PlayStation VR is a strong start for virtual reality on consoles, showing that it not only can be done, but it can be done well; the system is home to some of the best VR content I’ve played yet.
Powered by the now three year old foundation of PS4, I’m blown away by the visuals that have been achieved through PSVR. I’m especially interested to see how things improve further with the launch of PS4 Pro.
PSVR’s 1920×1080 OLED panel resolution might be lower on paper than the headset’s two major competitors, but with its RGB pixel structure, it’s perfectly capable of creating powerfully immersive experiences and beautiful virtual worlds, despite a few display flaws.
The ergonomics of PlayStation VR feel class-leading in many ways when compared to the Rift and Vive, with a design that maximizes both field of view and comfort. However, I really would have liked to see built-in headphones to eliminate an extra cable, not to mention bulk, from a pair of headphones not designed to be worn with a VR headset.
PSVR’s visible-light camera-based tracking system is likely to be its biggest challenge going forward. It feels only just over the ‘good enough’ line and is notably less accurate and responsive compared to the more expensive Rift and Vive.
By no surprise and no mistake, PlayStation VR is in a big way all about the price. Consoles have always been about value. And despite being based on demonstrably less powerful hardware, PSVR delivers a VR experience that punches above its weight class and makes a strong argument for both existing and new console players to jump into VR right now.
Update (11/7/16): PlayStation VR on PS4 Pro
PlayStation VR works just as well on PS4 Pro as it does on PS4. For now, we’re seeing minute improvements in visuals at best, while tracking performance is unchanged. Loading times on PS4 Pro seem snappier and that also translates to less noticeable texture pop-in in some cases which is a bigger deal in VR than regular games because of how closely you can inspect the world around you. There’s also an extra USB port on the back of the PS4 Pro which is really handy for hooking up the PlayStation VR breakout box without stealing one of the front ports which are best saved for connecting and charging controllers.
Keep in mind that pretty much every PlayStation VR title launched to date was made with the PS4 in mind. We expect in the future to see more significant visual improvements for PSVR titles running on PS4 Pro as developers have more time to optimize their titles (and begin building new ones from scratch) for the extra horsepower. While the 1080p display and poor mura correction are the biggest bottlenecks to the headset’s visuals, increased supersampling can do wonders if applied appropriately to a well optimized VR game.