The Playstation VR is a virtual reality headset similar to other headsets that have recently entered the market, with the main difference that it is specifically constructed for use with the Sony Playstation. While it will not be released until October, we have been able to try one of the many review versions that have been provided for gaming and news sites and showed at conferences
The Playstation VR has a sleek and futuristic design, with glowing blue LEDs on the side. The headset fits on top of your head with a padded band, which holds the eyepiece correctly in front of your eyes. The headset is really comfortable and while it weighs a bit more than the competition, the padded straps and on-top-of-the-head design make it easy to wear for long gaming sessions. This is an important feature of a VR headset and one which sets the Playstation VR apart.
Another important benefit of the Playstation VR is that it is backed by Sony and its PS4 franchise. The large number of Playstation 4 consoles already compatible with the headset, along with their strong relationships with game developers mean that Sony can ensure that there will be a wide range of compatible games from the start. This is important, as there have been questions about the paucity of content for other VR devices. The tight integration between headset, console, and games mean that you will not face difficulties of compatibility nor of your computer having sufficient power for creating great virtual reality experiences.
One drawback with the Playstation VR is that the resolution is quite a bit lower than competing VR headsets. This is in part because it is designed for the Playstation 4, which anyway can only produce 1080p video. However, this means in practice that some pixels in the far end of the field of view might appear jagged and not sufficiently smooth. The resolution is 1920×1080 as compared to 2160×2100 for most competitors. The refresh rate, however, is specified at 120 Hz – which is important as this provides better tracking of the movements of your head, ensuring a smoother virtual reality experience (and reportedly less motion sickness). Sony has also demonstrated proprietary technology that is supposed to scale up the frames-per-second for games running on the headset, possibly making up for the deficits in resolution.
Finally, one area where the Playstation VR really stands out is the price. Planned to be launched in the UK and US at £349 / $399 respectively, it is considerably cheaper than the competitors. Even if you don’t already own a Playstation 4, the price of the console and the headset comes out lower than the cost for any of the competing VR headsets.
The Playstation VR will require that you pair it with a couple of accessories: you will need the Playstation Eye Camera and, in the case of some of the games, the Move controller. Both of these are, however, low-cost additions to your PS4 in case you don’t already own them.
All in all the Playstation VR is a really good product, and for many people, it is likely to be the best first introduction into the world of virtual reality software and gaming. The tight integration between VR headset, console, and games in the case of Playstation is likely to ensure a smooth VR experience, which along with the impressively low price makes for a strong argument in favor of the Playstation VR.