This is the PlayStation VR, the first high-end Virtual Reality headset for consumers that might actually sell. You see, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require a high-end gaming PC. The PlayStation VR just needs a PlayStation 4, which millions of people already own. The PlayStation VR is certainly not cheap. It’s $500 for the launch bundle, which includes a PlayStation 4 camera, two motion move controllers, the headset and some demo games. If you have some of these accessories, great. You can pick up the headset for less but you’re still going to be spending about as much money as a brand new PlayStation 4. Though once again, it’s still considerably cheaper than an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive with all things considered. Best of all, it offers a very similar experience.
So to get inside the box, all we need to do is fold open the top of the box. There’s only one piece of tape holding this thing all together. We’ll see two boxes here: one large box that houses the headset and one smaller box that houses the motion controllers and games and cables. There are a ton of cables that you will need for this VR headset and in order to get the buttery smooth frame rate, you just simply need to be tethered to a wire (at least that’s the case right now). Hopefully these headsets will be wireless in the future.
Inside the first box, we’ll find a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds. It features five different worlds for you to step into—there’s The London Heist, Scavengers Odyssey, Ocean Descent, VR Luge, and Danger Ball. Then we have a PlayStation VR demo disc so this is pretty cool because you get to sample a bunch of different VR games and if you like them, you can buy the full games.
So let’s start looking at the accessories. We have a PlayStation Move Motion Controller with a glowing orb up top and front that triggers. There are two of these included on the box and part of me wonders if these controllers were leftovers from unsold PlayStation Move bundles. Either way, they’re great to have for Virtual Reality. Also in the box is a PlayStation Four-Depth camera that will track the headset and controllers. We have two USB 2.0 cables for charging and seeking the movement controllers. This is one of the reasons why I think the Move controllers could possibly be old. As you would think, they would feature a microUSB cable for charging kind of similar to the Dual Shock 4 controller. It’s just a little bit frustrating seeing two different cables here, both of which are actually outdated. The last accessory is a stand to help you mount the PlayStation Camera to the top of your TV. There’s a PlayStation VR branded cleaning cloth and an instruction manual for the PlayStation Camera and Move controllers.
Now we can unbox the grande box. The presentation here is really quite elegant as the white box folds open diagonally to reveal the bright blue box inside. We’ll see up and center is a Quick Start Guide. You may have noticed the numbers on the cables. That’s just to help the tech-illiterate set up the PlayStation VR. As I mentioned, there are a lot of cables. I’m not going to lie, I had a glance of the Quick Start Guide once or twice to make sure everything was set up properly but this big, bold Get Started Guide is really nice to have.
Below the guide is an AC power cable that will be used to power the VR module. There’s a microUSB cable to run from the VR module to the PlayStation 4. There’s a pair of earphones that actually sound pretty decent though they don’t fit my ears very well so I had to opt in for over-the-ear cans. We have an instruction manual for the PlayStation VR, another power cable for the VR module and the VR module itself that features a similar design to that of the PlayStation 4. If you look closer at the ports, we’ll see that there’s an HDMI port to run to your TV and an HDMI port to run to your PlayStation 4. There’s a microUSB port and a power port. So this box kind of acts as the middle man, the gateway to reality and Virtual Reality. On the front, there is a display port and an HDMI which will be where you connect your PlayStation VR.
Now you may have thought we’d be done with the cables but we’re not folks. There’s an HDMI cable included in the box here and essentially what is a long HDMI extension cord. The VR headset has a cord of its own that can be plugged into this cable to allow you to step back from your TV and PlayStation 4 and game from your couch or a comfortable chair for example.
Now we can get a glimpse of the PlayStation VR headset itself as we take it out of the bag. This thing looks very futuristic. It’s got a very unique design that is supposed to help counter balance the display as it features support on the top and back of your head. But the headset is very lightweight, you should be able to game with it for hours on end without getting too tired. I think your eyes might get tired and your arms might get tired from waving those control motions around but your head shouldn’t get too tired.
So this is what the PlayStation VR looks like when it’s all set up and with next to none cable management. I just want to show you that this thing is not wireless. Okay I’m done mentioning the cables now.
The Virtual Reality experience is actually quite good. The only other VR headset I’ve spent time with extensively is the Gear VR from Samsung and Oculus. So the graphics and display resolution didn’t really wow me upon first impressions when I first put on the PlayStation VR. It sports a 5.7-inch OLED display with a 1080p resolution. Content looks good and it’s certainly enjoyable but I think it could be better and it will be better in due time.
I had noticed a discrepancy between certain games. Some games looked great. They looked very high def. Other games looked like garbage, looks like Microsoft Paint. But what wowed me was the frame rate. I never experienced a dropped frame from the many hours I’ve used this headset. There were some occasional bugs here and there but nothing too obtrusive. Also the games and the experiences that go with it.
Using the motion controllers to pick up items with my virtual hands—that’s amazing. First person shooter games are pretty amazing like The London Heist and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. You get some 3D headphones on while playing Rush of Blood, that is a trip.
What amazes me is how we are here already. Just think of what Virtual Reality will be like in the next 10, 20, or 30+ years from now. With Moore’s Law in mind, it really makes you wonder if our tangible reality could be replicated to a T. But this is the PlayStation VR Launch Bundle. Because it is so new, it’s going to cost a considerable chunk of change. That’s $500 worth of change not including games.