Virtual reality is on the cusp of going mainstream. While VR innovators Oculus and HTC are readying their headsets, Sony is prepared to attack the market with PlayStation VR. You see, the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require powerful computers to run effectively, and not everybody invests in such pricey machinery. PS VR, formally known as Project Morpheus, simply requires a PlayStation 4 video game console to run, and Sony has the most potential to succeed here first because it can rely on its 36 million PS4 units sold since the console’s release in 2013. No doubt about it–advantage: Sony.
As we inch closer to fall, Sony’s finally made some key launch details known. PS VR releases this October starting at $399. At that price you’ll get the VR headset and all of the required cables plus stereo headphones. On launch day (still TBA), the PlayStation Store will offer a free copy of The Playroom VR so new owners of the headset will have an immersive game to demo when friends come over.
What doesn’t come in the $399 package is the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move motion controllers, the former a required PS4 accessory to make PS VR work. The Camera tracks your movement and the controllers bring your arms and hands into the action. The Camera ($49.78 at Amazon) and Move motion controllers ($28.85) have always been sold separately from the PS4. When PS VR comes out, however, Sony has also prepared a “launch bundle” that will include the Camera and two Move motion controllers, in addition to an exclusive title PlayStation VR Worlds. This $499 package will be available to preorder starting Tuesday, March 22 at 10AM ET at participating retailers, including Amazon. The aforementioned “core bundle,” which assumes that you at least already own the Camera,
will not be available for preorder at this time. Update: Sony’s performed an about-face here and has decided to make the core bundle available for preorder on Tuesday, March 29 at 10AM ET.
Launch lineup and spec talk after the break.
As is the case with all major video game hardware launches, you’re probably wondering about the initial games lineup. Sony says over 230 developers are currently producing content for PS VR, and the company anticipates more than 50 titles to release between the headset’s October launch and year’s end. You can preview a number of launch window titles in a video posted after the break. The most exciting PS VR game currently in the works is one from DICE: Star Wars Battlefront is getting retrofitted for virtual reality.
If you’re all about specs, this is for you. PS VR’s final hardware unit sports an internal 5.7-inch OLED display with a 1920×1080 resolution and 120 refresh rate with super low latency (under 18ms), it has an approximately 100 degree field of view, an accelerometer and gyroscope, positional tracking with 9 LEDs and 360-degree head tracking, 3D audio with a stereo mini jack and mic input, and a HDMI and USB interface. Gameplay is output to both the headset and TV, so if friends are over they can see what you’re playing on the big screen. In addition to supporting PS4 VR gameplay, PS VR also packs a Cinematic Mode that enables non-PS4 VR titles to be played on it plus Share Play, Live from PlayStation streaming, and Media Player support. Sony has yet to confirm if video streaming from content providers like Netflix and Hulu will be supported in this non-VR mode. Stay tuned!