“Live The Game”- this pretty much summarises the PSVR, set to be launched this October. SONY’s Project Morpheus, which is its venture into virtual reality, is finally set to come out with the product that will open a doorway into a new world of gaming. It is designed to be functional with the Play Station 4 video game system. In certain games and demos for the VR, the player wearing the headset acts separately from other players without the headset.
The headset looks like something from a science fiction film or novel, with glowing led panels. It fits around the head, avoiding hassles with a top strap and therefore feels a little tighter on the sides and back. The headset can be tweaked to ensure the lenses are the correct distance for a clear picture by tightening the whole unit and, like many other virtual reality headsets, it is possible to wear glasses at the same time. The PlayStation VR has a 5.7 inch OLED panel, with an RGB sub-pixel matrix resolution of 1080p, or 960xRGBx1080 per eye. The headset also has a processor box which allows the headset to “second screen” the video output directly towards any monitor, as well as elevate the 3D audio effect used in 3.5mm headphone jacks. The headset also has 9 positional LED’s on its surface for the PlayStation Camera to track 360-degree head movement, and connects to the PlayStation by HDMI or USB.
PlayStation VR comes with interesting features of ‘cooperative gameplay’ and ‘cinematic mode’. ‘Cooperative gameplay’ means that it is capable of rendering two different images simultaneously: one display for the headset and a completely different image for television. The purpose, SONY says, is to prevent VR from invariably being a solitary experience. Secondly, all standard PlayStation 4 games can be played in a ‘cinematic mode’ that simulates a five-meter screen within a virtual space, SONY has said. Users can also view 360-degree photographs and videos, that are captured by devices such as omnidirectional cameras, through the media player. Other features, such as Share Play and Live from PlayStation, will also be compatible within the headset.
SONY’s PSVR has a distinct advantage over Oculus and HTC/Valve with their respective devices; it already has a vast user base with the equipment needed to run it. The other companies both require consumers to own beefy PC setups, which can cost many hundreds if not a thousand pounds to invest in. The PlayStation 4 is a fraction of that price and there are already 36 million units in households worldwide. Of course, it also boils down to price. While the Oculus Rift is pricey, at £500, and the HTC Vive is even more expensive at £700, they are both pitched at audiences who are used to paying top dollar for the best experiences. But the PlayStation 4 is a cheaper alternative all-round and therefore has more mass market appeal. That’s why it has plumped for a £349 price point even with the amount of technology crammed into its headset.
You still need a PS4 to use it: All you get for that price is the headset, and necessary connector hardware and cables. While it works with the PS4 and its DualShock 4 controllers, the motion-tracking Move controllers and PlayStation Camera ($60, £39, AU$75) don’t come packaged in. You need the camera, so expect to pay for one, and you’ll probably want the controllers, unless you still have them lying around from the PS3.
With so much excitement to bring to the table, it would only be fair if this article were to bang exit with also trumpeting SONY’s promise- that the PSVR will come with up to 50 new games at launch! We’re all waiting to live the game.