2016 is rapidly turning into the year of VR and tonight the third big contender laid out their plan. Sony has in some ways been the company with the best chance of getting VR into the mainstream. Their Project Morpheus has been running in different forms since 2010 but last year re-branded as PlayStation VR became an official product that was expected to come out this year.
The headset is designed to work with the PS4 and Vita which gives it a huge advantage – a PS4 is £285 on Amazon but a PC to run a VR headset runs at at least £1300 and that’s even before you factor in the cost of the headset.
The key questions were when would it come out and how much would it be? The consensus seemed to be around £400 or $500 – any more than that was deemed to be a non starter and there was a strong argument it would be less.
The PS4 has so far sold 30 million units which is a large potential install base and there are over 230 sets of developers working on titles to run on it.
Sony was able to trot out a long list of launch titles including Rigs, Headmaster Psychonaughts, World War Toons, Wayward Sky, Eve Valkyrie, Robinson. Playroom VR, Rush of Blood, PlayStation VR Worlds, Job Simulator, Eagle Flight, Harmonix Music VR, Megaton Rainfall, Super Hyper Cube, Thumper, 100 Ft Robot Golf and around 40 others at launch. The system will aso let you play other PS4 games in a cinema mode.
The hardware got a confined shipping specification – a 1920×1080 display split across both eyes with a 5.7″ OLED display. It has 120Hz and 90Hz display modes and an approximate 100 degree Field of view and a latency of less than 18ms. Its controlled via the Dual Shock 4 and PS Move motion controllers which ar tracked by the PlayStation eye camera. Finally it supports 3d sound built in.
Perhaps most importantly we got a ship date and price – October 2016 and $399, £349 or 399 Euros bundled with PlayRoomVR.
I’ve played with and used all of the big three VR headsets and while the Playstation VR may be amoung the least impressive technically it was the most fun to play giving me the best experience. If Sony have translated that pre-production model into something that is available at £350 and manages good titles they may be onto a real winner. I’m excited for October.