The day has finally arrived – PlayStation VR is now available for consumers to head out and buy from stores and experience a whole new way to play games on their PS4. Of course, with such an innovation in technology comes a big price tag to accompany it, and while many may already be sold on the benefits of virtual reality, others may still be somewhat on the fence.
With that in mind, we’ve broken this question down into a few smaller subjects to analyze the PSVR’s current and future support and whether or not it’s worth picking up.
First things first, because this is a wearable device the whole thing needs to feel sturdy, as well as offer a good quality experience when you’re using it. Luckily, the PSVR has the first one nailed down to a tee. From the time I’ve spent with my own unit, the whole thing feels well put together for the most part. The only area I feel slightly concerned about the build quality is the headband that keeps the whole thing attached to your face. When pulling it back to fit around your head they seem a tad fragile. It’s not like it’s going to break immediately, however, I do have my concerns on whether eventual wear and tear might have its way in the future.
As for the actual quality of the experience when you get the thing onto your head, the visuals are good, but not great. It’s definitely not at the same level of visual fidelity as the much more expensive HTC Vive, but that’s what you get for paying the premium price. What you get with the PlayStation VR is neat visuals and as long as you’ve got it on your head and all set up the right way you really feel like you’re in this new virtual world. You’ll notice almost a grainy film over the image, but after a while you won’t even realize it.
In terms of games, the PlayStation VR actually has one hell of a lineup. Not only are there a number of titles releasing in the next couple of months from third party developers that look great such as Robinson: The Journey and Eagle Flight, there are a good 30 games to jump into right now.
Though some of these are the kind of ‘tech demo’ experiences you’ll probably show your friends when they come round to try it out, there are some hidden gems in there. EVE: Valkyrie and RIGS are the notable standout titles, while the likes of Job Simulator and Batman: Arkham VR are the types of games you’ll happily come back to every once in a while. It’s a solid and diverse lineup to tide you over until the huge number of other titles release in the coming months.
While games may be the big headline medium for virtual reality and PSVR at the moment, that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you’ll be able to use your shiny new headset for. If you take a look on the PSN store, you’ll find a number other experiences that allow you to just sit back, relax, and enjoy the action that takes place around you.
Currently, there are only five of these experiences for you to try. One of which is Littlstar VR Cinema- a library of 360-degree videos that put you right at the heart of a number of different moments. Alongside this are animated experiences in the form of INVASION! and Allumette, and if you’re really into music, you can always try out Harmonix Music VR. It’s a music visualizer, although it hasn’t been received too well. While there are a number more due to release in the coming months, it’s unclear whether we’ll see many more VR experiences. As a start, though, it’s certainly neat to have something other than games to test PSVR with.
Though a solid launch lineup is important to give day-one buyers something to play on the day, continued support is what’s inevitably going to make or break the PSVR. Luckily, it seems like Sony has this already sorted out, at least for the coming months.
Only last week, Sony revealed via the PlayStation Blog all of the titles and experiences that players could expect to get their hands on in the coming months. And while there are some smaller studios supporting the headset, you’ve also got the likes of Capcom throwing their support behind the device with VR support for Resident Evil 7. Eagle Flight, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, and Werewolves Within are on the way from Ubisoft, and EA is bringing us a Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One: X-Wing mission, too. There’s certainly plenty of support for the PlayStation VR now, and Sony has been vocal on a number of occasions about how it considers VR a significant avenue for the future.
When it comes to price, the PSVR offers the best value for a virtual reality experience. While you’re able to pick up the Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard for way less, the PlayStation VR is the cheapest of the more substantial gaming VR headsets. Comparatively speaking, the PSVR comes in a good $200 less if you buy it on its own than the Oculus Rift, and $400 less than the HTC Vive.
As we previously mentioned, these other two headsets may offer a slightly better resolution and viewing experience, but you’ll also need a powerful PC to run them. As long as you’ve got a PS4 and a PlayStation Camera you’re all ready to go. It should be noted, however, that the PSVR does come in at the same price as the upcoming PS4 Pro, making it just as expensive as a 4K console. Therefore if you can only afford one, the decision comes down to whether you want an improved and smoother experience when it comes to your normal gaming, or whether you want a new way to play. VR is still expensive, but the PSVR is the cheapest the big gaming experiences will get for a while.
At the time of writing, it’s difficult to badmouth the PSVR. It may not offer the visual fidelity of its more expensive competitors, but it offers enjoyable VR experiences to the living room at a pretty low price point. There are plenty of games you can pick up for it, and experiences to try it out with too, though while there is certainly support confirmed for the coming months, how long it’ll continue for will more than likely depend on the pick-up rate of the headset. These are the early stages of VR and as such, support from developers depends on the support of the consumer.
If you’re looking for a way to experience virtual reality, have the cash and the PS4 to run it all, and are aware of the risks, then hop on in. However, if you want the very best VR experience possible, you’ll probably want to check out the Vive instead.