PlayStation VR is now a lot closer to a reality thanks to new details from GDC 2016. The Oculus Rift finally starts reaching customers next month, and the HTC Vive isn’t too far behind. Although they’ll both be getting a sizable jump on Sony’s latest hardware, the PlayStation 4 compatible device isn’t exactly in a bad position.
In fact, Sony’s patience will be greatly rewarded, as it has allowed the company to develop some serious advantages going into the VR match-up of 2016.
One of the biggest advantages is also the most obvious. The Oculus Rift comes in at a hefty $599, but that seems modest when compared to the HTC Vive. The Vive costs $799, the price of two new consoles. After much speculation, Sony finally revealed the price of the PSVR and it was much lower than anticipated.
At $399, the PSVR matches the price of a brand new PS4, but also undercuts the next cheapest headset by $200. This isn’t the first time that the company has edged out the competition on price, as the PS4 beat out the Xbox One by $100 helping to secure a lead.
While it is true that graphics and power are very important when choosing new technology, price will let a lot of people try it out without completely breaking the bank. Both the Rift and Vive win out specs wise, but they come at a large premium, giving the PSVR a nice advantage.
Cost of Entry
Maybe the price of the headset alone isn’t that big of a deal to you. You just really want a headset that provides a great picture that you can use. Well, none of these can be used without a platform to help deal with all of the heavy lifting required to run a virtual reality experience. Both the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive require beefy rigs to support their displays and keep things running smoothly. This is something that just isn’t included in the price of the headset.
If it’s a graphics card issue, you’re running at least one extra fee. But, many will need an entirely new computer which can easily hit over the $1,000, and that’s even if you do the labor yourself. The PSVR only requires a PS4 and a PlayStation Camera. Combined, those are both under $500 bringing the current total to around $900 to experience VR. Keep in mind that this is the price to buy things separately, there will undoubtedly be a bundle some time down the line.
This widens the potential audience for Sony. Virtual Reality is an intriguing technology that piques the interest of many. With the PlayStation offering the only way to get in at under a grand, that will draw much attention.
When you look at PSVR, you need to remind yourself that it’s part of the PlayStation family. It may not necessarily be a console, but it will be able to play games that exist in some of Sony’s biggest first party properties. Gran Turismo Sport is already confirmed, but the potential for games like Uncharted, God of War, Little Big Planet, Killzone, and more are a big deal. Consoles live and die on their games, so Sony is already aware of the strength a strong, exclusive library can bring to the table.
When you add this to the strong third-party support and long list of games already confirmed, you have something that may be worth getting excited about. Of course, there is no way of knowing if many of the games confirmed are any good yet. As is the case with any release, it’s never smart to count your chickens before they hatch. Yet, it isn’t completely out of this world to at least consider the potential of a library that shares some crossover with the PS4.
There is a reason that Sony’s library is loved, now all they need to do is leverage that.
There is one particular field where the PSVR beats out the competition with ease. It may not be as powerful as its competition, but it is certainly the most comfortable. Sony has been developing hardware for quite some time, and this has definitely provided a bit of know-how when it came to making something both visually appealing and comfortable.
Virtual reality is exciting, especially the first time you use it, so you’ll probably want a few long sessions (although it isn’t advised). You can’t do that with something that weighs your head down, or feels a bit too tight.
The PSVR manages to carve out its own space even if it is lacking in power when compared to its contemporaries. It hits all the right notes in nearly every other field making it a viable option for those who absolutely need to experience the “future of gaming.”