The VRE team have just taken delivery of the Sony VR headset and we thought we would give you our first impressions.
With Sony joining the VR market alongside Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, it will be interesting to see what happens now there is an additional player in the VR sector. Will it further push VR popularity, or underwhelm and turn people off VR who might have been blown away by the HTC Vive experience had they tried it first?
First impressions: it’s a compact box, everything is nicely packaged and feels like a quality set up as you would expect from Sony.
This was a breeze. Simply plug in the new extra processing box to your PS4, and then plug in the headset into the extra box and you are nearly ready to go. It’s that simple. The extra box also has a pass through allowing your friends to see what you are viewing with the headset straight on the big screen.
You have to set up the Sony Camera too, and ensure your head is centred on it. Once done you can insert your selected VR game and away you go.
We felt this was the most comfortable of the three headsets. Sony has done a very good job of the ergonomics, and we feel it would be the most comfortable over long periods of time. It is more comfortable than the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, however neither of those are terrible.
There is more ambient light around the Sony VR headset from the sides and the bottom of the HMD. But actually once playing, this was not noticeable at all. This is potentially due to the brightness of the Sony VR screen; it’s quite bright.
Sony calls the visor and it can be extended easily to suit different head shapes. There is also a catch on the back of the headset that allows it to be tightened securely on the head.
Playing the Games
Sony is currently working on a broad range of games due to be released for Christmas. The most anticipated of these will be the VR version of the Star Wars Battlefront update with its x wing missions in space. This looks pretty amazing in the demos we have seen.
We tried Battlezone first as it is an old favourite of the VRE team having played it in arcades many years ago. It was an impressive shooter. Starting out in an enclosed cabin it sets the scene nicely and as an immersive tank shooter you really do feel like you are in a tank. Looking around the cabin you get the feeling this game has been nicely made. One thing we noticed though when playing it was we didn’t really take advantage of looking around. Instead we tended to focus on what was in front of us, then turning the tank to look around. We wondered, without the room scale you get with the HTC Vive, whether this is a natural result of sitting down playing. Basically where effectively you are treating VR as just another big screen and not looking around too much.
We tried Eve Valkyrie next and this was more satisfying. Being in a 3D space as a shooter, suddenly VR makes a lot more sense. We piloted our ship around the twists and turns of larger ships, and as we were, looked around our horizon, marvelling at what a good job Sony has made of this.
We then tried Driveclub VR; this was a little underwhelming as we find Project Cars on the HTC Vive a much more accomplished driving SIM. We found Driveclub VR to be a little bit blurry, especially the backgrounds. This may be due to the limited processing power of the PS4. To be honest, they have done an extremely good job optimising all the games that we have played. Obviously all the Sony developers working on this had some very clear parameters for ensuring that the games were fully optimised for this console.
We liked the PSVR and think it will do well once some of the other titles are released in the build up to Christmas. Some of the games take more advantage of the VR functionality like Eve Valkyrie. Time will tell if the game developers have really made the most of VR, or have released something that looks great but may not add that much once it has been played a few hours. Starwars Battlefront– we are looking at you to prove us wrong! We also wonder if having used the HTC Vive if you get those jaw dropping moments when you first experience room scale. We think the PSVR will prove a challenge to the Oculus Rift. It will offer a similar experience, but easier set up and arguably better games once the rest of the Sony catalogue is released. However, for that fully immersive authentic virtual reality experience, we still recommend the HTC vive all the way.
VRE are now offering the Sony Playstation VR (PSVR) for hire/rent and should you have any questions regarding this device please feel free to ask the VRE Team.