Yesterday, Sony announced via YouTube the release date and price of their upcoming VR hardware, PlayStation VR. The headset launches this October at $399. Fifty unique titles are planned to launch by the end of this year for PlayStation VR, with Playroom VR packed in. Other items bundled with the headset include:
- processor unit
- VR headset connection cable
- HDMI cable
- USB cable
- stereo headphones (earbuds)
- AC power cord
- AC adapter
What is not included in the box is a PlayStation Camera which is required to use PlayStation VR. Other accessories that’ll work with various VR titles include Move controllers (bet you never thought you’d need those again) and the DualShock 4.
I’m unsure how this VR craze will turn out in the long run. 2016 is looking like the year for VR headsets. Oculus is finally launching in consumer form on March 28 after kicking off the VR craze back in 2011, the HTC’s Vive launches soon after in April, Samsung’s Gear VR is already out and it by far the cheapest at $99, however it’s cheapness shows as it needs a Samsung phone to power it. I guess this year will be the test subject for VR as a medium, with so many tech companies currently in R&D looking to capitalize on the fad.
I don’t know much about VR yet; I’ve only had brief involvement with Oculus and Gear VR. Analysts say it’s the next step in gaming, but to me it feels like another gimmick. Nothing will replace the traditional couch, controller, monitor video game experience, especially not something that costs this much. PlayStation VR looks like a glorified peripheral, costing more than the system itself and having so many moving parts to have it work properly.
I don’t dislike VR; I think it’s actually really cool. It’s applications beyond gaming are most interesting – being able to fully immerse yourself in whatever content or whatever world you’re consuming. As a side note, I think VR will be responsible for fueling the next big push for space exploration. If kids at an early age can be amazed by the vastness of space in a living room experience, it’ll do wonders for future dreamers. But we’re no where close to where I think the medium can go. But will it?
Like I said, this year will be the litmus test to see if VR will succeed into the future. If consumers don’t eat up some of these products, especially PlayStation VR since it’s the most accessible, VR will be DOA. The biggest problem trying to market VR is trying to convince people it’s actually cool. You can’t simple show on a television screen what VR looks and feels like in real life. It can only gain traction by people physically going to a brick and mortar store to put on one of these headsets, and I can’t see many people actively craving to do that.
Will I buy a PlayStation VR? Probably, but I’m a sucker for gimmicks. I pre-ordered the PlayStation Move and picked it up on launch… not the best gaming decision I ever made. If Sony can make a fully VR game that’ll reel me in for hours and hours the same way I play like The Witcher or Fallout or Far Cry and I’m not forcing myself to play it, then I’ll believe the hype. Until then, I’ll firmly grasp my skepticism, but I optimistically hope I’m wrong.