What is PlayStation VR
What is PlayStation VR? This was the exact question I asked myself when I heard it was being released. Of course I know what virtual reality is, however how good could it be considering how under powered consoles were at the time. PC Virtual Reality is a beautiful thing but it takes a lot of horsepower to run virtual reality at its best. Only the more powerful gaming PC’S were actually capable of running VR flawlessly at high resolution. Is the PSVR an actual VR experience or just some cheap attempt at VR on console? How could a console achieve such a feat?
Once I got my hands on the Sony PlayStation VR I soon realized that Sony had done what I thought impossible. A great VR experience on a console. That’s not to say it’s as good as the experience you would get from a more powerful PC, but it’s pretty darn close at a fraction of the cost especially when you consider the cost of a gaming PC’S versus a console. The best part is, you don’t even have to upgrade to the PS4 Pro.
The PSVR will work on both the PS4 and the PS4 Pro. The 2 main buying options are the PSVR system alone & the starter version of the PSVR. There are also several bundle options available to purchase the PSVR that come with the system, some games and even some that some that come with a PS4 Pro.
If you purchase the PSVR system alone please note you need a PS move controller and a PS camera to to get it to work with the PS4 Pro. If you don’t have the PS camera or move controller, I recommend you purchase the PSVR bundle which comes with the PS camera and the PS move controller. You could also buy the PS camera for around $60 & the move controller for around $20 – $30.
So to finally answer the question, what is PlayStation VR, it is Virtual Reality Hardware recently released by Sony for the PS4 family of consoles. The system comes with a headset, a processing unit, in ear headphones, an HDMI cable & a user manual.
The PS camera tracks your motion and the motion controller (only needed for some PSVR titles). The headset produces 2 images (one for each eye) & displays them right in front of you rather than on our boring old flat TV screen. This makes you the feel as if you are actually interacting with the game world.
Virtual reality has been around for quite some time, however in more recent years the technology has made a huge leap forward. The level of immersion you feel is nothing short of amazing. You may never want to game on a flat screen again.
I know people who tried the PSVR & in spite of lack of VR titles right now will only play PSVR games. The the flat screen just doesn’t do it for them anymore. Until the PSVR was released, if you wanted to have a VR gaming experience you had to buy the HTC Vive or the Oculus Vive virtual reality systems on PC. Thankfully Sony has giving us a way to game on our consoles.
Another thing I want to mention is something that some users can get motion sickness while playing VR. This is true for all VR not just the PSVR system. All 3 VR systems I mention including PSVR calibrate there systems to limit this as much as possible. While I have never had any issues with it, it does happen. I suggest taking it slow at first & limit your time playing VR until you know how it will effect you.
If you don’t have the PS Camera or the PS move controllers Click here to buy the PSVR Bundle from Amazon
If you already have the PS camera and the PS move controllers Click here to buy the PSVR system from Amazon
PC VR vs PSVR
In my opinion VR on a PC really only has one major advantage. The resolution is higher. In order to help stop motion sickness the resolution of the images has to be ran at around 90 frames per second. Amazingly enough the PSVR still manages to display images you see equal to 720p.
Gaming PC’S extra power over the console allow VR image to be at a slightly higher resolution. It is noticeable however I personally don’t feel it’s worth all that extra money just for slightly higher resolution on a PC. The PSVR really does match or exceed the Vive and Rift in all other areas. The HTC Vive comes with the controller and the tracking sensors for a whopping $799. Oculus Rift comes with an Xbox One controller and is priced at $599. If you want the Oculus Touch controller it will cost you another $180.
As I stated before you will need the PS camera and the PS move controller for the PSVR. If you already have the camera and the controller the PSVR is around $399. If you do not have either you can buy the bundle for $499 which includes PlayStation VR worlds, a fantastic PSVR title. Considering the PS4 is around $299 and a gaming PC powerful enough to use the Rift or Vive to its full potential will run you at least $700 you start to realize what a fantastic value the PSVR really is.
There’s one other major factor which in my opinion puts the PSVR slightly ahead of the PC VR systems. Content! Sony is an extremely competent game publisher. They obviously know the system very well, so they should be able to produce games that reach the PSVR’s full potential. Sony promises 50 new VR titles by the end of 2017.
PlayStation VR on PS4
While most of my time playing the PSVR was on a PS4 Pro, I had a chance to test a few of the PSVR titles on the PS4 and I must say it preformed quite nicely. The game experience was smooth, however if you don’t have either console I would recommend purchasing the PS4 Pro for a better VR experience. If you already have the PS4 and you have no other reason to upgrade to the PS4 Pro other than VR, I recommend saving your money. The PS4 does a decent job of running PSVR.
There are many other reasons to upgrade to the PS4 Pro other than VR but if none of them matter to you, than just stick with the PS4. I did notice a little lag on the PS4 compared to PSVR on PS4 Pro and the objects being displayed seemed to be a little more vivid to me on the PS4 Pro. Most users will most likely not think the difference in VR performance alone justifies the upgrade to the PS4 Pro and I would have to agree with that for now.
The games that you will notice the most difference in performance are the Pro VR titles. There aren’t many yet, but I am expecting that to change very soon. When more Pro VR titles are released, it may be time for that upgrade after all.
PSVR on PS4 Pro
The PS4 really does do a great job of running PSVR. The PS4 Pro will give you slightly crisper images and a more smother experience overall but the PS4 Pro is not a necessity to run PSVR. I do prefer playing the PSVR on the PS4 Pro however I can’t honestly say to someone they should go buy a PS4 Pro just for VR.
At the moment only select VR titles take full advantage of the PS4 Pro’ s extra power. That will change in the near future but for now you can rest assured you are getting a great VR experience on the PS4. You can always upgrade later when more titles come out.
Of course if you are starting from scratch and buying a new console and the PSVR, I highly recommend the PS4 Pro. Full more details read my full post on the PS4 Pro.
If you would like more info on the console it’s self please read my post on the PS4 Pro.
If you would like to see game play of the PlayStation VR here’s a short video for you to watch
- Great Value for VR compared to PC
- Surprisingly great VR experience on Console, near PC quality
- Easy initial set up
- Great VR content & expected rapid growth of content
- Works well on both PS4 & PS4 Pro
- Some games need be re-calibrated to play well
- Limited availability at times can cause coat to be higher
- VR can cause motion sickness (this is true for all VR not just PSVR, just take it slow at first)
The PSVR system is truly amazing. The fact that you are able to get a great VR experience on a PS4 is simply mind boggling to me. Sony has come up with a relatively inexpensive way for console gamers to play VR games and I couldn’t be happier about it. The immersion you feel is well worth the lower resolution you get vs gaming on a flat screen TV.
The PSVR is nearly as good, if not as good as its much more expensive PC VR competition. Sony is a major game publisher, so expect the VR content to far exceeded the Rift and the Vive.
If you are looking to purchase a new console please don’t make the decision to buy a PS4 or PS4 Pro from this review alone. I strongly suggest you read my post Best Gaming Consoles to give you more info for your decision.
The PSVR system has been selling like crazy, so vendors are having a hard time keeping them in stock. Amazon has sold out on multiple occasions but they have been available from 3rd party sellers for a higher price. Due to high demand you may have to pay more than the expected MSRP.
Best Place to Buy PlayStation VR: Amazon.com
Hopefully I have helped some of you decide if the PlayStation VR is right for you. If you still find yourself asking the question what is the PlayStation VR, leave a question in the comment section. Even if I don’t know the answer I will try to find it for you.