VR For the Masses
The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are two incredible pieces of tech, but there’s no denying that the price of admission is a little steep. Not to mention you’ll need to be running a pretty powerful gaming PC to even handle these premium VR experiences. While the PSVR may not offer quite the same quality experience as its competitors, it’s managed to effectively deliver VR to the masses at a more reasonable price.
With over 40 million PS4 consoles having been sold worldwide, that’s potentially 40 million players who are eligible and ready for PSVR. There’s no upgrade they need to pick up or exorbitant price tag to come to terms with. Coming in as the cheapest of the three VR headsets, PSVR has managed to open virtual reality up to a huge new section of the gaming demographic and will help to shift it into the mainstream.
A Great Launch Lineup
One issue that many new consoles and pieces of tech struggle with when first launching is a poor lineup of games or software at launch. While there’s always something to try out on them, they may not be the best experiences and it’s difficult to provide something for everyone. The PSVR’s launch lineup was surprisingly substantial for what is essentially a PS4 peripheral.
There were over 30 games available to download from day one and that’s not including a number of demos and non-gaming experiences that players could try out for themselves. Offering a great lineup of games from the start helps to tempt people to pick a shiny VR headset up, as well as keep them content until future releases.
Promising Future Support
It would have been all well and good for Sony to release the PSVR with its 30+ game lineup and then leave it at that, but it continued to deliver experiences in the following months. Whether it’s Ubisoft’s Eagle Flight, EA’s Star Wars Battlefront Rogue One experience, or Capcom’s Resident Evil 7, there are plenty of exciting reasons to keep putting your PSVR on in the coming months once the honeymoon period has fizzled out.
Though we’ve not been told of anything coming much past January 2017, considering the significant amount of money Sony has dropped into VR in terms of R&D, manufacturing, and QA costs, it’s highly unlikely that the support is going to stop anytime soon. At least, that’s what both Sony and PSVR owners will be hoping anyway. While both of its competitors are looking equally as strong for future releases, the PSVR is doing it at a cheaper price. Not to mention it also has exclusive IP that it could delve into should it deem them a correct fit for virtual reality. For now, rest assured that there’s plenty of cool content on its way in the coming months.
Comfortable to Wear
If you’ve tried either of the other two VR headsets on the market, you might have noticed that they’re not the most comfortable thing to wear for too long. While it’s by no means enough to stop you from using it again, it’s definitely noticeable and can suck you out of the experience after a while.
Thanks to the way Sony’s PSVR attaches to the head, the whole thing feels incredibly comfortable even when using for extensive periods of time. That large black piece of material just above the band at the front cushions your head and in any place that your head is going to come into contact with the VR headset, it’s cushioned with soft materials. Though it can get a little hot when using PSVR for extensive periods of time, it definitely ranks as the most comfortable way to experience the VR future.
Easy to Set Up and Put On
Though the assortment of wires can be a little overwhelming when you first open the box of your PSVR, it’s actually a pretty simple setup thanks to the printed materials that come in the box. What’s more, when you have the whole thing set up, actually getting your PSVR calibrated and ready to roll is taken care of by a brief number of setup screens on your PS4.
Another element that many were concerned with in regards to VR headsets was how easy they’d be to put on and have a clear and enjoyable experience. Surprisingly, the PSVR is incredibly easy to fit and have a comfortable and enjoyable experience with. The whole thing also feels reassuringly sturdy enough that you’re not concerned about breaking it when the headband stretches around your head.
When you’re playing in VR, all of the moving around and waving of controllers can sometimes lead to things losing calibration and throwing your experience off a little. Your in-game arms can become jerky, or to look right ahead you may need to turn your head to the left slightly. Luckily, PSVR can resolve most issues by you simply holding down the Options button on your DualShock 4 or the Start button on your Move controllers.
Rather than having you sift through different settings and tweaking the whole setup every once in a while, this solution is quick and is easy to perform mid-game. Perfect for those moments in Until Dawn: Rush of Blood when you’ve got a clown running at your face and your arms are pointing at an odd angle to your left. While significant changes to your surroundings may require you to jump into your PS4’s settings for some recalibrations, even this is the same easy process that it runs you through during the initial setup.
More Than Just Games
Games are most definitely some of the most immersive experiences you can play on PSVR at the moment. If you’ve ever thought Rez was a little trippy when playing on your TV, it’s a whole new level of sensory overload in VR. However, seeing the other experiences available on PSVR from day one such as Allumette, Invasion!, and Littlstar VR Cinema is a promising sign for the diversity of content coming to the peripheral.
Imagine full-fledged episodes of Mac and Cheez’s adventures in Invasion! or checking out a live performance of your favorite music artist in VR. It’s all certainly possible, and having these experiences right off the bat shows Sony’s interest in other mediums to bring to PSVR. While this is once again something that the PSVR shares with its competitors, it’s managing to deliver a similar library at a cheaper entry point.
Not So Anti-Social
VR has been considered a means of gamers further isolating themselves from the outside world for obvious reasons. With the PSVR strapped to your face and the earphones or your own favorite headset on as well, you’re pretty much completely oblivious to anything going on around you.
However, there are instances of the PSVR making things a little more social, the most obvious of which being The Playroom VR. Providing a number of multiplayer experiences that make novel use of the headset to show the user a different perspective to those playing on the TV, it’s actually proven to be a unique approach to multiplayer gaming. Alternatively, if your friends and family just want to spectate your VR goings-on they can always just watch your gameplay via the Social Screen. Considering PSVR is more likely to be used in a living room than something like the Oculus Rift or Vive, it’s good to see Sony thinking up ways to incorporate other players into the experience.
No More TV Battles
Less of a killer app and more of a convenient feature, the PSVR has a handy Cinematic Mode that allows you to play the games you enjoy even when your friends or family are wanting to use the TV for something else.
The Cinematic Mode essentially brings your non-VR games up on a huge floating 226-inch screen allowing you to enjoy your games in peace while someone else can change the channel on the TV. What may have originally seemed like a redundant feature finally comes into its own when brought into the ‘battle for the TV’ scenario.
Reasonably Priced Software
Utilizing new hardware often leads to the temptation of bumping up the price of the software on offer. While there was certainly a concern that many games would be made available for a hefty premium, checking out the PlayStation Store actually reveals that there’s a vast array of experiences that come in at very reasonable prices.
Yes, you’ve got your premium-priced titles such as EVE: Valkyrie and RIGS, but then you’ve also got the likes of Tumble, Thumper, and Batman: Arkham VR. It may seem obvious and it’s certainly been a similar situation with the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but it’s another means of keeping the price of admission for PSVR nice and low. Lower than both of its PC rivals.