Thinking of getting a PSVR for Christmas? You’ll love it!
Updated: Aug 22, 2019
I’m sitting with a few friends, on the edge of my seat, and cheering as we watch one of us get to the next level of Thumper on PSVR. It’s a trippy game with funky graphics and thumping beats and it’s totally absorbing.
It’s been a bit more than a month since I got my PSVR and I’m excited about sharing my experience.
Note: I’m not going to go into super in-depth detail on the PSVR technical specs. If you want to know more click here for Sony’s excellent PSVR FAQ.
Now, I’ve heard nightmare stories about how complex the PSVR setup was going to be with tons of cables and unplugging this and replugging that. Sony even created videos to walk people through it. In reality, it’s pretty straight forward IF you follow the manual. There are a lot of cables to deal with but just read and get to it. Took me about 10 minutes. After that you power up your PS4 and the PSVR processor box and you are good to go. Of course, let’s not forget you need to sit through the mandatory updates. I know that people would prefer a single plug and play option (as opposed to multiple plugs!) but the truth is the technology isn’t there yet. You need the following to use your PSVR:
PSVR Processor box
PS Move sticks (optional — I didn’t buy these)
The PSVR headset & camera
Ok, I’ll be honest here, I didn’t read up on the headset and tried to jam it on. BIG MISTAKE. It was uncomfortable and tight. I took it off, read the manual, and adjusted it pretty easily through the two indicated buttons (one for the strap and one for the scope box which houses the lenses). Once on, it was actually very light and comfortable. It’s one of the most comfortable VR headsets I’ve worn and one of the easiest to configure. It had no issues accommodating my glasses either which was great. There was no fogging up of the lenses from heat (like you get with the Samsung Gear VR) or anything like that. Bear in mind this is a WIRED headset so there’s a long cable attaching the PS VR headset to the PS4.
The PS camera allows you a physical space to play in (approx 10 x 10 ft). If you step out of range you get an annoying pop up which won’t go away till you get back in range.
A month’s worth of VR Experience
I started my PSVR experience, like many people, with a game. I chose DriveClub VR because, honestly, racing and flight sim games make sense to me in VR. You’re in a seat and everything moves around you. None of this running around business (I’m a couch potato gamer after all!).
Initial reaction: I LOVED it. The immersion was great. I wasn’t nauseous (though I think that depends on the individual user), I was zipping around tracks and was able to look around and see the other cars. I could even lean out the window and check out the side of my car if I wanted. And then a funny thing happened, I decided to step out of the car while still driving to see what would happen. Much to my amusement, the game just kept going. I played the rest of the game standing so that my head was technically above the roof of the car thus giving me a better driving perspective. Just something amusing that the 5-year old part of me wanted to share.
If you slow down and look around however, you’ll start to see a few issues. The resolution on the PSVR (960 x 1080) was clearly lower than other high end VR headsets. I could see pixelation and pop ups at times. The field of view is slightly less than most high-end headsets as well (100 degrees as compared to approx 110 for Oculus and HTC Vive). Regardless, the immersion was there.
PSVR is one of the most perfect headsets for non-gaming content. It’s a relatively comfortable headset (as it sits on your head and not your face) and the skirting is made of soft rubber and doesn’t poke you or leave any marks on your face. I found I could watch 360 content for 30 min to an hour with no discomfort (compared to the 15 min or so I could do on other headsets). I chose Allumette, a charming animated VR short film that works best with devices that allow you to walk around a physical space. It’s free and, if you have a PSVR, I highly recommend it. It’s a golden nugget of content made especially for VR as opposed to repurposed.
There are also a handful of apps available such as Within and Littlstar on the PS Network but not much else at the moment. Sadly, the PS YouTube app doesn’t support viewing videos in 360 which to me is a big oversight and should be sorted out ASAP.
The PSVR does what it’s meant to do and does it well. For those who have concerns around the resolution, FOV, etc let’s not forget that we’re still at the beginning. This is version 1.0. I got what I wanted out of the PSVR. It’s one of the only VR devices that entices you to keep coming back. I haven’t touched my Oculus Rift in months in comparison (that’s a blog for another day).
The only annoying things to me is that some games require you to use the PS move. I have read multiple reviews claiming how bad the PS move is at tracking and calibrating and frankly, I don’t want to hold a pair of ugly wands in my hands. I want to use my PS4 controller!
I’m looking forward to using my PSVR regularly for gaming, watching movies and videos, and any other VR experiences Sony is able to provide. I just hope Sony is committed to continuously generating high quality VR content and doesn’t let PSVR go the way of the PS Vita (again, a blog for another day!). The quality of the VR content will ultimately determine if this is a keeper.
Grade: Solid B
Abhi Kumar is Chief Creative Director at Warrior9. He believes that VR is the next step in the evolution of visual content and is currently working on the first animated sci-fi series in VR, The PhoenIX. Find out more at www.warrior9.com