Sony PlayStation VR
Is PlayStation VR Worth It? Austin Evans
Is PlayStation VR Worth It?

Photos - Sony PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR PlayStation VR PlayStation VR PlayStation VR PlayStation VR - Sideview PlayStation VR - Joystick PlayStation VR - Bottom PlayStation VR - Sideview 2 PlayStation VR - Upper Side
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Sony PlayStation VR - Specification

UsageFor PCFor SmartphonesFor quadcopterAge13+
Body610gram610 gram277×185×187mm.
TypeAvailabilityAR - See-throughOLED
Size5,7inchesField of view horizontal100°
Front cameraNumber1
USBUSBUSB 2.0Charger connectorHDMI support
SoundHeadphone input 3.5mmMicrophone
Battery lifeN/A
ContentsHDMI cableAdapterHeadphonesPower cable

Sony PlayStation VR overview

PlayStation VR (the working title is Project Morpheus) is the most affordable and the only virtual reality headset suitable for PlayStation 4 from the "big three" (it also includes Oculus Rift and HTC Vive). Sony released the gadget in October 2016 and a year later presented an improved version, which we'll talk about. By December 2017, the company had sold 2 million devices. PS VR is a headset for a mass-market user, it has average quality, simple settings, low requirements and a relatively low price.
Sony was interested in virtual reality in the 1990s. The first VR prototype called Glasstron was released in 1997 and it was suitable, for example, for MechWarrior 2 with the visibility of the battlefield from the cockpit of a walking vehicle. The engineers started working over the current version of the headset already in 2010. In 2013 there were some rumors, at the same time users of the NeoGAF forum found on Free Patents Online documents about virtual reality technologies. On March 18th, 2014 Sony presented Project Morpheus on the GDC show floor. Working prototypes were also shown there. In 2015, the project was named PlayStation VR, and on October 13th, 2016, the model was released exclusively for the PlayStation 4 console.
In October 2016, only the first generation came out — the CUH-ZVR1 model. Exactly a year later the developers presented the next version — CUH-ZVR2. In fact, it is not considered to be the second generation because the official gadget PlayStation VR 2 is waited to be released in the autumn 2018. But all the original PS VRs that are sold now are the CUH-ZVR2 models. There are not many differences, but they are significant:
  • There are fewer cables and they are thinner. For example, the headset is now connected to the processor unit directly and not through an adapter wire. It became more convenient to play.
  • There are built-in stereo headphones. If before the headset had to be connected to the console on the same adapter wire, now the headphones are connected directly to the headset. The remote control was also removed.
  • HDR support. The processor unit recognizes images with an high dynamic range which makes the picture more contrast and brighter.

Pros of PlayStation VR

Stylish design. The gadget really looks cool and fantastic — like something from the films Tron or Ready Player One.
Convenient headset. 610 grams of weight do not make the device too heavy because they are equally distributed, especially if you sit while playing. It is comfortable for eyesight to play in glasses if they are not bulky. This slightly narrows the viewing zone.
It is suitable for movies. Cinematic mode allows you to play and watch movies in 2D, but on the headset screen. And if there are too many pixels in games, then the films are like in the best cinema.
Easy setting up. PS VR was devised for mass-market audience, so you just need to connect the PlayStation 4 wires, the TV set, the processor unit and the headset itself for installation. It's easy to do, compared to its competitors.
Affordable price. A fully working kit with the camera and controllers costs about 350 USD, with the console — 600 USD-700 USD. It is one and a half times cheaper than the nearest equivalent.

Cons of PlayStation VR

Low screen resolution. The picture sometimes breaks up into pixels, twitches and sometimes it looks like a cartoon image, which prevents the full immersion. The difference between reality and virtuality is clearly noticeable even to a non-advanced user.
No motion support. PS VR only tracks head turns without the headset's location in space. This not only spoils the effect of 3D reality, but also limits the set of functions of games and causes nausea.
Recognition errors. PlayStation Camera at a distance of more than three meters does not see the headset. It can lose the headset even closer if you cover the sensors by hand.
Low tracking accuracy of controllers in the space compared to HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, which makes shooters even more difficult to play requiring pinpoint accuracy.
There are few games. Compared to thousands of options available for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, there are just over 400 items in the PlayStation store. The majority of them are short linear games without a special plot and simulated racing.
Many wires that have extra weight cannot be disconnected from the headset and take up space in the room.

Competitors of PlayStation VR

Direct competitors of PS VR are the other two representatives of the "big three" headsets, i.e. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Let’s compare them in some key points indicating only the differences. The price of the working system also includes the console or computer, so for the first two options there can be no definite price because of different types.

.HTC ViveOculus RiftPlayStation VR
Display resolution1080x1200 for each eye1080x1200 for each eye960x1080 for each eye
Max. frequency90 Hz90 Hz120 Hz
Viewing angle110 degrees110 degrees100 degrees
Tracking systemLighthouse: 2 base stations with lasers, sensors are on the headsetConstellation: 2-3 base stations with infrared sensors, sensors are on the headsetPlayStation Camera: a camera is in front of a user, sensors are on the headset
Body trackingYesNoNo
Motion supportYesYesNo
Available games2500+2000+400+
Weight, gram470470610
Device price500 USD400 USD250 USD
Total cost of working system1,500 USD+1,400 USD+600 USD-700
The comparison of headsets

PlayStation VR design and ergonomics

The headset is made of plastic with soft underlay. The gadget consists of two structural elements: a front module with glasses and a central-back arch that fits the head firmly. The only thin cable is situated behind, it is connected to the processor unit. To make the camera recognize objects there are seven sensors in front on the headset, and two more are behind. On the bottom surface of the rear module are headphone connectors. The headset also has a built-in microphone.

The device weighs 610 grams, which is noticeably larger than the competitors' models. However, Sony thought out the design well and distributed the weight equally. During 30-40 minutes of playing a game, the head and neck do not get tired. If you play for two hours or more, your muscles will begin to ache. Another thing is that playing for more than an hour is generally harmful — you will get tired and nausea will sweep over you. Therefore, ideally, you should have a ten/fifteen-minute break every hour.
It is convenient to put PS VR on: it is necessary to pull a back part aside and then to adjust it to the size of your head. The front panel with glasses also moves horizontally which allows you to return from the virtual world very quickly. Lenses do not fit tightly, so it will be comfortable for people with poor eyesight to play while wearing glasses. A small drawback — there is always a gap in the bottom. The lenses themselves sometimes need to be wiped with a microfiber so that they do not get fogged up.

As a result, PlayStation VR looks futuristic and is fixed on the head comfortably. This is a result of the development for a mass-market target audience who likes this design.

PlayStation VR design

PlayStation VR display and lenses

PS VR has only one display with an OLED matrix and a diagonal of 5.7 inches. In the end, the resolution is 1920x1080 pixels, i.e. for each eye it is equal to 960x1080. The image in the glasses is worse than on the display, since the pixels are stretched for a 100-degree viewing angle. As a result, the picture looks like a ‘cartoon image’, and It is difficult to see small details, especially for people with poor eyesight. Both the resolution and the viewing angle of PS VR are worse than those of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but do not forget that the Sony headset is optimized for the console with performance worse than the PC’s one.
However, the frequency of the update has positive changes. PS VR is suitable not only for the standard 90 Hz, but also for 120 Hz. You cannot manually set the frequency, it is set by game developers. But it is more pleasant to play at 120 Hz, although some details may be lost. One more advantage is the full RGB color space support. The headset successfully deceives the brain, especially in games with animated graphics.
The impression of the display and the headset as a whole is surprising. Sometimes ‘a staircase effect’ of pixels appear, sometimes the picture twitches and for sure there is never a ‘as-in-real-life’ effect and feeling claimed by the manufacturer. But even compared to the PC headsets, PlayStation VR produces a bright and smooth image on a virtual screen. And what’s more, you can also thank Sony for the added HDR support in the second generation.
The view from the inside

Gaming space of PlayStation VR

Unlike computer headsets, PS VR is not designed for motion at all. Developers limit the set of functions in games, so you can control the events in virtual reality only with your head (turn, tilt, nod) and with your hands if there are controllers (indication, action, attack). Therefore, the gaming space can be anything because you do not need to move to be immersed into it. Some users like to play standing, others like to sit.
The advantage of such a configuration is that you can install the PS VR anywhere where there is a console and a TV set. The camera detects the sensors within three meters. If you do not move, then there is no risk of damaging the furniture, breaking controllers or crashing into the wall, which is also a benefit. But there are also some disadvantages. The body is less receptive to immersion. The brain seems to see that a person is moving, but in fact he/she remains motionless, and this causes nausea, dizziness or headaches, like seasickness or motion sickness in transport.

In terms of space, PlayStation VR is still the best option to get familiar with virtual reality devices. You do not need to make the room empty and mount a bunch of cameras and sensors, you just sit and play.

Recommended distances

Software and games for PlayStation VR

There are no external programs for headset, everything has already been installed into PlayStation 4. The first adjustment after turning on takes about ten minutes, then before each game it will also be necessary to adjust the system. It will not take very much time, the developers have provided clear instructions.

The main question you put to any VR device is what you can play with it. There are 403 titles in the list of supported games, but most of them are designed to demonstrate the possibilities of virtual reality. These are short demos of different genres, rather than full versions. Among the most interesting full versions we will highlight Resident Evil 7 VR with a powerful and long immersion in horror, The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim VR with fireballs, Batman: Arkham VR with excellent detective quests and DriveClub VR as a benchmark for racing. Action through the headset cannot impress very much, but rather to upset because of severe nausea. However, beautiful adventure games are what you really need, taken into account a rich range of colors of the display. All games are available through the official PlayStation store, including paid and free options. There are also games on the website.
In addition to games, PS VR can transmit the image from the glasses into the TV set so that others can observe the process. It is called the ‘Social Screen’. Another interesting feature is a ‘Cinematographic mode’. There a 2D image is transmitted to the glasses display. So, you can turn on a movie, a YouTube video or any usual game with PlayStation 4, but inside the headset. The impression is completely different than one from the TV set.

PlayStation VR packaging and arrangement

The gadget arrives in a classic blue and white box with a PlayStation logo and a model indication (CUH-ZVR1 or CUH-ZVR2). There is a denser white package inside which contains components, all the wires are marked. The standard version includes the following items:

  • PlayStation VR headset. It looks stylish, rather compact, but it weighs 610 grams. In the second iteration, a built-in control panel and an additional cable were excluded from the standard kit.
  • Processor module. It is a rectangular black box. It serves as a hub for wires, this is where you need to connect everything. It can handle the sound and transmit to the TV set the image from the headset.
  • Stereo headphones. These are native headphones from Sony. They are more convenient than the white headset from the first generation, the quality is not very different. The sound is harsh and worse than in its competitors, which can spoil the immersion.
  • HDMI cable (sticker number 1). It connects the console and the processor module.
  • USB cable (sticker number 2). It also connects the console and the processor module.
  • Adapter with cable (sticker number 3). It is a standard power supply unit, it is connected to the processor module.
  • Power cable. It connects the power adapter and an outlet.
  • Cable connecting the headset (sticker number 4). It connects the gadget itself and the processor module.
  • Demo disk PS VR. It is a set of demo versions of games for headset testing. It is available on the PlayStation website.
  • Instruction. It is arranged in a clear form, almost without words. It is also available on the Internet, including video form.
Standard set

The hidden costs of purchasing PlayStation VR

Taken immediately out of the box the system will not work because there are not several key elements. Firstly, there is no console itself. Any version of PlayStation 4, including a standard one Slim and Pro, will be suitable. On the most advanced console graphics will be better, but it can only be understood in comparison. Do not forget about the second HDMI from the console kit, it will also need to be connected to the processor unit. In addition, you will definitely need a PlayStation Camera for the fourth generation of consoles and joysticks.

We will devote special attention to controllers a bit later. The standard version for games is DualShock 4, wireless joysticks with buttons, a touch screen panel, a speaker and a headphone jack. DualShock 4 is enough for VR games. If you want more variety, there is PlayStation Move. The manipulator is better suitable for virtual reality because of the shape. Finally, Sony has developed PlayStation Aim in the form of a pistol for shooting games.
So, for full-fledged work you need to buy in addition the following items :
  • PlayStation 4 — a video game console itself, it costs from 280 USD for Slim to 500 USD for Pro model.
  • PlayStation Camera — it registers the head and body movements, 50 USD.
  • DualShock 4 controllers — for control in games, 45 USD.
In total, the hidden costs will be from 375 USD to 595 USD. In order not to buy everything separately, you can search for extended kits, they are available on the official website and on Amazon. For example, a kit with PS VR, a camera and Doom VFR game will cost 280 USD, and Skyrim-bandle with a headset, a camera, two PlayStation Move and game — 360 USD. DualSchock 4

Accessories for PlayStation VR

Among the optional, but useful or just stylish pieces for PS VR we single out the following items:

  • PlayStation Move controllers. It is a native alternative to DualShock 4. The devices are of non-standard form — not gamepads, but actually handles from joysticks. The PlayStation 3 models will also be suitable for device control with controller converter. They cost 80 USD.
  • PlayStation Move
  • PlayStation Aim controllers. It is a manipulator in the form of a stylized pistol, with built-in DualShock 4, a trigger and virtual aiming. It is necessary only for shooting games. The price is 60 USD.
  • PlayStation Move
    • Plantronics RIG 4VR headphones. It is a headset from Sony, which produces a slightly better sound than the in-ear headphones from the kit. But even the RIG 4VR headphones are wired, so it's better to look for a third-party alternative.
    • Stand for the headset. It is a metal stand with LEDs for headset storage.
    • . It looks like a suitcase, but it is made of a solid EVA. There is enough room for all modules and wires.
    Like the gadget itself, accessories are available on the official website, but the prices there are higher than those on the Amazon site. And what’s more, they are not really very necessary in order to get acquainted with virtual reality.

    PlayStation VR impact on health

    A few formal recommendations, including ones from the manufacturer: the gadget can be used from the age of 13 because it can affect the vision formation of children of younger age. There is a strong impact even on an adult — even inveterate gamers notice eye pain during long period of usage.

    It is desirable to play not longer than two hours in a row, with a fifteen-minute break every hour. Sony also does not advise users to walk during the game because this feature is simply not provided. If a user begins to feel sick or is just unwell, then he/she should immediately stop the game.
    It is especially relevant to action games and racing. Most of the complaints are connected with DriveClub — inexperienced VR players are not recommended to immerse themselves in the game for a long time. You should take breaks regularly. However, a warning about the impact on health appears in disclaimers before each game on the PS VR.

    PlayStation VR installation, setup and adjustment

    It is better to connect the system by following instructions from the box or from the video because it's rather difficult to figure it out on your own. But still it is much easier to install PS VR than HTC Vive or Oculus Rift which have much more components. Take at least the base stations and the choice of software, for example!

    At first because of lack of habit you can spend half an hour on it, but then it will take you about five minutes, not more. The process looks like the following:

    1. To put the console and connect the camera to it.
    2. To connect the processor unit to the TV set using the console HDMI.
    3. To connect the processor unit to the console using HDMI from the PS VR kit.
    4. To connect the processor unit to the console using USB from the PS VR kit.
    5. To connect the processor unit to the power adapter, and the latter — to the outlet through the power cable.
    6. To connect the processor unit to the headset using a VR cable. It is important that the labeling coincides.
    7. To connect headphones to the headset using the built-in connectors.
    8. To turn on the TV set.
    9. To enable PlayStation 4.
    10. To enable PlayStation VR with a button on the bottom surface of the headset.
    11. To configure the system by following the on-screen instructions.
    PS VR after being enabled explains everything quite clearly. The system will check for updates and sensors recognition, will tell you how to put on a headset and adjust it to your head, change the angle and adjust the image. The working area is determined only by the camera, so you need to put it in such a way that the connection is not lost. Developers advise that you should look straight and sit at a distance of 2.5 meters. But in fact it turns out to be less strict: you can sit within 1.5-3 meters and tilt the camera to 30 degrees. The main thing is that nothing hinders in gaming space, there are no mirrors and very bright light sources.

    The only thing that is inconvenient in PS VR is that it has too many wires. It will take you some time to pack them neatly and arrange the system of wires in an appropriate way so that you will not stumble over them. What’s more, every time you log in to the game, you need to set up the new settings, but this is logical because the position of the body changes. As for its competitors, it is much more difficult with them. The disadvantage of the simplicity is that the camera sometimes loses the headset or controllers if you go too far or cover the sensors by hand. It's annoying.

    Схема подключения

    Problems with the device and tips for owners of PlayStation VR

    Problems with PS VR are subdivided into software problems and physical ones. Software and games bugs are the result of the firmware errors, you can fix them by updating or rebooting the system. Hardware reject is a valid reason to contact the service center. In general, the gadget is quite reliable with reference to both points.

    Most often, users mention a fuzzy image and a background shift among software problems. It causes nausea, dizziness, headache and makes the eyes tired. The problem is most often associated simply with incorrect headset calibration.

    Among the hardware problems the most popular is when the wire or the socket break. This happens regularly because of improper cable routing, it is easy to touch cables by accident during a virtual game. But in favour of the hardware quality speaks the absence of the ‘Reject and Repair’ section on 4PDA.

    A huge database is available on the official Sony website in the section ‘Help’ — ‘PS VR support’. There you can also find instructions for setting up or installing games, solutions to problems and tips for use. There is even a selection of guides.

    Reviews about PlayStation VR

    Buyers often mention a handy headset with a quality assembly, simple installation and an affordable price. Console gamers can easily adapt to the control thanks to usual joysticks and simple and clear PlayStation interface. Immersion in virtual reality remains to be an impressive experience, especially for those who have never used a more expensive VR for the PC.

    One of the most serious complaints is the influence of action games on well-being. This is especially noticeable in racing and shooting games. Nausea or dizziness may appear after 10-15 minutes of playing. Users also do not like the quality of the picture, the abundance of wires and expensive games in the PlayStation store. It is wires that fail most often, but in order to avoid it, it's enough just to arrange them rightly and hide them.

    Among the three most popular virtual reality headsets PlayStation VR is the most affordable one, and for console gamers it's the only possible option. Apart from the gadgets of the lower segments like Google Cardboard, PS VR is the best device to learn about the virtual world.

    Sony PlayStation VR - Alternatives

    Showing 1-10 of 10 items.
    PhotoUSDTitle px.AngleHz.MPGr.
    HTC Vive499HTC Vive    1200×1080110°901 pc.470
    Oculus Rift CV1399Oculus Rift CV1    1200×1080110°90470
    HTC Vive Pro799HTC Vive Pro    1440×1600110°90 2 pc.555
    Lenovo Explorer487Lenovo Explorer    1440×1440110°90 2 pc.380
    Oculus Rift DK2534Oculus Rift DK2    960×1080100°75 440
    ACV HYPE SVR-FHD153ACV HYPE SVR-FHD960×1080100°70 430
    Epson Moverio BT-300956Epson Moverio BT-300  1280×72023°1 pc.69
    Epson Moverio BT-3501,560Epson Moverio BT-350  1280×72023°1 pc.119
    Epson Moverio Pro BT-20004,726Epson Moverio Pro BT-2000  960×54023°60 290
    Epson Moverio Pro BT-22004,562Epson Moverio Pro BT-2200  960×54023°60 270

    Sony PlayStation VR - Comparison

    Brand Sony HTC Oculus HTC
    Model PlayStation VR Vive Rift CV1 Vive Pro
    Min. price USD
    Release 2016/10/13 2016/04/05 2016/04/28 2018/04/05
    For PC
    Age 13+
    Total weight 610 gram 470 gram 470 gram 555 gram
    Body weight 610 gram 512 gram 450 gram
    Dimensions 277×185×187 mm.
    Size 5,7 inches 3.6 inches 3.54 inches 3.5 inches
    Field of view horizontal 100 ° 110 ° 110 ° 110 °
    Resolution 960×1080 px. 1200×1080 px. 1200×1080 px. 1440×1600 px.
    Latency 22 ms.
    Refresh rate 90-120 Hz. 90 Hz. 90 Hz. 90 Hz.
    Focal length
    Lens spacing 58-72 mm.
    Operating system
    Minimum system requirements GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 или AMD Radeon R9 290; CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 или AMD FX 8350; Оперативная память: 4 ГБ или больше; Видеовыход: HDMI 1.4 или DisplayPort 1.2 8 Гб оперативной памяти; ОС Windows 7 SP1; 3 порта USB 3.0; порт USB 2.0; разъем HDMI 1.3. GPU: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 или AMD Radeon RX 480; CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 или AMD FX 8350; Оперативная память: 4 ГБ или больше; Видеовыход: DisplayPort 1.2, USB 3.0 порт или более скоростной, Windows 8.1 или выше
    Oculus Home
    Windows Mixed Reality
    Front camera
    Number 1 pc. 1 pc. 2 pc.
    Headphone input 3.5mm
    3DoF Turning head
    3DoF Rotation tracking
    6DoF Positional tracking
    Tracking area 5x5 meters 2.5х2.5 meters 10x10 meters
    Games 410 3500 2900 3500
    HDMI 1.4
    USB 3.0
    USB 2.0
    USB type-c
    Charger connector
    Display port support
    HDMI support
    USB cable 2
    HDMI cable 2
    HDMI repeater 1
    Headphones 1
    Motion controller
    SteamVR Tracking
    Lighthouse 2 2
    Power cable
    External position sensor in space
    Proximity sensor
    Immersion 8 9 8
    Interaction 7 9 9
    Comfort 7 6 8
    Ecosystem 8 7 7
    Setup 7 6 6