Haven’t you heard? Virtual Reality is back, and it’s better than ever. Yes, that ever-promising concept of slipping on a headset and being transported to a fully realised virtual world is back, but the time it’s got the technology to back it.
Recent years have seen the hype around VR reach a fever pitch thanks to headsets powered by high-end gaming PC’s like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. At the same time, cheap VR options like Google Cardboard and Gear VR have flooded the market.
What that means for consumers is that until recently you’ve either been stuck with incredible but expensive options (Vive & Rift) or cheap and somewhat disappointing efforts (Cardboard & Gear VR). Now, Sony have gotten into the game with a VR headset powered by something you might already have in your home – a PlayStation 4. So, what do you need to know about the newly launched VR headset? Read on to find out.
How does PS VR work?
PS VR takes the form of a sleek head-mounted display. Inside that headset is a screen, optics and head tracking sensors. Combined with a PlayStation 4 Camera that means you can look around, move (in a limited space) and even crouch to examine your virtual surroundings. Your PS VR headset connects to a secondary processing unit, which in turn connects to your PlayStation 4.
On your TV screen, friends and family can see exactly what you see, albeit in a lower resolution.
How do I control games?
PlayStation VR games can be controlled in a couple of ways. The first is through your normal PlayStation 4 controller, which is familiar, but doesn’t necessarily lend itself to real immersion. The other option is recommended for most PS VR games is through PlayStation Move.
PlayStation Move was originally launched for the PS3 years ago, but the motion controllers languished thanks to a lack of support from developers. With the PlayStation VR headset though, you can hold two and have full hand and arm tracking in any game, helping you truly feel like you’re there.
Are there any games for the PS VR?
Yes! Plenty, in fact. Sony are giving away a demo disk with 18 games and demos built right in. There’s also a free download available with a number of other VR games. For full VR experiences, you can check our RIGS Mechanized Combat, Batman: Arkham VR, DRIVECLUB VR, Rez Infinite and many, many more.
Where can I buy the PS VR and how much is it?
Here in the UK, the PS VR launched on the 14th of November, and will cost £349.99 for the headset alone. You’ll also need the camera (£39.99) if you don’t already have one and potentially two PlayStation Move controllers (£69.99) on top of your PlayStation 4. If you already own the console, that’s a potential total outlay of £459.97. That makes it plenty expensive, but still a little cheaper than the Vive or Oculus.
Sony are planning a big launch for the hardware, but demand is expected to be high. On Sony support UK the company are warning that supplies may be low at first, and if you’d like one before Christmas you’d be best advised to pre-order early.18