Playstation VR is a huge step in the right direction and, for many, the realisation of dreams we had not fathomed could be realised in our lifetimes.
The Playstation VR has recently emerged as a contender in the virtual reality market currently dominated by the HTC Vive and Occulus Rift. Whilst the Vive and the Occulus may have advantages in being longer established and some competitive edges in technology, the Playstation VR leads in one respect: accessibility.
The Vive is largely available for commercial use as it requires a top-spec desktop computer in order to run, with many figures pointing upwards of £1,500 as a minimum requirement on top of the near £700 cost of the Vive itself, with the Occulus close behind at a price point of £499. At £350 the Playstation VR is by no means accessible to all but it is a step in the right direction for bringing VR to the majority of the gaming community who either cannot or are unwilling to spend upwards of a grand on a PC system, particularly if they feel more comfortable with console gaming in the first place. Although the added cost of the console would put it at a higher price point than the Occulus. That of course means access to the host of non-VR games available on the PS4 console alone which is a huge bonus for the majority of gamers. In terms of comfort, the Playstation VR far surpasses the other headsets. Though it may not be at the forefront of consumers thoughts, the long duration of wear means that comfort can have a huge effect on the overall experience and the drive to play more.
However there are some aspects where the difference in cost shows. The Vive makes use of sensors allowing the player to wander around the room but the Playstation VR relies on an outdated camera system in order to track the player. The smaller scope of the camera system means that, more often than with the Vive, the player is confronted with a pop up alerting them that they have wandered out of the play zone, breaking immersion. Rumours of the next iteration of the Vive being wireless would give it a step up considering the amount of complaints from users that the idea of unlimited movement in a room is false because of the wired headset.
Though the standard Playstation controller was not designed with VR in mind, it is incorporated well in the system’s VR releases thus far and functions sufficiently for the majority of game. This saves the additional cost of the Playstation Move controllers, which function as two separate hands akin to the Vive’s controllers. However for those who are eager for more immersion in the VR the use of Playstation Move controllers do add to the immersion.
Releases for the VR so far are limited, with a few relying largely on gimmicks and the novelty of virtual reality, however some stand out titles such as Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and EVE: Valkyrie both immerse the player and make use of the VR system and provide interesting gameplay and employ virtual reality to serve to a larger effect rather than the sole source of attraction. The Playstation VR is decidedly not an indication of virtual reality’s readiness and availability to all but it is a huge step in the right direction and for many the realisation of dreams we had not fathomed could be realised in our lifetimes.
PlayStation VR is available to buy now.