It has been nearly three years since PSVR was initially launched back in 2016. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Sony’s main competitors launched earlier in the year making 2016 the year of virtual reality.
Having had the unit for over a year now I have a good idea of what it has to offer. But how does the PSVR hold up today and more importantly, is PSVR worth it?
Initially, the PSVR launched with a short supply of games and Sony did not spend much time promoting or advertising the headset.
The price was soon reduced and a handful of quality games were released which caused the popularity of the headset to boom.
Today, you can get the PSVR even cheaper, at a very competitive price on Amazon which has definitely increased the buzz around the PSVR community and made it competitive alongside its competition. It is worth noting that It is much cheaper to buy a bundle than each accessory individually.
Lets get into the details and see how the PSVR performs, is it worth the money?
PSVR – Design & Comfort
The PSVR has a 5.7” OLED screen with a resolution of 1,920 x 1080. This equates to around 960 x 1080 per eye. This is a single screen unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.
It supports full 360-degree vision, allowing you to turn around in games and see the world from a different perspective and renders at 120 frames per second.
If this is your first VR headset then words can’t describe what it feels like to put on the PSVR for the first time. It is one of the most memorable gaming experiences I have had. There is nothing to compare it to unless of course you have a Rift or Vive.
Unfortunately, I haven’t tried the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive which are meant to provide a clearer display but the PSVR display does the job and for a more affordable price.
There are a few issues I have with the display. Trying to read small text on the menus or on instructions in a game can be difficult. I can read it but I find myself squinting after long play sessions to see it clearly.
The system comes with full 3D audio and you are supplied with in-ear headphones. These are fine enough if audio isn’t a huge deal breaker for you but there is a headphone jack so you can easily use your own headphones to improve the sound and immersion.
As for communication, there is a built-in mic integrated within the headset which is a nice addition.
The headset consists of the main front OLED display and head strap with a rear dial at the back to adjust the tightness. There is a soft cushion at the front of the headset which you place onto your forehead.
A small button sits underneath the base of the OLED display to move the display backwards and forwards to make it easier to pull it over your eyes.
The camera is sold separately unless you get it in a bundle which is annoying as it is required for the PSVR to function. Bundle prices provide more value for money since they often come with VR Worlds which is worth the extra cost (more on that later).
The camera has a small mount that you use to prop it up. Initially, it sat at the base of my TV but the higher the camera the better the experience. It tracks you better if it is higher and looking down on you.
Some users over on the subreddit /r/PSVR recommend using a camera tripod or light stand (like this) to prop the camera up even higher. Many have reported better tracking results.
You can also use 3M strips to stick the camera to the wall behind your TV. Then tilt the camera down at a slight angle to get the best tracking possible.
PSVR Move Controllers
The PSVR isn’t the same if you only play with a DualShock controller. The move controllers bring it to life and add to the immersion. From holding two handguns to shooting a bow and arrow you can’t be playing virtual reality without them.
Sometimes the tracking of the controllers can be a little off but it is easily fixed. There isn’t the same tracking responsiveness as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive but for the price this is expected.
I recommend picking up the move controllers before the aim controller as they are much more versatile. They are used in a lot more games so you definitely get your moneys worth a lot more than the aim controller.
If you don’t buy the move controllers you can still use the dualshock controller but you would be missing out some amazing experiences on some of the best games. Im looking at you Superhot…
PSVR Aim Controller
This is where the PSVR really excels. The aim controller is everything most gamers dream of. Holding a weapon in a virtual reality world and spraying down spiders and zombies does not compare to your traditional flat screen gaming.
You can do everything from the aim controller which is great because it saves you having to pick up the DualShock to navigate menus. It takes some getting used to since you can’t see where the buttons are because you have a huge headset on!
Its like watching someone pick up a DualShock that doesn’t play games.
That might sound odd but trust me, you will understand when you pick it up for the first time.
With the addition of more games being released that are compatible with the aim controller, there are so many experiences still to try and look forward to.
The aim controller is pricey and often difficult to get your hands on due to its popularity but it’s another accessory worth picking up. As more games become available the controller will only get better.
Most people are worried about how the aim controller tracks. Overall I have a better experience tracking with the aim controller compared to the move controllers. Hopefully Sony will soon release a new version of the move controllers to improve the tracking.
Overall the aim controller is a fantastic addition and brings a new level of immersion for virtual reality gaming. If you can spare the extra money then its a great addition. You can often get them pretty cheap over on eBay too.
How is the Tracking?
It is no secret that the PSVR can’t meet the same tracking quality you find with the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. But that isn’t to say the PSVR can’t hold its own.
Occasionally you might notice ‘PSVR drift’ which is when the image you see is not centered with the camera. This can cause disorientation and impact your immersion from the game. Luckily, it is easily fixed by holding the options button on the DualShock, move controller or aim controller.
Before pressing the option button you should be facing the camera straight on so that it centres you and adjusts your screen correctly.
PSVR drift is a problem but there are steps you can take to reduce its effect.
- Ensure the camera is high and looking down towards you or at least head height
- Set the headset flat on the floor for 10-15 seconds
- Play in a well-lit room but not too bright since the camera needs to be able to see the light sensors on the headset
- Avoid reflective surfaces
The tracking on the PSVR is great and though it may detract you from the game now and again it is easily fixed and its not long before you are immersed in your 3D world again.
Some have had great success by changing the colour of lighting they have in the room they play in. A green light contrasts against the blue of the headset which can improve the tracking. Other people have had success with red and harsh yellow.
If you have Philips Hue lights then you are at an advantage because you can test out different colours until you find the best one.
The Must Have PSVR Games
When the PSVR was initially released back in 2016 it wasn’t worth picking up because of the limited choice in games. Two years on and the library of games has dramatically increased with even big names backing the tech such as Bethesda. Yes I know, Skyrim was released on another platform, next it will likely be released on mobile…. Bethesda please stop.
Anyway, there is a wide range of games covering most genres so you are sure to find something up your street. The games are reasonably priced (mostly) although the PSVR community over on Reddit is great at suggesting titles that are worth the money and are sure to steer you away from the money grabbers.
Here is my list of the best PSVR games to get you started.
Released initially on PC, Superhot has you playing the role of a gunman/plate thrower/ninja/John Wick wannabe. This game was made for VR. You are dropped into a room with bad guys and it is up to you to kill them.
The trick is, the game is played as a freeze frame. Time stops unless you move whereby moving by the smallest amount causes the bad guys to move too. Some of them may be close to weapons, some might be right next to you. Your movement and choices have to be correct and accurate otherwise they will kill you first.
Throwing a bottle off a man’s face in one hand while spraying an Uzi into another’s chest isn’t something you can experience anywhere else, legally. Slow-mo dodging bullets as if you were Neo doesn’t get old. This game alone makes the PSVR worth it.
The first real shooter in VR made even better by the fact that its designed with the aim controller in mind. You are dropped in space with an arsenal of weapons at your disposal. Its like you are Matt Damon in The Martian except without the potato farm.
There is full locomotive controls meaning you move around freely with the analog stick, it isn’t teleportation movement that is often seen in other PSVR titles.
Beautifully scaled and graphically brilliant, Farpoint is one of the best games you can get on PSVR so far.
#3 VR Worlds
Some may criticise me for having this here but VR worlds is special since it was my first experience with VR which is hard to forget. There are various games ranging from deep sea dives to being the frontman for a London heist. It is the perfect introduction to VR and that is why it is recommended here.
By the end of the week I had everyone over to try the deep sea dive in VR worlds and they all had the same reaction, in pure awe of what they were seeing. I was just as excited to play the games as I was to see other people try it for the first time.
There is a huge library of games for all to enjoy on PSVR. Some might be worth avoiding but in amongst the overpriced rubbish are some gems that can’t go unmissed.
The controls take some getting used to but there is such a wide range of weapons and you get to actually draw a bow when you use a bow and arrow. Whats not to like?
PSVR drift can ruin the immersion here though if you have problems with tracking. So i’d recommend that you have proper lighting.
The resolution in game isn’t 1080p obviously so initially it is a little jarring seeing the obvious pixels. However, your eyes soon adjust and you will slowly find yourself getting more and more immersed in the world.
The game is a must have if you own the PSVR and you can find it much cheaper now than before.
Growing Your VR Legs
You might have heard the term before but ‘VR legs’ is a term created in the VR community to describe someone that is experienced with the feelings and motion of playing in VR. What does that mean?
If you have never used a VR headset before it can be overwhelming at first, especially if you are playing a game that involves a lot of motion. You may experience VR motion sickness due to the feeling of disorientation.
Some people grow their VR legs but still experience some nausea over long play sessions. It depends on the person and some people are affected more than others.
In most cases, you will grow out of feeling nauseous as your body and mind become accustomed to the sensation of VR, which is when you can say you have grown your VR legs.
On the Reddit PSVR community they often recommend certain games to players that are new that don’t require significant VR legs. VR Worlds is commonly recommended as it is a great introduction as discussed previously.
Farpoint, although it is a fantastic game it is not a game to play the first time you press the power button. Trust me, I know from experience.
I remember when I finally got my hands on Farpoint and the aim controller. I flicked the on switch, put on the headset and turned on my new aim controller ready to play.
The opening scene was truly amazing, it wasn’t like any of the games I had played previously. The moment the scene ended and I actually got control of my character I pressed forward and realised it was locomotive movement.
The feeling of disorientation was overwhelming yet funny. I nearly fell over because my brain was so confused. It thought I was moving yet my feet were standing still. It couldn’t piece it all together.
I felt incredibly off-balanced to the point where I was drilling my feet into the ground. Turning around to shoot was indescribable. Nothing prepares you for VR until you put on that headset and try it.
After my second session, my brain seemed to click and I was doing 180’s and shotgunning spiders and throwing grenades like no business. It just takes a little time for your brain and body to understand what the hell is going on, it is surreal.
But this is what VR is all about. It is a completely new experience that even your mind and body don’t fully grasp until you give it some time. Once those legs have grown though, there is no turning back – the addiction sets in.
Can I Play PSVR on PC?
A common question asked about the PSVR is whether or not it is compatible with PC and whether you can use it to play games on the PC.
The answer is yes! Through modding and third-party software, you can play SteamVR games, watch movies and more using the PSVR. Obviously, this is not what the headset was designed for so it requires a little setup.
Trinus is a third party software that allows you to use the PSVR with your PC. There is a full setup guide over at Trinus virtual reality if you are interested. It also allows you to experience VR using your smartphone which is a great way to test out VR in its simplest form.
However, as obvious as it is, PSVR was designed for the PlayStation and that is where you will experience the real essence of virtual reality.
Final Thoughts – Is PSVR Worth It?
Virtual reality is opening the doors to a new kind of gaming. Although it may be in its early stages it provides all the experiences you could hope for to make it worth the price. The PSVR is a great introduction to VR.
If you don’t have a high-end gaming PC then the PSVR is a solid investment. With the expanding library of games being released since release and the drop in price the PSVR is worth it and is definitely here to stay.
There are also some great deals on bundles over at Amazon. I would recommend a bundle as I ended up buying each of my accessories separate which was much more expensive.