With the hype that’s been building around pc based VR headsets over the last couple of years (The Oculus Rift and HTC vive), it felt as if Playstation VR might have just been riding their coat-tails when the official release date was announced earlier this year. The much later arrival of Sony’s VR HMD (head mounted display) seemed to suggest to me that they were just trying to keep up with the competition. With rumours of their lower cost and addition of a headset to a pre-existing system (ps4) in combination with a camera, I started to doubt it’s integrity and even assumed that it might be a bit of a novelty.
However, everything changed last week when I got to demo the PlayStation VR. I can now say that i’m a believer and that I repent for my sins of ever doubting Sony in their endeavours to provide an unprecedented gaming experience. Playstation VR doesn’t just feel like an add on to the PS4 and it is in no way a novelty. It feels incredibly natural to use and is an extremely polished system. Despite being just under 6 months away from a commercial use, and no point did I feel like I was demoing a beta version.
The tracking via the camera worked exceptionally well. In order to move forward in certain demos you have to lean forward (and back to move backwards). The more incline you have on the lean the faster you move. The camera can pick up the most subtle of movements and detects what way you’re facing. The move wands also tracked well and I only experienced mis-representation of my actual movements once throughout the whole demo.
Another thing to take into consideration is the ease of the set up. There’s only one required connection between the HMD and the console, which makes this a dream to set up in comparison to a HTC Vive (which requires at least 2 USB’s and a HDMI).
The headset itself is both comfortable and really easy to put on. It’s also a quick and painless process to focus the headset. I actually found it both comfier and easier to use than any VR headset i’ve tried before, which speaks volumes as I have always perceived these issues to be a real turn off for VR (especially for VR headset virgins).
For me, the PlayStation VR, ticks all the boxes and has completely shattered my initial concerns that it would live in the shadows of it’s competitors. I now wonder how I ever doubted that Sony, a company with over 20 years experience in the gaming industry, would ever make a novelty product. This is a true testament to virtual reality and PlayStation VR stands a very good chance of becoming the market leader following its release in October. Like all new platforms this is only the beginning of Sony’s relationship with virtual reality and I can’t wait to see how they mature together.
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