshock 4 to charge your Playstation Move controllers. The Move uses a mini USB cable to charge and sync to your system.
So, if you already have your Playstation 4, no other accessories, the full Playstation VR experience will cost you a pretty $510, not including tax and games. (Playstation VR will come with a demo disc that includes demos for 9 different VR games/experiences.)
What Does it Feel Like?
PSVR is undoubtably the prettiest VR headset on the market today, but the design isn’t purely aesthetic. The headset is surprisingly light, while managing to not feel cheap. The rubber padding breathes quite nicely and doesn’t cause as much sweat as you might expect. The strap is easily adjustable, which makes taking turns with friends pretty easy.
If you wear glasses, it’s important to note that you must wear them when playing VR. Luckily, I didn’t find it too uncomfortable to wear my glasses in the headset, but because I’m a walking humidifier, I did have some issues with my glasses fogging up over time and would have to clean them and the lenses of the headset every couple of minutes.
What is virtual reality like?
This is the hardest question to answer. After playing the system before going to sleep, I realized that it is pretty similar to closing your eyes and trying to picture yourself somewhere else. When the VR is at its best it feels like dreams made tangible, and when it’s at its worst, it’s unsettling, but still interesting.
It is extremely difficult to explain the sensation of being present in a particular space. My first experience was the “Ocean Descent” experience within Playstation Worlds. The experience loads up, and being in this diver’s tank next to a coral reef was mind-blowing. It didn’t take me long to become a believer in the tech.
A lot of this depends on what you are playing or watching. There are multiple apps that play video, and some of these are immersive, and others feel completely archaic.
The Playstation VR hardware is solid, but what developers and video content creators develop on the software side will make the headset sink or swim.
Will PSVR Cause Motion Sickness?
I would consider myself very susceptible to motion sickness. I have a difficult time doing 3D rides at Universal Studios and Disney World. So, I’m sure you can understand my concerns with VR. There are a lot of people who get pretty ill playing VR, and I should be one of them. I haven’t found Playstation VR to be an instant barf machine, but I have at times felt nauseous after extended playing periods. Once again, this really goes from game-to-game. The VR Street Luge experience in Playstation Worlds was almost unbearable, and unplayable, but the other experiences on that disc did not have the same effect on me.
What Games Can You Play in VR?
The launch lineup is actually pretty impressive. Out the gate, there are a significant amount of titles that you can purchase, ranging from FREE to $59.99. Some existing titles are also being patched to include VR specific modes. The Playstation VR demo disc that is included with the headset provides a substantial taste of what is possible with VR. Playstation Worlds is also an excellent showcase of the tech. Playstation Worlds is rated “Mature” for a reason, so if you plan on showing this to family, understand that there is some adult language and violence in some of the experiences.
Be sure to check out the Playstation Store to see what games are compatible with VR: https://store.playstation.com/#!/en-us/PlayStation%C2%AEVR/cid=STORE-MSF77008-GAMESPSVRWEBHP
What Other Uses Are There?
While the resolution of the headset isn’t the greatest, you are able to view everything on your Playstation 4 in a theater mode. The standard “medium” looks like your sitting closely to your television, or sitting in your average movie theatre. The “large” setting almost feels like you’re seeing everything in IMAX. The fidelity of the headset may not cut it for those who want to experience their content at the highest resolution.
As mentioned before, there are multiple video apps that provide different 180-degree and 360-degree videos and experiences. Once again, the resolution can hurt the emersion, as well as the placement of the camera when those videos were created. You may feel like a giant in the room, or like a fly on the wall. As the technology continues to develop, these experiences should get better as well.
Need something scary? These video apps will have some horror specific videos that will show you just how unsettling and scary horror can be in VR.
There you have it! I hope these answers can help you decide whether or not Playstation VR is for you. If you have anymore question about Playstation VR, comment below and we will try to answer your questions as quickly as possible.