With virtual reality headset brands aiming to be a Holiday season must-have, many of the high-end systems, like the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, still are out of reach both economically and ergonomically for the average household. PlayStation VR seeks to offer an intermediary step between accessible tech and a fully immersive, futuristic gaming experience when it releases on October 13.

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PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR and required accessories

Designed to work with a console you likely have in your living room already, the PlayStation 4, this VR system marks one of the more commercially viable virtual reality products on the market, with Sony set to bring many of its biggest gaming titles into the VR fold. The likelihood of owning a PS4 also means less of a hassle when trying to incorporate virtual reality into everyday life. Packaged with its own special processing box, which hooks into the back of the console, the system also requires a PlayStation Camera and a pair of Move remotes in order to effectively track the user; these are accessories already on the market, but are not included when purchasing the headset. Set-up, while more complex then just plugging a console into a wall, requires no third-party software, with the PS4 guiding you through the straightforward installation process.

What’s immediately different about Playstation VR is it’s design. Unlike the Rift or Vive, which attach over the eyes like a mask and put uncomfortable pressure on the face, PlayStation’s headset has a strap which is weighted around the back of the head, evenly distributing the stress. Additional design features include an inline remote with power button, volume control, and a built-in microphone toggle midway down the cable. The display touts OLED technology, the standard in crisp images, but its single panel makes for a slightly grainier image (1080 x  960 pixels-per-eye) compared to more high-end VR headsets (1080 x  1200 pixels-per-eye), according to a recent Verge review.


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The incorporation with the 2010 PlayStation Move controllers is said to be lacking in truly great sensitivity or consistency, and the option to use a dual shock controller with the system still makes operation somewhat awkward. With the promise of thirty new launch titles from Sony, there are games in the works to give the headset a run for its money, from shooters, to gesture-based RPG games. However, by tying the VR headset into the standard interface of the PS4, don’t expect Sony to provide the ultimate futuristic experience.

If you have the camera and Move controllers, PlayStation VR kit will run $399. It’s a relatively cheap price, compared to the near $800 Vive. While higher-end models offer a more speculative taste of what’s to come, a proof-of-concept, PlayStation VR represents more an accessible beta-program, one that opens the door for VR gaming in a casual environment.

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