When Oculus VR announced the $599 USD price point for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD), VRFocus wrote a reaction piece about what it meant for PlayStation VR, and the importance of the price point for Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE’s) own device. In short, it was blatantly clear that PlayStation VR was now the only HMD that could ask a price that would seem even marginally acceptable to a more mainstream audience in VR’s first year. The Oculus Rift and HTC Vive would get there eventually, but SCE could nail the pricing now.
And that’s pretty much how things have turned out.
At $399, PlayStation VR is literally half the price of the $799 HTC Vive. Granted that price difference can be felt; although the HMD itself is nothing to scoff at, PlayStation VR has a lower resolution screen and doesn’t even include the camera needed to track it, let alone the PlayStation Move motion controllers required for some experiences. Even with those extras, it’s still not capable of the same Room Scale system, and Move isn’t as refined an input scheme as SteamVR’s controllers, nor Oculus Touch. And then there’s the limitations of the PlayStation 4 itself, which may well cause issues later down the line.
But, to many people, that’s not going to matter at this price. PlayStation VR has made some sacrifices to get to this point, but the largely glowing reception to hands-on sessions at events proves that it’s still no slouch. The same people that are excited for the HTC Vive have walked away impressed by the likes of RIGS: Mechanized Combat League and Rez Infinite. Make no mistake; this offers some completely engaging experiences, even if you might not be able to get up and walk around within them.
Elsewhere, all signs are pointing towards PlayStation VR getting the support it needs to convince gamers to pick a unit up at some point down the line. Easily the most surprising announcement of the evening was that SCE had partnered with EA and DICE to bring a Star Wars: Battlefront VR experience to the device. If that wasn’t enough, then surely something on the massive list of developers working on the device will catch your attention.
If there’s anything that’s disappointing, then, it’s the slip in release. PlayStation VR was promised for the first half of 2016, but has slipped to October. The delay seemed inevitable, but it was still a shame to hear that SCE won’t be following up the release of the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive anytime soon. It’s an acceptable setback, though, even if the wait for release will no doubt be agonising.
So there’s around seven months until the big release, then, but hopefully SCE will use that time to convince more people that this is a HMD that you can feasibly buy in 2016.