PlayStation VR has been in the market for about 18 months now. Whilst PlayStation seem to be happy with the launch period, it’s been clear that there’s more that could be done in terms of the software lineup. Here’s six reasons why we believe that PlayStation VR is set to have its best year yet in 2018.
At launch PlayStation VR launched at a rather meaty pricepoint of $700 on our shores. For a niche item, this was a bit of a stinger for those looking to delve in and see what it’s all about.
At the time, the software was somewhat lacking and the tech was first-run, meaning there could easily be a number of issues to deal with. When compared to other VR headsets, PlayStation’s is actually extremely reasonable and it’s only just now become even more affordable.
The recently announced price-cut has seen the retail price for PlayStation VR drop to $419.95, though it has already been spotted in a number of flash sales for sub-$400 so there’s certainly value in the box these days.
300 STRONG LIBRARY
Make no mistake, not everything on the platform is going to be quality but the fact that PlayStation VR boasts a varied catalogue of over 300 titles, which is growing exponentially, proves that not only does Sony back in their hardware but that developers are on board, too.
The showcase I attended showed off over a dozen new games and experiences launching this year. From charming child-friendly tower defense wonders like Animal Force to music-crafting tools like Track Lab. There are even out of the box puzzle titles like the stylish Salary Man that add another string to PlayStation VR’s bow.
GAMES ARE GETTING LONGER
The first handful of PlayStation VR titles I got to play were very short-lived experiences, lasting only an hour or so in total. While they were incredible to behold at first, titles like London Heist and Arkham VR left us only wanting more and hoping that developers could one day flesh out these titles.
Fortunately, these days the standard has blown out to almost six hours which is pretty respectful for a medium like VR.
Games like Eden Tomorrow and The Persistence both boast six hour runtimes according to the team members I spoke to and I have to say, given the fact I still labour with motion sickness, I think it’s a pretty healthy runtime provided the price is right or the replay value is there.
AIM IS THE REAL DEAL
I missed Farpoint at launch as I found it tough to justify the peripheral for one game alone. Fortunately a number of games have trickled out since that make use of Sony’s own minimalist-looking light gun.
Doom VFR used it and the upcoming Firewall: Zero Hour, which has been warmly accepted as Rainbox Six: Siege’s VR sibling, is a stunning example of the attachment in use. It feels genuine and there’s a certain weight that’s added to shooting in a game when you can feel the grip in your sweaty little hand.
ALL OF THE CO-OP GOODNESS
One thing that pleasantly surprised me at the showcase I attended was how many developers were crafting experiences that featured co-operative play. Given the headset is an expensive piece of kit, it’s nice they’re going so far as to add a lot of asymmetrical co-op modes that sees a couched player playing along either on-screen or on a tablet.
The Persistence is a minimalist example of this where it allows a player to greatly influence the world at large by luring mutants toward the player, killing the lights or even being helpful by pointing out weapon caches. Though there are examples like Smash Hit Plunder, a very cute game developed by a husband/wife indie start-up team led by John and Katie, the latter of which was lovely enough to guide me through their tear ’em up. In Smash Hit Plunder, your sole task is to traipse through a castle, leaving a trail of broken goblets and crates in your wake in what is essentially a pixel-art treasure hunt. The second player here gets to play along in a stunning isometric view of the proceedings that is, arguably, as gorgeous as the game from within the headset.
Being able to share the experience with someone else without the need of another headset is certainly a nice touch.
NOT JUST GAMES
While most are going to indulge in PlayStation VR for its games, of which there are plenty, the hardware’s uses aren’t restricted solely to gaming in the traditional sense. A word that gets floated by a lot of the higher-ups is “experiences” and there’s a number of them that get released through VR; more often than not they’re licensed movie tie-in experiences that aren’t as interactive as you’d like.
But every so often, some cool stuff does sift through like a neat interactive Safari that I watched during the showcase. It drops you smack bang in the middle of the wildlands as nature’s most fearsome big cats, among others, stalk through the tall grass.
It’s intense and the kind of thing I dig seeing tech like this used for. Get David Attenborough to do the next Planet Earth in VR and you’re sitting on a damned gold mine, Sony.