When Oculus first started showing off their Rift headset a few years ago, all we heard was how virtual reality was going to be the next gamechanger for video games. This wasn’t going to be the false prophet that 3D televisions were, this was the real deal. Then HTC and Valve threw their hat (or headset) into the ring with the Vive, followed by Sony with what was then known as the Morpheus, now known simply as PlayStation VR. It all snowballed fairly quickly.
Then the Rift and the Vive actually got out into the wild. People like you and I could buy them and try them for ourselves. They were, and continue to be, bona fide consumer products. Gaming as we know it didn’t change radically, or at all really. Not that we all expected VR to be anything more than a niche product, especially in these early days, but I did think things may have changed just a little bit more.
It’s understandable, though. The Rift is €600 and the Vive is a crazy €800. Do you know anyone with a spare €800 to spend on a peripheral that gives you a questionable improvement on your games? I sure as hell don’t. Add on to that the fact that you have to make sure that you have a PC that has the necessary specs needed to run it adequately. And, of course, you’ll have to worry about the dreaded driver, the ever present roadblock in the way of you and your games; they’re more fiddly than ever once you introduce VR!
Now, though, the final contender has entered the arena. PSVR has just released and, in my opinion, offers the best hope for VR as a whole to break out from its current lot as the niche of a niche. It’s the cheapest on the market at €400 and is the easiest to set up. You also don’t have to worry about whether or not your machine can run the games properly since all the games will be optimised properly for PlayStation.
The system also has the considerable marketing might of Sony behind it, letting everyone who’s paying attention know that this thing is out there and that they should get it, because now you can actually be Batman. Not like all those other times when we told you to “Be the Batman;” it’s for realsies this time.
It may not sound like it, but I am actually hopeful for PSVR and VR in general. I think it’s a great new way to play games and has many other application outside of that. Hopefully the low price and ease of use of the PSVR helps bring VR into the public consciousness a bit more. I just wish I didn’t feel so certainly sure of the fact that the whole endeavour will die purely because people don’t like wearing big headsets on their faces.