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PlayStation VR – Are You Ready for a New Reality?

by Daniel Boylan

 

 

 
Every couple of years something new comes along that significantly changes the gaming landscape.
Each piece of a modern controller that most people take for granted came in iterations through the console generations, from the D-Pad and shoulder buttons, to analogue sticks and rumble motors.
While Virtual Reality is not exactly a new concept, the technology has finally come far enough to live up to its full potential. This October Sony is bringing VR to the PlayStation 4 and from what’s been shown so far it has the potential to be the next big thing.
 
 

 
First announced in 2014 as Project Morpheus, the PlayStation VR is a head mounted display that will be compatible with all PS4 systems. This means there’s no complicated set up–or the need for a super expensive high end PC, you simply connect to your existing PS4 and away you go.
Almost every game released will be fully compatible with the standard Dual Shock 4 controller, but for the few that don’t a PlayStation Move controller will be required.
Users will be transported into the world of the game in the most immersive experience ever seen on a console, with the PlayStation Camera (sold separately but also a requirement) tracking head movement in real time.
This really makes you feel as if you’re in the game, with each turn of your head represented on “screen”.
 
The headset itself is extremely lightweight and comfortable, with a fully adjustable headband designed to fit everyone.
The device features a custom 5.7” OLED screen that displays at 120Hz (the screen is refreshed 120 times per second) for seriously smooth gameplay, as well as 360-degree vision and 3D audio.
The 3D audio is a lot more useful in gaming than most people realise too, offering the ability to hear exactly where your enemies’ footsteps are coming from etc. which not only offers a tactical advantage but really adds to the feeling of immersion.
 
 

 
It’s all well and good to have an impressive product but without the games to back it up, it would be one expensive paper weight! Luckily, the PlayStation VR has over 50 games scheduled for release within the year meaning even the most hardcore of gamers will be spoilt for choice. All the biggest publishers are on board too so it won’t just be a sea of forgettable games like we often see on smartphones. We’re talking big names such as Batman Arkham VR, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood, not to mention brand new franchises like Sony Interactive Entertainment’s own Farpoint–a first person shooter/adventure game set on an alien land, and of course in true video game fashion it’s a hostile world so diplomacy is out the window.
 
Speaking of first person shooters, the PlayStation VR will also be getting a new controller designed specifically for FPS gameplay: the PlayStation VR Aim Controller.
This will provide true 1:1 precision aiming, so your actions are mimicked exactly in game. As any FPS player knows, this precision is vital in fast paced gunfights and can mean the difference between success and failure.
It also means you won’t be able to blame your failure on the controller!
 
 

 
It’s not all solitary either with PlayStation VR Social Screen, which allows you to project what’s seen in the headset onto a TV screen. This opens the door for both co-operation and competitive gameplay, with the possibility of whole new types of games being developed based around the idea. Or you can just have everyone in the room laughing at how badly you’re doing, either way you can include more people in the action.
 
At E3 this year I was lucky enough to get my hands on two VR titles, both of which blew me away. One was The London Heist from the upcoming collection PlayStation VR Worlds, and the other was the tank based shooter Battlezone.
My time playing these games was unlike anything I’ve experienced in over 25 years of gaming–the level of immersion is absolutely breath-taking.
They really show off what the hardware is capable of and have made me eager to try out more of the titles that will be on offer as soon as I can get my hands on them.
 
 
Once Sony get demo units out there for more people to try out the technology, the PlayStation VR really will sell itself.
It’s so instantly accessible that I can see non gamers getting on board too, much like when the original Wii hit the shelves in late 2006. There could also be Wii-launch levels of demand by the looks of it, so I’d recommend being safe rather than sorry and booking it to make sure you can get one in time for Christmas.
I have my name down!