The immersive entertainment movement that is virtual reality isn’t just going to be something for your phone, because while Samsung has the edge right now, Sony may well have it come October.
By the end of the year — indeed, by Christmas time — it’s highly possible that we’ll see virtual reality become the new present battleground, because Sony is about to join the other gaming players that are Oculus and HTC with its own virtual reality product, not to mention Samsung and Google with their own mobile equivalents.
But while Oculus and the power-team of HTC and Valve will require a pretty highly spec’d computer to make its VR headsets work, Sony’s aptly named PlayStation VR will require only the aforementioned VR helmet and a PlayStation 4.
Once you have both of those, you can get to gaming, and that’s an area Sony will be pushing in a big way when this thing launches, scheduled to arrive in October this year.
“Innovation is in our DNA at PlayStation and PS VR is the single biggest step change in technology I’ve seen in over 20 years at PlayStation,” said Michael Ephraim, Managing Director of Sony Computer Entertainment in Australia and New Zealand.
“There’s a huge amount of excitement around VR in Australia and I am really pleased that we are in a position to share this news with our fans.”
Like the Samsung Gear VR already out in the market, Sony’s PlayStation VR is a helmet-designed headset that you’ll wear, and when plugged into an entertainment source, it will make for an immersive entertainment experience.
Unlike Samsung’s product, however, the PlayStation VR has more in common with Sony’s old screen-based headsets, like the HMZ series of devices that were released a few years ago, as well as Sony’s old VR intentions made in the Glasstron headsets.
If you remember them, great, but if not, these are headsets with the screens integrated in the eye-pieces instead of relying on external devices like a smartphone.
The gyroscope and accelerometer are also both found inside the PlayStation VR to tell the title you’re playing where you are in 3D space, and Sony’s PlayStation Move controllers and PS4 controllers can also be tracked in real space, while the LEDs on the back of the standard DualShock 4 controller can also be used for the same purpose.
Inside the headset, Sony is leveraging a 5.7 inch OLED display capable of showing 120 frames per second and a resolution of 960×1080 per eye, and this headset will connect to a processing unit to make the PS VR headset work, connecting HDMI to the product and out to the TV, acting as a bit of an in-between interpreter for the headset very similar to the in-between unit the Sony HMZ headsets relied on.
Once everything is set up, there will be games to take you into different world.
Forget watching it on TV, because VR is about immersing yourself in a reality, and that’s exactly what this device is made to do.
More than 230 developers and publishers are apparently working on titles now, and the few we know about include a robot sports game “Rigs”, a horror title “Until Dawn: Rush of Blood”, a physical game “Tumble VR”, and a multi-game made to let you experience much of what VR can do in “PlayStation VR Worlds”.
Not to be left out, DICE and Lucasfilm are working on a new version of “Star Wars Battlefront” to let you be properly immersed in Star Wars the way only a video game can.
Entertainment will also be delivered through the PS VR system with a “cinematic mode”, which takes advantage of our brains and the trickery of seeing a screen up close and in focus to simulate a large virtual cinema screen to watch photos, videos, and more, while 360 degree content will also be made available for use on the headset.
“Ever since we unveiled PS VR during the 2014 Game Developers Conference, we’ve received a tremendous response from gamers and developers alike,” said Andrew House, President and Global CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment Inc.
“To make sure that we are able to prepare and deliver enough units of PS VR and a wide variety of software titles to consumers worldwide, we have decided to launch PS VR in October 2016. For those who are looking forward to its launch, we would like to thank everyone for their patience and continued support.”
“We are beyond excited to deliver to consumers the amazing experience that PS VR offers,” he said.
Now for the price: $549.95.
Yep, it’ll cost a little over $500 to grab the PS VR in Australia, though remember that this price doesn’t include a PlayStation 4 console which is needed to make this headset work.
You won’t need any special phones or tablets to get it going, though, so it’s not like Samsung’s Gear VR in that way, but you will definitely require a PS4 to get it going.
If anything, though, we are definitely excited, and for a nice surprise, it doesn’t feel like Australia is getting the wrong end of a stick in regards to pricing, since after conversion the $549.95 price isn’t too bad compared to the $399 price in America.
That is excellent pricing, especially since neither Oculus nor HTC has local pricing, and converted pricing is pretty severe in comparison. What Sony hasn’t said is if the Move or PS Camera accessories will drop in preparation or even be changed, though for now, we have to assume these will stick to the same $50 to $100 pricing for each.
Still, though, a great start, Sony.