PlayStation VR: Specs and hardware
Below we'll tell you what to expect from the PlayStation VR, but you really need to see it for yourself. Sony has announced that it will be bringing PlayStation VR demos to 500,000 shops in June in the US, with the UK shortly behind. GameStop will be a key launch partner for Sony in the States, but the PlayStation VR will also be demoed in stores showing the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift - hopefully we get the same treatment here soon!
The final PlayStation VR headset boasts pretty impressive specs that should get prospective VR gamers excited. For one, it boasts a 5.7in 1920x1080 full-HD OLED display, equating to 960x1080 per eye. The high-quality display coupled with a 100-degree field of view and an 18ms response time should provide users with an experience indistinguishable from real life – according to the Sony CEO anyway.
Sony's virtual reality headset features a 120Hz refresh rate and thus has the potential to render games at 120fps, which is notably higher than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive's 90Hz offering.
Combined with a powerful PS4 or PS4 Pro console and the OLED screen's high refresh rate, Sony says PlayStation VR offers "amazingly smooth visuals". Although what the firm forgot to mention was that the VR headset won’t be powered by the PS4 – not by itself, anyway.
Instead, PSVR owners will have to make some room for an additional box that’ll connect to the PS4 and provide most of the processing power for the virtual reality headset. The box also provides a ‘standard’ output for the TV, giving your friends a good idea of what’s going on inside the headset, as if you were playing a normal PS4 game.
The PlayStation 4 system is easily able to track movement thanks to built-in accelerometers and LED side lights detectable by a connected PlayStation camera. Sony claims that the PlayStation Camera can track the PSVR headset up to 1,000 times per second, which should provide gamers with a beautifully seamless experience.
It also allows users to turn their heads 360 degrees in-game, allowing gamers to look behind them when inevitably being chased by a weapon-wielding enemy. This is possible thanks to sensors on the back of the headset, which lets the system know when you’re looking behind you.
Much like Valve and HTC's Vive, the PlayStation VR headset will track your location within a physical space, allowing you to walk around your virtual world. However while that sounds great, it's not as advanced as the high-end 5x5m Room Scale tracking system used by the Vive. In fact, while the PlayStation VR can track your movement, you can only move around three steps in any direction before you go out of range and lose tracking altogether.
This is because the tracking system relies on the PlayStation VR camera and as soon as you're out of view of said camera, you'll see a message pop up in front of you prompting you to go move back to where it can track you once again. Sony officially acknowledges the fact that the PlayStation VR will track your movement, but says that many of the games are intended for sit-down use so there won't be much need for movement tracking.
PlayStation VR: Accessories
With regards to controllers and accessories, the PlayStation VR primarily uses the DualShock 4 controller as it’s a familiar controller for PS4 gamers, allowing them to game without looking at which buttons to press (which is even harder with a headset on!).
It’s also because DualShock 4 controllers feature motion sensors, and can be tracked by the PlayStation camera. This gives developers more creativity when developing ways for gamers to interact with the game, and should bring something new and interesting to the table.
PlayStation Move batons
Using a DualShock 4 controller isn’t the only way to interact with the virtual world. Sony also utilises the PlayStation Move Batons, accessories from Sony’s earlier motion-control system from the days of the PlayStation 3 that many had written off.
The Batons allow players to control both their characters and environments via gestures rather than traditional button presses, and looks to provide users with a more immersive and interactive experience than when using a DualShock 4 controller alone.
PS VR Aim Controller
Following Sony’s E3 2016 press conference where the company showcased a number of launch PSVR games, the gaming giant also quietly announced the PS VR Aim controller – a Move-esque controller designed specifically for use with VR sci-fi shooter Farpoint.
Many fans compare the Aim controller to the Sharp Shooter gun accessory which launched alongside Killzone 3, designed to emulate an assault rifle, however Sony’s latest offering is simplistic and designed to be used with a variety of VR-enabled weapons. The design allows it to be used pushed into the shoulder like when using a rifle (which also allows you to look down the scope of the gun!), as well as being comfortable to hold when hip-firing.
Despite looking simplistic, the PS VR Aim controller boasts the same buttons as a DualShock 4 controller. This includes two triggers, two bumpers, two analogue sticks, a D-Pad, Share and Options buttons, a button emulating the Touch Pad and of course, X, O, Triangle and Square buttons, providing gamers with a way to perform the same actions you’d normally perform in-game when using the Aim controller.
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