The HTC Vive followed suit with backing from Valve. And for a few months, the two PC-oriented VR headsets locked horns.
Now, a third party has arrived: PlayStation VR, the first and only console-oriented VR headset out in the market. The PlayStation VR, or simply ‘PS VR’, was launched last October 13 and was greeted with very positive reviews. Which is right on time for the holiday season.
But should you buy the PlayStation VR within the next two months? Or wait for 2017 to roll around first?
Why you should buy the PlayStation VR
PlayStation VR is the cheapest
Sony’s entry in the VR world is cheaper than both the Rift and the Vive, so at least you don’t have to worry too much about overloading your budget. Your costs will be even lower if you already own a PS4, which the PS VR uses as its brain.
As a standalone, the PS VR is priced at see current price. But you also need to separately buy the PlayStation Camera. Plus, it’s recommended to also buy the PlayStation Move controllers for a more immersive experience. So the “real” price sits between $500-600, depending on how much you spent on those two peripherals. Alternatively, Sony offers a bundle that includes all three for see current price.
However, if you don’t own a PS4 console, it will cost you another couple hundred dollars for the PS4 Slim or a bit more for the upcoming PS4 Pro. Still, the overall costs will be lower than the full Rift or Vive setup, which requires an extremely beefed up PC.
PlayStation VR has a great game lineup
Or at least the most number of games for you to choose from. Which is quite surprising considering it’s the newbie of the three big-name VR headsets. Sony has said that the PS VR will have at least 50 games under its belt by the end of the year.
As for upcoming games next year? Let’s do a short round-up of the most notable ones: Resident Evil 7: Biohazard, Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR, Gran Turismo Sport, Tekken 7, Ace Combat 7, and Final Fantasy XV. The games department is undoubtedly the area where the PS VR lords over the Rift and Vive, capable of providing a more diverse experience from game to game.
The PlayStation VR is very comfortable
First off, the PS VR doesn’t have cheap-looking Velcro straps. Instead, it has a sturdy plastic headband that can be easily adjusted with a button at the back. It’s also very comfortable even if you wear glasses, thanks to the rubber-like material that molds around your face and nose.
Design-wise, the PS VR looks infinitely cooler than the Rift and Vive combined, mostly thanks to the futuristic-looking blue lights. Which, by the way, are more than just for display. The lights help the PlayStation Camera in tracking your head movement.
And speaking of movement, the PS VR does not require a lot of room for you to operate in. Actually, a lot of the currently available games don’t require you to stand at all. Very convenient if you’re the epitome of a lazy bum.
Why you should buy the PlayStation VR later
PlayStation VR is currently the “Weakest” VR headset
In terms of hardware power, that is. The PS VR has a 5.7-inch 1080p display, which is lower than the 2,160 x 1,200 resolution of the Rift and Vive. Its 100 degrees field of view is also smaller than the 110 degrees boasted by its rivals. The good news is that the PS VR has a refresh rate of 120Hz, which is 30 more than its competition.
But if you’re all about pixels, which is understandable considering the screen is directly shoved into your eyes, then it’s better for you to hold off until Sony rolls out an upgrade with even higher resolution. Which probably won’t be around until at least year.
Also, it uses a console as its base and that immediately translates to a relatively less immersive gaming experience compared to a PC-powered VR headset. Perhaps one of the reasons Sony developed the PS4 Pro was to circumvent this deficiency. The “mid-generation” console has twice the computing power of the regular PS4.
PSVR is energy-inefficient
Obviously, using a VR headset as your medium for gaming requires a lot of electricity. The PS VR requires the PS4 to be plugged in, too (duh). However, there’s one little quirk to the PS VR that can be quite annoying: the Processing Unit, which acts as the bridge between the PS VR and PS4. The Processing Unit needs to be plugged in to a power supply as well. But it’s not totally synched with the PS4 upon power-down.
The Processing Unit will enter a sort of Sleep Mode when the PS4 is turned off. And that means it’s still draining electricity. Yes, the amount isn’t really that significant, but it might piss you off having to constantly plug and unplug the Processing Unit. Like above, you can opt to wait for Sony to make the PS VR more efficient in terms of running its peripherals.
The headset is very bulky
Although the design is much better than the Rift and Vive, the PS VR is still very bulky which affects its portability if you’re constantly on the move. But more importantly, its bulky frame makes it hard for typical gaming headphones to comfortably fit on your head. This leaves you with earphones most of the time for audio, which doesn’t match your visual experience. It’s like watching a movie in a theater but with the Dolby Surround Sound missing.
Sony has a history with slimming down their tech, recently evidenced by the arrival of the PS4 Slim. So it’s not far-off to assume that they’ll do the same with the PS VR. Either you wait for that or you get used to earphones.
Despite its lower hardware power compared to the Rift and Vive, the PS VR provides a great VR experience for its relatively low price. The number of games currently available for you to dive into is a big plus. If Sony launched it with very few games, even the most loyal PS4 fans would be hard-pressed to buy it.
However, as immersive the experience is, the PS VR is being held back by the limits of the PS4. The PS4 Pro isn’t out yet, so we don’t know how things will look like with a more powerful console.
Let’s put it this way: If you already have a PS4, consider upgrading to the PS4 Pro first. Once you decide on that, wait for the PS4 Pro to actually arrive and stalk the internet for every review you can get your hands on. If the PS4 Pro turns out to be similarly incapable of bringing out the full potential of the PS VR, then hold off on buying it. Wait until Sony makes adjustments to either the PS VR or the PS4 Pro (or both).
But if the PS4 Pro turns out to be heaven-sent for the PS VR, then by all means buy it, even at the expense of several of your beloved piggy banks.
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