Hello Pixelrater community! How are you? Good I hope. PlayStation VR launch is only a few short weeks away—and dear god am I excited! I am going to be doing a four part series leading up to the launch of PlayStation VR and concluding the week after launch with impressions. The mission of this piece isn’t to convince you that VR is this incredible immersive experience—although it is—or that it literally will change the way we play games and interact with media—because it will. This is because I, like many other outlets, can tell you this until I’m as blue in the face as I am in my heart about the fact that I bought No Man’s Sky digitally. VR is something you have to experience. And as cool as Gear VR may be, it really pales in comparison to either true VR headset like PlayStation VR, Oculus, or Vive.

Trust me.

As I’ve said numerous times before on our podcast, my wife isn’t into gaming. None of our other halves are really. But my wife, being the loving supportive woman she is, trekked with me to PAX East and tried PS VR. And you know what? She loved it. And you know what else? She’s excited for it to arrive, and I’m excited that she’s excited. This may be the ticket to make her want to play a games with me more often. Maybe you’re going to stand in line to try and snag a launch unit from what I assume will be limited availability. Or maybe, like me, you’re going to wait (impatiently) for the same day delivery of your beloved headset. If you’re on the fence about purchasing, this article is going to tell you a roundabout cost to get started, what you’ll need, and wrap up with a mini FAQ.

PS VR Requirements

You’ll need a PS4 or PS4 Pro and the headset itself, obviously. You’ll also need the aforementioned PlayStation Camera. I got mine in a bundle with my system but for those of you who don’t have one, the going price new is $60, although you could also take the used route instead. Sony has a redesigned, more cylindrical version of the camera going on sale soon. You can also use the camera for Twitch, voice commands, and auto-login via face recognition. These features sound cool on paper, but I seldom use them in my day to day life. Some games may require Move controllers, but you should be able to use a Dualshock 4 in most cases. You can always do what I did and buy the controllers and charging dock used at a lower price. Another thing to note is that some games may have you walking and standing, so you’ll need unobstructed floor space to accommodate this. Ideally the area should be 10ft by 6ft with Sony recommending you stay seated whenever possible.

Pick Your PS VR Bundle

Sony has some significant advantages when it comes to the asking price for their headset. There’s no doubt this is in part due to their decades of manufacturing and expertise in the electronics industry. The core unit itself which includes PS VR, the necessary cables, and a demo disc with 18 playable slices of VR pie will run you $399. A hefty chunk of change to be sure, but considerably less than Oculus’s $599 and Vive’s $799 asking price before upgrading your PC or buying a new one. The core bundle, as its called, is for people like myself who already have a PS4 and PlayStation Camera along withPlayStation Move controllers.

For those out there who don’t own a PS4, Sony is selling a bundle that includes PS VR, the PlayStation Camera, two Move controllers, the necessary cables, and a demo disc for $499.

Optional Additional Accessories

– BD&A is releasing an officially licensed charging stand capable of recharging two Move controllers, one DualShock 4 controller, as well as including a place to sit the headset. It’s priced at $49 on Amazon 

– Alternatively, Collective Minds is throwing their hat in the ring with a stand capable of charging all the accessories the BD&A offering above can along with room to store wireless headset and charge another DualShock 4 controller. So in total it can hold your VR headset and wireless gaming headphones while also simultaneously charging two DS4 controllers and two Move controllers. To make the deal sweeter, it retails cheaper at $34.99. I’m going to retire my dual DS4 and Move chargers in favor of this all in one solution.

– If cases are your thing and you plan on hauling your headset around town (why?) then BD&A has this officially licensed storage option for $39.99. It has a carrying handle and internal mesh to hold additional items such as the headset’s cables.

– Im not sure BD&A’s case offers mush protection for the price judging from the photos. If you’re more serious about protection, then maybe you want to spring for RDS Industries’ more rugged carrying case for $59.99 which happens to sport more compartments for added storage compared to the cause above.

– Sony is releasing and Impulse Gear are releasing a new controller aimed at the FPS crowd called the PS VR Aim Controller. It’s first supported game will be Farpoint with likely more games to follow. The device aims to provide unrivaled precision thanks to one to one tracking. It will also include one joystick and a set of face buttons similar to the Sharp Shooter that came before it. There’s no word on a price yet and no date since Farpoint doesn’t yet have a release date.

PS4 vs PS4 Pro

I’m sure you’ve heard about the PS4 Pro by now, but if you haven’t we have an in depth breakdown in our reveal article. The main gist is the Pro offers over double the graphics horsepower of it’s base PS4 sibling. As you’d expect, games in PS VR powered by a Pro console have the ability to offer much more detail in their environments and run at a higher and more consistent frame rate. With that said, sources claim that PS VR games that cannot maintain 60fps consistently on either PS4 will be rejected by the platform holder as anything below this has a tendency to make people feel nauseous in VR. Those hoping they wouldn’t need the headset’s included processing unit because of the additional power of the Pro may be disappointed to learn that this doesn’t appear to be the case. In fact, the only benefit we were able to see was a somewhat better looking version of Farpoint at this point (woah), and even that was difficult to make out during a 1080p compressed livestream. So, in short, the perk of the Pro for VR appeasr to be better graphics which seems to be the perk of the Pro in general. Unfortunately we don’t have many VR titles to compare between the base PS4 and the Pro in VR, although I’m sure that will change in the next year or so.

Mini FAQ

  • Can I wear PS VR with glasses?
    Yes. The headset allows for a surprising amount of adjustment

  • Will I be able to play my existing PS4 games and watch video content on PS VR?
    Yes. One feature of PS VR is Cinematic Mode. This allows the headset to simulate three different screen sizes: 117, 163, and 226 inches. The 163 option will take up your entire peripheral view while the 226 option requires you to move your head from side to side, similar to sitting in the front row of a movie theater.

  • Will PS VR require special headphones?
    No, the headset comes with a pair of stereo headphones and supports any headset with a standard 3.5mm connector.

  • How much space is needed to enjoy PS VR?
    An unobstructed space of 10ft by 6ft is suggested

  • Is the included processing unit (PU) needed to play?
    Yes. The PU enables realtime 3D audio rendering as well as the ability to simultaneously display live video on both PS VR as well as your TV. This allows others in the room to view what you’re seeing on the TV and even participate in games that support local multiplayer like Battlezone.

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