The Playstation VR

Sony’s Playstation VR is available October 13, 2016. While this is not the first time Sony has flirted with the idea of a head-mounted display (remember the Glasstron?), the release does mark the first virtual reality experience accessible through the mass market. Not everyone has a computer powerful enough to run VR technology. On the other hand, 39.5 million Playstation 4 consoles have been sold worldwide. Read on to find out what we here at VR Fitness Insider think about the new VR system.

The Good

First, the system itself. The HMD weighs in at just over a pound and measures 7.4 x 7.3 x 10.9 inches. This is similar to existing headsets like the HTC Vive. Additionally, the straps are able to be adjusted to your head size. Advocates of immersion will be glad to know that the VR’s latency comes in at less than 18ms (anything over 20ms, and users will notice the lag).

If you’re worried that there won’t be enough games for the VR to be worth your money, fear not. By the end of this year, 50 titles will be available for users. These games will range in genre, from the expected shooters and racing games to the tempting horror games. Hundreds of developers are hard at work, and with a big name like Sony at the forefront, it won’t be long until more creative minds join the fray.

Player 1 won’t be the only one enjoying the games, either. While the user wearing the headset will get the virtual reality, other players in the room can either watch or play alongside them on the TV. The team calls this feature the Social Screen. Also, there will be games like Resident Evil 7 that can be played with or without the headset.

This piece of good news is from a personal standpoint, but the headset has been constructed with users who wear glasses in mind, too. Although, it remains to be seen if this means things are getting fogged up.

Even after all of this, if you are not convinced or you think virtual reality isn’t for you, there’s no need to despair. Playstation VR isn’t being treated as the next generation of consoles. The new system is not looking to replace the vanilla experience.

The Bad

The headset, headphones, and all of the required cabling will cost $399.99 USD. This is comparable to the price of a Playstation 4 system by itself. No one ever said VR was cheap, but you will find many comments on YouTube videos about users pining for Playstation VR, even though they can’t afford it.

In addition, that price is just for the core product. You need the Playstation Camera to set it up in the first place. A limited number of titles also exist that will require the use of two PS Move motion controllers. While these games can be skipped, the practice is reminiscent of the Wii U’s need for different controllers depending on the game being played. That’s not even mentioning the Playstation VR Aim controller for first-person shooters.

Playstation VR will include a feature called Cinematic Mode, where a user can view the user interface and non-VR games on a virtual screen within the headset. While it may be a great way to tune out distractions, it also seems like it’s a gimmicky use of the headset.

The Unexpected

Future games will have indications on their labeling to let users know whether or not it supports Playstation VR. This is a nice touch, as it could save a few consumers a trip back to customer service.

Drawing more similarities to the Wii U, all Playstation VR users will be able to download the PlayRoom VR. It’s a bundled collection of six games created specifically for use with the system. Like Nintendo Land, it includes competitive and cooperative games for four players in the same room.

Sony is also promising non-game VR experiences, beyond entertainment and media applications like Hulu and YouTube. While the Playstation blog only mentions “VR storytelling experiences from Penrose Studios,” this could mean social media in the future, too.

Finally, a player does not have to be connected to the internet to play the games. In a world of Steam and online DRM, this is a welcome feature.

The Possibilities

The new product is just the beginning. As the first mass-market virtual reality option, there are going to be a lot of kinks to work out. The development team wants to come out with a product that can’t just be played on your TV. They want something completely dedicated to the virtual reality experience, something that is only “fully realized in a virtual reality headset.”

The best part of their ambitions is that none of the Sony higher-ups even asked the team to develop the product. It came from engineers who were quietly working on it on the side. Besides the relief that comes from knowing that innovation isn’t dead, it’s also a hint of things to come. From here, it’s a matter of waiting to see what titles come down the chute, and how they will change virtual reality.

Setting Up Your Playstation VR

Are you one of the players who will have Sony’s new virtual reality system in your hands on the 13th? We have you covered for that, too.

This video will help you make sure that you have everything you need to use Playstation VR. There’s nothing like the pain of hyping yourself for day one, only to find out you’re missing a cord.

This video will walk you through connecting all the cords the right way. Setting up a regular Playstation 4 is less complicated, of course, but it’s nothing the average console player isn’t already used to.

Finally, this video is all about the final set up for your system. It covers placing your Playstation Camera, sectioning off a play area, adjusting the headset, and setting up the VR for the first time.

– Osmond Arnesto


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