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PlayStation VR Review

By David | 14/09/2016 10:39:08

The final version of the PlayStation VR headset showcased at GDC 2016 vaunts pretty impressive specs, which can make prospective VR gamers excited. It has a 5.7in 1920x1080 full-HD OLED display, equating to 960x1080 per eye. The high-quality display coupled with a 100-degree field of view and 18ms response time provides users with an experience indistinguishable from real life. However, despite being lower resolution than both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the PlayStation VR headset may win in one area in particular that is Screen Door Effect (or SDE for short) removal. SDE describes the visible gaps between individual pixels which appear when looking closely at a display, like those used in VR headsets. The effect can lead to something very dramatic.

PlayStation VR Headset At GDC 2016

Unlike the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift that feature a Pen Tile display which offers two subpixels per pixel, Sony opted for an RGB display that offers three RGB subpixels for every pixel on the display, negating the effect. Counting subpixels, the Rift and Vive feature roughly 5,184,000 subpixels while the PlayStation VR features around 20 percent more at 6,220,800. While it may not be an issue for short stints in VR, it could make all the difference in extended gameplay sessions. Sony's virtual reality headset features a 120Hz refresh rate and thus has the potential to render games at 120fps, which is notably higher than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive's 90Hz offering.

Combined with a powerful PS4 console and the OLED screen's high refresh rate, this PlayStation VR will offer amazingly smooth visuals. Although VR headset won’t be powered by the PS4, not by itself, anyway. Instead, PSVR owners will have to make some room for an additional box that will connect to the PS4 and provide most of the processing power for the virtual reality headset. The box will also provide a ‘standard’ output for the TV, giving your friends a good idea of what’s going on inside the headset, as if you were playing a normal PS4 game.

Take A Closer Look

While the Oculus Rift costs £499 and the HTC Vive costs £689, Sony's virtual reality offering costs considerably less at £349. Plus, the Rift and Vive require powerful PCs to run VR content while the PlayStation VR headset will be compatible with any of the 36 million PS4 consoles on the market. Global head of marketing and sales Jim Ryan has confirmed that all current PSVR demos, like those at E3 2016, are all powered by standard PS4s and not the upcoming PS4.5 'Neo'. He urges both prospective PSVR users and critics alike to go to one of the PSVR demoes and make up their own minds and not listen to rumors.

PlayStation VR allows users to play almost every standard PS4 game with PlayStation VR and before you ask, no, it won't turn the game into a VR game. Instead, it will offer users the opportunity to sit in a huge virtual cinema and play their games on the big screen. The PSVR system will come with three different screen size preferences small, medium and large. The large preset is the equivalent of sitting in front of a 226in screen, while the medium and small presets will immerse the user in a dark virtual space with a display in front of them. It is not just PS4 games that are compatible either, as PSVR users will also be able to watch TV shows and movies with streaming apps like Netflix. Essentially, you will have your own virtual private cinema for gaming and movies.

Grab The Amazing Deal

The PlayStation 4 system is easily able to track movement because of built-in accelerometers and LED side lights detectable by a connected PlayStation camera. This PlayStation Camera can track the PSVR headset up to 1,000 times per second, which should provide gamers with a beautifully seamless experience. It also allows users to turn their heads 360 degrees in-game, allowing gamers to look behind them when inevitably being chased by a weapon-wielding enemy. This is possible because of a sensors on the back of the headset, which lets the system know when you’re looking behind you.

Much like Valve and HTC's Vive, the PlayStation VR headset will track your location within a physical space, allowing you to walk around your virtual world. However while that sounds great, it's not as advanced as the high-end 5x5m Room Scale tracking system used by the Vive. In fact, while the PlayStation VR can track your movement, you can only move around three steps in any direction before you go out of range and lose tracking altogether.

This is because the tracking system relies on the PlayStation VR camera and as soon as you're out of view of said camera, you'll see a message pop up in front of you prompting you to go move back to where it can track you once again. Sony officially acknowledges the fact that the PlayStation VR will track your movement, but says that many of the games are intended for sit-down use so there won't be much need for movement tracking.

Enjoy Thrilling Experience Of In-built Accelerometers

With regards to controllers and accessories, the PlayStation VR will primarily use the Dual Shock 4 controller as it is a familiar controller for PS4 gamers. Using a DualShock 4 controller is not the only way to interact with the virtual world, though. Sony is also planning to utilize the PlayStation Move Batons, accessories from Sony’s earlier motion-control system from the days of the PlayStation 3 that many had written off. The Batons allow players to control both their characters and environments via gestures rather than traditional button presses, and looks to provide users with a more immersive and interactive experience than when using a Dual Shock 4 controller alone. The Dual Shock 4 controller and Move batons aren’t the only two ways to game with PlayStation VR – read on to find out about some of the other accessories Sony is developing for the platform.

This gaming giant also quietly announced the PS VR Aim controller, a new Move-esque controller designed specifically for use with VR sci-fi shooter Far point. Its design allows it to be used pushed into the shoulder like when using a rifle as well as being comfortable to hold when hip-firing. Despite looking simplistic, the PS VR Aim controller boasts the same buttons as a Dual Shock 4 controller. This includes two triggers, two bumpers, two analogue sticks, a D-Pad, Share and Options buttons, a button emulating the Touch Pad and of course, X, O, Triangle and Square buttons, providing gamers with a way to perform the same actions you’d normally perform in-game when using the Aim controller.

Sony has plans for sensor-clad gloves that could be used to track your hand movement in a virtual space. Sony's VR gloves can be used to measure not only position but movement and pressure too.

Here’s a list of current PS4 games that are PlayStation VR compatible, and in-development games expected to be compatible with

  • PlayStation VR: Atom Universe
  • Adrift
  • ARK: Survival Evolved
  • Among the Sleep
  • The Assembly
  • Battlezone
  • The Deep
  • Dreams; EVE: Valkyrie
  • Futuridium
  • Get Even
  • GNOG
  • Godling
  • Harmonix Music VR
  • Headmaster
  • Jurassic Encounter
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
  • Kitchen (demo)
  • Loading Human
  • The London Heist
  • Mind: Path to Talamus
  • Omega Agent
  • Paranormal Activity VR
  • The Playroom VR
  • Project CARS
  • Q.U.B.E.²
  • RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
  • Summer Lesson
  • Superhypercube
  • Surgeon Simulator
  • Synthesis Universe
  • Technolust; Trackmania Turbo
  • Vanguard V
  • VizionEck
  • War Thunder
  • Wayward Sky
  • World War Toons.

PS VR Controller Preview

For now it's an excellent, if not absolutely perfect, experience that will be fun. It might not be the best for long term use, but that's a decision we can visit again when the PlayStation VR comes out in October.

PlayStation VR Headset Package