Before we jump into our in-depth review of the top console headset on the market, it is important to know that PlayStation has a huge deal going on, and the deals will only continue to roll through Black Friday and the holiday seasons. The PlayStation VR bundle is always a hot topic, and we will break down the best deals throughout the season right here.
PlayStation VR Bundle
Right now, the deal is the best its ever been for the PlayStation VR bundle. For only $200, you can buy the full bundle plus five bonus games. It is important to know that you will not be getting the PlayStation Move controllers (the controllers that work with this VR HMD) with this certain bundle, but they are easy to find and purchase.
Here is what you will be finding in this months bundle:
- PSVR headset – includes all necessary cables
- PlayStation Camera – required for PSVR headset tracking
- Five VR games: Astrobot Rescue Mission, Resident Evil 7 biohazard, Skyrim VR, PlayStation Worlds, Everybody’s Golf VR
Those 5 games are arguably the most popular for PSVR players, and if no the most popular by the numbers, definitely some of the most fun we have ever played. This bundle is being categorized as a Black Friday deal right now, but we have already seen this steal in some retail stores. You can expect many online and big-time retailers to adopt the bundle from Sony as purchases are starting to pick up.
PlayStation VR – Everything You Need To Know About The Top Console HMD
When the PSVR came out late 2016, the company already had some ground to make up. The Oculus Rift had already been out for six months, and the HTC Vive had been out for a year. Even at the launch of these products, the PlayStation installment of virtual reality was ranked last by everyone. When trying to compete with PC virtual reality headsets, console headsets will not prosper.
As the calendar year came to an end, PlayStation saw a jump in sales during the holiday season, and those numbers stuck. The ease of the setup mixed with the simplicity of connecting the headset with your already functioning PlayStation was too good of an opportunity for most console gamers to pass up. Most people are either console gamers or PC gamers, and the ladder already had their golden headsets with the Vive and Rift. The console gamers were still waiting for their headset, and PSVR came through.
What is PSVR?
PSVR is PlayStation’s first edition of the companies virtual reality headset. This headset works with the existing PlayStation 4 and requires the console to use the headset. The PlayStation headset was the first VR headset to be compatible with a gaming console, and has opened the door for many companies to do the same.
Because the console will do all of the hard work of running and processing the game, the PSVR headset only needs to be able to make the game a virtual scene, and put that in front of your eyes. The camera that is needed to track the headset is connected to the console as well, which makes the job of the headset itself even easier.
PlayStation is widely viewed as the third-best virtual reality company for gaming, as they have a wide selection of games that can be processed at a high level. After fixing a few bugs after release, PSVR has been one of the most reliable virtual headsets you buy. PlayStation has a strong history of improving off of their good ideas, and this headset is looking to be revamped in the near future.
Is there a new PS4 VR coming out?
PlayStation has already hinted at what the PS5 will feature, and has also made it clear that they are planning to improve off of the original PSVR. The virtual reality headset that is compatible right now with the PlayStation 4 is going to be the only headset that is released with the console. The company is expected to wait until the release of the PS5 to revamp their popular HMD.
Although the launch of the PS5 is anticipated to be over a year away (November 2020), PlayStation is keeping the hardware of the headset they are selling now the same as it has been for the last 3 years. Although avid VR consumers are impatiently waiting for the new model to release, it looks like we will have to wait for quite some time before we get an upgrade from our PlayStation virtual reality.
We know that the PS5 will be backward compatible with all PS4 games, so we are assuming that the PSVR first generation will be playable on the PS5. Although we are unofficially saying this, we know that this would be a monumental step for this company. Making new hardware that is able to function with the only hardware is something that will keep Sony relevant for years to come.
Is PSVR good?
This question is pretty open-ended, but the answer will generally be the same from any one of the users. Yes, the PlayStation VR headset is good. The games are already great and don’t take up much storage, the price is cheap while not taking away from the performance and quality, and it doesn’t take long to set up or takedown. Along will all of these great features, we see multiple exclusive games on the PSVR head-mounted display that you can’t find anywhere else. The headset also has some downfalls, but the pros are definitely outweighing the cons when it comes to Sony’s headset.
When evaluating a headset, there are a few things to look at that make up the whole experience. Before you go out and buy this headset, you will need to know what you’re getting yourself in to. Let’s start by breaking down software of this headset.
PlayStation VR: What is it like inside?
The PSVR headset is similar to the experience while playing on the console. The home layout is the same inside and out of the headset. The feel is nearly the same, albeit you are in virtual reality. The game resolution can suffer at times, but they function nearly the same as they would on the TV when using the PS4. Many virtual reality companies have exclusive software that they will put inside of their headsets, but Sony didn’t take that route while making their headset.
The software used while the headset is on is coming straight from the console itself, so there won’t be much variety while using the headset, other than the app and game you choose to run. You can expect a minor change when the PS5 comes out, but as history tells, PlayStation won’t be mixing anything up too much.
When wondering what this headset is like inside, just imagine yourself sitting really close to the TV while finding a game to play on your console while holding two wand-type controllers. Although there are some slight differences while wearing a headset, you can expect the home screen and intro to games (especially games that are compatible with and without the headset) to be mostly the same. The PSVR headset is designed for both comfort on the head as well as comfort navigating the software that is in front of you.
The resolution and pixel count inside of this headset is great, although we know there’s much more to forming a good picture in VR. The screen is a 5.7-inch OLED display that features a 1920×1080 resolution. With a field of view that is a hair below average at 100°, PlayStation makes up for it by a refresh rate at a constant 120Hz, and latency always below 18ms. This means that the constant need to throw-up while in VR will be heavily diminished while using this headset compared to others. You will appreciate each moment that you aren’t sick inside of the adventure of PlayStation’s VR worlds.
The PSVR device itself is one of the most attractive and well-rounded headsets you can buy today. It drastically removes the box-on-forehead look that has plagued VR hardware for some time, and replaces it with a futuristic band of goodness that goes around your head. The headset comes in one color, and that is white. While most virtual HMD’s come in black, Sony knows how to stand out.
The fit of the headset is something that stands out a little more than anything else when it comes to the hardware of the PSVR headset. With a halo-like band that wraps around the head and a knob to manually adjust the size, it is hard to go wrong. The fit does lack a strap that goes on top of the head, but the placement of the band around the head makes up for it. The band will be placed slightly above the ears as it goes from the forehead to the top of the neck, rather than parallel with the floor.
Off of first glance, you may think it will take a strain on your forehead and neck, although that is not the case. PlayStation did a fantastic job of trying this headset on multiple sizes of heads before finalizing any hardware decisions.
To keep the outside world from distracting you while you are losing yourself in the virtual worlds of Resident Evil or London Heist, Sony put a rubber seal on the edge of the headset to block out any light coming from the sides. Although it does its job fairly well, the gap between the nose and the headset lets light bleed badly inside the headset. Although you can’t expect any headset to be perfect, this is something that is a sore spot on the hardware of the headset, especially because of the simplicity of the mistake. Although this isn’t any sort of dealbreaker, the light bleed is something that easily could’ve been avoided. In a low-lit room, the problem will become minimal, but that will impact the tracking of the headset. There is no perfect way to eliminate this problem.
The headset is not wireless, as it will always be tethered to your console while it is on. Although there have been many people try to make adapters to make this headset wireless, the smartest move will be to leave this headset wired to your PS4. There is no power button, so you will have to take the plug out of the PlayStation console to turn the headset off. That is one of the downsides of a wired headset.
Between your headset and the console, you’ll find the processor unit that is shipped with PSVR. Sony has made it very clear what this unit is not responsible for the graphics processing and the unit is for Cinematic Mode, 3D Audio assistance, Social Screen TV output, and HDMI cable management. The processor won’t get in the way and when you put the headset on, everything else disappears anyway. The processing unit is small enough to fit inside of your hand, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a home for it next to your console.
If you have dabbled in virtual reality before, you know that controllers can either make or break a game. PlayStation knows that, and game developers know that as well. Something unique about the PlayStation of VR is the customizable controls. Some games will be better played with PlayStation Move Controllers, some with the PSVR Aim Controllers, and some were humbled and stuck with the handheld DualShock Controller on this platform for their VR game.
The PlayStation Motion controls made their first appearance with the PS3 when it had some Wii-like similarities and games. They didn’t make a lasting impression, as they disappeared quickly and the games that used them went missing just as quickly. Now in 2019, the PlayStation Motion Controllers are the best option for PSVR. There is no haptic feedback When you purchase the camera for additional tracking, the move controllers work even better, making your experience playing any video game much more immersive.
The PS controller for the headset is wireless (as most are) and the headset can track them without the additional camera, although it is beneficial to invest in better tracking. The full experience of this headset will most certainly be missed out if you neglect the external tracking hardware.
PSVR Cinematic Mode
The Cinematic Mode on the PSVR is one of the headset’s best features. This allows you to view PS4 content inside of your headset on a virtual screen that is up to 226 inches. This is a great feature as it can watch movies and play games that aren’t made for virtual reality. Anything that you would get on your PS4 through your TV screen, you are able to get inside of your headset through this mode.
The setup is as simple as plugging your headset into the console, and there are three different sizes to view your display inside of your headset.
Small: the same as 117 inched from 6-10 feet away from the screen.
Medium: the same as 163 inches from 6-10 feet away from the screen.
Large: the same as 226 inches from 6-10 feet away from the screen.
This is a great feature PlayStation included on this headset, making it a much more versatile headset while still functioning virtual tasks. The Cinematic Mode can be used without a television as well, making this feature even more useful and condenses space very well.
Is PS4 Pro required for VR?
In short, no. Any PS4 can run the systems virtual reality system through it. The Pro will run the virtual reality headsets just the same as the Slim versions of the console. The graphics will be the same, thanks to the processing unit that will come with your headset. The PlayStation will be more responsible for providing the games and experiences, rather than processing the important virtual content.
To answer the question that is on everyone’s mind, yes you can access the Cinematic Mode regardless of the console that you choose to use your PSVR on.
PSVR VS Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift (and Rift S) and PSVR are very similar, but there are some clear advantages for both headsets. Both are required to be tethered to your PC or console, although the Rift has a wireless adapter for $300. PSVR generally has more polished games, but the full game library for the Rift is much deeper. The PSVR graphics are a bit better than the Rift, but the Rift S edges both of them out slightly. If you have a great gaming PC then going with the Rift or Rift S should be the obvious choice. If you have a PS4, the PSVR headset is perfect. But what if you have both? We have answers.
If the discussion is the first Rift or the PSVR, let us be clear with the answer. Get the PSVR. If you are indecisive between a newer model of the Rift or Rift S and also have a PS4, this is when it gets tricky. If you are looking for a new and fun way to play video games, you should opt for the PSVR headset. If you are curious about the abilities of virtual reality and are even maybe looking to develop inside of VR, you are going to need a PC headset that has multiple purposes that aren’t gaming.
The Rift S has the ability to grow with you and to continually get software updates. Although the PSVR will get updates, the Rift S is continually getting upgraded to keep up with the PC VR competition. The PSVR isn’t doing that, simply because they are the only console headset on the market right now.
The answer to your question will come down to your needs and wants of your VR headset. For strictly gaming with your console in a virtual space, get the PlayStation VR headset. If you are needing an all-around good virtual reality headset, the Rift S is going to be your answer.
Verdict: Is PSVR worth it?
Coming in at a price point of $249.99 for the bundle, the PSVR is still a cheaper alternative than the Oculus virtual reality headsets or the HTC virtual headsets, which the PSVR most emulates. The PlayStation is right there is quality and experience with those companies, so buying the PlayStation headset is a fantastic choice. The headset is well worth the price you will pay for it, especially since the big company models just went back up in price for the time being.
If you were wanting to get into virtual reality before PlayStation made their model, it would be a multi-thousand dollar hobby. Many people are not in a position to pay $5,000 for a gaming PC and then an extra $600 for a reliable headset. When the PS4 started supporting virtual reality, it was groundbreaking. The console is only be priced at $300 and you can find the headset at a much cheaper price. Not only did Sony find an affordable solution back in 2016, but they still have maintained their popularity in 2019 with standalone headsets being the norm. This headset is still at the top of the market for a reason, and PSVR won’t be going away any time soon.
You will need to invest in a PlayStation camera that is $49.99 for the best virtual experience you can have, but if you are looking for a fully immersive experience, the camera is a must buy. It is an external tracker you will not want to miss out on.
The controllers don’t come with the headset, but they are also a necessary purchase if you’re wanting to experience the true full form of PSVR. The games that incorporate the motion controls are something you will not want to miss out. If you are looking for a new headset that is both affordable and something that you have plenty of titles to choose from, the PlayStation version of virtual reality is a great purchase.