I resisted the whole virtual reality thing for a very long time and for various reasons. Initially, I thought it was similar to the gimmicks like 3D TV. I had invested heavily in 3D only to discover two years later that no one was interested in them anymore. Therefore, I was overly cautious with VR.
The second reason was that while Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are on the market, they both require a clunky desktop PC and they are still in the prototype/developer stage. I am not going to waste $800 on a VR headset plus $2000 on a high-end gaming PC. ~$3000 is a lot of money for a technology that may not even take off.
I have played with all of them a bit and was impressed with VR in general but I didn’t see its place in my home or office, especially given the umbilical cord connected to a PC.
Then came along Sony PlayStation VR. It looks beautiful instead of some ugly headset wrapped around your head. It also looked much easier to install and use. The best part is that you don’t need a $2000 high-end gaming PC. All you need is a PlayStation 4 that you can get under $300 and I already own a PlayStation (which I just upgraded to Pro). So I took the plunge. After using PlayStation VR for a few weeks, here are my thoughts on why you should get one this holiday season.
It’s (relatively) cheap
Sony PlayStation VR headset bundle costs around $499. That includes the VR headset, Sony camera, and two motion controllers. If you don’t own a PlayStation 4, you can buy it for $299. So the total cost of Sony PlayStation VR is around $800.
HTC Vive alone costs over $799 and you still need a gaming PC, which brings the total cost to over $2000. Oculus Rift costs over $900 with a headset, sensor, and controller. And you still need a PC. Once again, the total cost is going to go through the roof. And let’s not even talk about Microsoft's Hololens, which costs over $3000, plus you need a high-end PC.
Sony offers the best deal.
PC is a dying breed
One may argue that the PC market is a much bigger market than PlayStation, but the fact is that PCs are a dying breed. All major PC vendors, including Dell, HP and Intel, are withdrawing from the PC market and are looking at cloud and enterprise. Even Nvidia is moving into machine learning, mobile gaming and its own set-top box with Nvidia Shield.
Sooner or later Microsoft will also move its Hololens and VR into Xbox One. So I won’t be betting on a VR platform that’s tied to PC.
What about DayDream and Samsung Gear?
Mobile VR is a totally different market, just the way mobile gaming is a different market. It’s apples vs. oranges. One of the biggest limitations of mobile VR is that you are static, you can’t move around in a scene as there are no sensors to detect your location. It’s not as immersive as the Sony PlayStation VR.
It’s more about content
Sony PlayStation has a massive collection of apps and games, which may not be able to beat PC gaming yet, but as I said before, PC gaming is a dying breed and gaming is all about exclusive game titles. Even Microsoft doesn’t make some of its own games available for PC and keeps them exclusive for Xbox. Many PlayStation exclusive games never come to PC. Yes, PC has Steam and there are over 125 million users, but once again it’s all about the shrinking PC market.
Sony already has a wide range of VR games and apps available through their store and this number is only going to grow as Sony has a clear edge over all other VR platforms when it comes to gaming and content.
Ease of use
I prefer Xbox/PlayStation/Nvidia Shield/Apple TV over PC for entertainment as I can easily play games, watch movies and TV shows through apps instead of going through the cumbersome PC interface. Also, I really don’t want that ugly and bulky PC in my living room. From an end user’s perspective, game consoles and media boxes like Apple TV offer a superior experience. At the moment, PlayStation is the only console that supports VR.
Watching movies on a 22-inch screen
What I love the most about my PlayStation VR is the fact that I can watch movies and TV shows on a massive 226” screen. I can even play 2D games like Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare on that massive screen. I have a 50” 4K TV but ever since I got my PlayStation VR I have not watched a movie or TV show on that TV. I am too addicted to the 226” screen. Imagine watching The Flash, Supergirl, Interstellar, Mr. Robot on that huge screen in the comfort of your own home.
Overall experience is pure awesome
I love the VR experience on PlayStation VR. There are some immersive VR movies like Allumette that offer an experience I’ve never had before. You can lean in to see what’s on a dining table; you can walk around a character or move in to get closer to characters or look at the scene from a different angle. I will paraphrase Morpheus from the Matrix here and say, “Unfortunately, no one can be told what the PlayStation VR is. You have to see it for yourself.”
It’s opened a new way of watching movies. You don’t just watch it, you actually become part of the story. It’s amazing. Playing VR games is even more immersive as you find yourself in the middle of the action.
I don’t think I am ever going back to normal TV and gaming. I am also not going to movie theaters to watch movies anymore; I’m waiting for Arrival and The Accountant to come to Amazon Prime so I can watch them on my Sony PlayStation VR.
Go get it, now!
If you already own PlayStation 4, and you have room for $500 to spend on yourself this Christmas, I suggest getting the PlayStation VR. If you don’t own PlayStation, but want to get into VR, I suggest going with PlayStation VR as it is the best deal out there.
Trust me you will not regret it.
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