Sony PlayStation VR: the good and the bad

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Sony PlayStation VR

With a number of Virtual Reality devices been launched this year,  2016 has proved to be a year of Virtual Reality. After the likes of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR, there is a new player in the market which has been hyped as the VR device for the masses. Yes, Sony PlayStation VR, available since 13th Oct 2016, is priced at just $399 as compared to Oculus Rift ($670) and HTC Vive ($926). Affordable? Very much but here’s the catch, it is compatible to work with PS4 (as suggested by the name) only and not high-end PCs. So, if you own a PS4 then it is the best choice for you to head on for your first VR experience. However, Samsung Gear VR is for the smartphone users and boon for people who owns neither PS4 or high-end gaming PCs. There are a lot of VR apps available for such smartphone users in the market.

The $399 PlayStation VR does not include PlayStation Camera and two Movement Controllers. But for $499, you can buy a complete kit, sold by Sony, which includes everything to get you started if you don’t own PlayStation Camera and other pre-requisites. PlayStation VR is, undoubtedly, a great deal for people who have all the hardware in addition to the PS4.

WHAT’S THERE IN-THE-BOX?

  • a PlayStation VR headset
  • a processor unit
  • an HDMI cable
  • a set of in-ear headphones
  • power cables
  • lens-cleaning cloth
  • a demo disk
  • instruction manuals

The setup of the PSVR is highly similar to that of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive only that it is a bit less complex. It takes around 15-20mins for a beginner to complete the whole setup.

The processing unit helps carry out the object-based 3D audio processing i.e. you can trace the exact location of the sounds in the game which makes the overall experience terrific. It also renders the image you see in the VR onto your TV screen although at a low framerate and resolution. The headset contains inline buttons to control the volume of the game with an ease.

DISPLAY QUALITY

As discussed, the display quality of PSVR is of lower quality as compared to Oculus Rift and HTC Vive as they offer high screen resolutions depending upon the PC specs while PSVR doesn’t come out of its comfy zone since it is powered by PS4.

  • 5.7-inch OLED Screen
  • Resolution: 1,920 x RGB x 1,080 (960 x RGB x 1,080 per eye)- Oculus and Vive deliver a 2,160 x12,00 resolution to each eye
  • Refresh Rate: 120Hz, 90Hz
  • 100-degree field of view
  • Integrated microphone, accelerometer, gyroscopes

However, PSVR allows you to play non-VR games and watch movies in “cinematic mode” as well. There exists three virtual screen sizes for the same i.e. S(117 inches), M(163 Inches), L(226 inches).

WHAT TO EXPECT?

 

Sony PlayStation VR is not much demanding on Space. Only 10×6 foot area is needed to immerse into the virtual world. However, you cannot play with it for longer durations as it is not the lightest one out there. It becomes a little uncomfortable after a continuous usage of 30-40 mins, not because of the motion sickness but because of its weight.

Also, there a slight gap beneath the device even if you wear the device properly. In low-light conditions, it works great and the gap is almost negligible. Since you’re so much engaged in the game, this gap is hardly being noticed.

The best part of PSVR is that it allows 360 degrees movement, just as the HTC Vive does, as it has two sensor lights at the back of the headset. However, sometimes there is a little off tracking on the part of the camera to detect the hand controllers when a player is turned around 360 degrees while HTC Vive does great on this. Oculus Rift, on the other hand, does not even have the hand controllers until now but plans to launch Rift Touch controllers later at the end of the year.

Let us take a look at the pros and cons of the PSVR here:

Pros:

  • Cost effective over Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
  • Headsets are pretty good
  • Works with glasses as well, comfy to wear
  • Simple setup
  • Elevates standard PS4 experience
  • Allow non-VR games(cinematic mode) and can watch movies

Cons:

  • Need to unplug the processor to shut it down
  • Need to buy PS4 if you don’t have one
  • PS4 console needs another USB port to charge the controllers
  • The gap you see beneath the headset
  • Standard over-the-ear headphones won’t fit because of its bulky nature but gaming headsets might be adaptable.

CONCLUSION

PlayStation VR is the most budget friendly VR device for over 40 million PlayStation owners out there. If you don’t already own a PS4, I would recommend you to watch out for the PS4 Pro to see the compatibility between the two devices.

The headset is very comfortable to wear and the headphones do full justice to highly immersive VR games. PSVR comes at a much better price than Oculus Rift. However, it gives less prominent details and scores a little low for an immersive experience when compared to HTC Vive. Certainly, with PSVR you’re bound to get the best of the both worlds at a very affordable price and that’s something really good.

What are your thoughts on VR Gaming ? Do you think Virtual Reality is changing the gaming world as we see it ? Share your thoughts with us.

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