Virtual Reality (VR) is a hot topic at the moment. Is VR the future of gaming or merely a costly flop? After owning and using my PSVR for a week, I think it’s ultimately neither and I’ll try to explain why…
Let’s start with my experience of the PSVR headset itself. It’s incredibly comfortable. Sony has done a great job of distributing the weight of the headset so it isn’t a burden on you. It feels sturdy and is easy to take on and off. The setup is also remarkably simple, even with the high number of cables, as your PS4 walks you through the setup very nicely. The screen, while lower in resolution compared to its competitors, is crisp enough to give a good sense of ‘presence’ (the feeling you are in a virtual world). Sony has also used a unique screen that manages to almost remove the screen door effect (being able to see between the pixels), which is fantastic. Finally comes the tracking of both the headset and the Move and DualShock controllers. This is an area in which has received a few complaints from certain people for causing issues and not working as intended. I, however, have not experienced these issues and would put them down to the PSVR not necessarily playing well in all setups. For the most part though it seems that PSVR is working well and this is welcome news for a first generation peripheral.
It’s not all about the headset though and PSVR makes a convincing argument for itself in its launch lineup of games and ‘experiences’. My favourite experience with PSVR to date is still The London Heist, a 45-minute collection of interactive scenes that tell the story of a heist gone wrong in the seedy underbelly of London. Interacting with objects using the dual move controllers, along with the crisp and clear visuals, totally immersed me in the experience. I found myself ducking my head to avoid incoming fire and aiming and reloading intuitively using the move controllers. The PSVR had me convinced I was in a high speed chase or being interrogated by a British gangster, and it was incredible. The London Heist wasn’t alone in this respect either with Driveclub VR and Hustle Kings VR being other favourites of mine for plunging you into that environment.
Ultimately though while these experiences are all excellent and unique I think it will be a very long time before VR takes over mainstream gaming, if it ever does. I cant see people playing Call Of Duty VR or Fifa VR anytime soon. This doesn’t matter to me though because PSVR is so much more than just a gaming peripheral its a device that can transport you anywhere while you sit on your sofa and this has the potential to transform all media. Alummette was the first time I realised this. Allumette is a short 10 minute VR movie that tells the story of a mother and child visiting a city in the clouds and it stood out to me because Allumette used PSVR to put you in this world with the characters. In PSVR you no longer just watched Allumette you were in Alummette and for me this is an exciting distinction.
Rather than being the future of gaming then PSVR is its own platform and while yes certain games (Racers, Flight Sims etc.) will lend themselves to naturally PSVR this isnt all PSVR has up its sleeve. PSVR is a very capable headset with a bright future and I cant wait to experience that future.