As if our gaming addiction wasn’t bad enough at Inphantry…we just got another virtual reality device to play around with. This time, it’s the PSVR.
If you’ve missed our last few blog posts as an agency, we’re getting heavily embedded in the AR/VR space and are actively trying to figure out ways for us to use it in product launches, trade shows and other experiential campaigns. We’ve already kicked off a few (check out the bulk of our work here), but our most recent efforts haven’t been documented on our site yet.
Here’s what I love about working here at Inphantry: lots of interns spend their morning grabbing coffee and delivering mail, I just spent my morning getting to play with the new Playstation VR. Jealous?
Before I jump into my thoughts, let’s chat about this new piece of tech for a second, shall we?
The gaming giant (SONY) released their initial entry into the VR world a couple weeks ago for $399. However, to properly use Playstation VR you need a Playstation Camera and Playstation Move controllers, bringing the total price up to $549 (or $499 in a limited “Launch Bundle”). Despite the price tag exceeding the cost of the console itself, the full PSVR experience is still over $200 cheaper than similar experiences on the market like Oculus VR and the HTC Vive.
Here are some very quick thoughts on my first hour or so with the brand new PSVR:
First of all, I pray for parents helping their kids set this thing up on Christmas morning. Over half my time was spent unboxing components, organizing wires, configuring the headset, and calibrating before I even began to actually do anything. This is coming from the guy who essentially tethered to technology 24/7. That being said, it seems like PSVR is still the easiest VR experience to set up besides Google or Samsung’s offerings.
I had a tough time finally getting the headset on correctly to get the best visual experience, but once I was all set I was pleasantly surprised. PSVR has some great visuals, but I’ve been spoiled by the HTC Vive. This is most definitely a middle mid-range VR experience – not necessarily too high, but not too low either.
If anything is definite, it’s the Playstation VR is a comfortable, well-built piece of hardware. I can tell Sony put a lot of effort into making the headset wearable for long play sessions, and it’s much appreciated. However, I noticed the nose piece and face pieces led to sweaty lenses which drastically affected the visuals. To be fair, that could be more a “me” problem than a PSVR problem.
My actual play time was split into two main experiences: The London Heist from Playstation VR Worlds and The VR Playroom.
The London Heist was easily one of the most cinematic VR experiences I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. As you flash back and forth between car chases, shootouts, and interrogations, you relive the events of a diamond heist and how it all went wrong. This experience has plenty of VR usual elements – I’m still getting used to actually aiming down sights and having characters get right up in my face.
Overall, I think this one experience is PSVR’s killer app. However, my biggest complaints came down to issues with the calibration and tracking. One of the biggest downsides of PSVR compared to the competition is its singular camera which often leads to jumbly hands (my own technical term) and poor headset tracking. All in all, The London Heist is a compelling example of what PSVR can do.
The VR Playroom may be one of the best VR experiences I have ever played, but not for the reasons you may think. The one game I explored in this collection was quite similar to Super Mario 64 or other platformers like Ratchet and Clank. The gameplay was simple: control a character to collect coins and save his robot friends.
What I found so compelling was that it was my first VR experience that wasn’t in first person. The ability to explore a world while controlling an on screen character was totally different. Not to mention the Dualshock 4 controller is mapped in the world, allowing you to see what you’re doing with your hands and use the controller in-game for different abilities. It sounds complicated, but once in your hands, it’s a very natural mechanic. And the best part about The VR Playroom: it’s free on the Playstation Store.
The Playstation VR is an expensive and somewhat complicated Virtual Reality experience – but far less expensive and complicated than their biggest competition. The experiences available are a mixed bag, but there are definitely some standouts. PSVR is targeted much more for consumer, gaming / entertainment use while some of the competitors are open to all types of experiences – but that isn’t a bad thing by any means. If you are dying for a compelling Virtual Reality gaming experience and don’t mind blowing a few hundreds bucks, grab a Playstation VR.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns – or are an interested client in utilizing VR for a given experience, then contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org so we can chat further!
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