Recently I noted that during the early Black Friday sale on Amazon.co.uk, there was a Sony Playstation VR Starter Pack selling for £249.99. Bearing in mind the VR headset normally retails for £349 and the PS camera which is required for VR play costs a further £39, that package looked awfully tempting – particularly as it also included the VR Worlds game and Gran Turismo Sport, easily saving over £180 compared to when these are bought separately. Hence I bought one from Amazon, so my family and I could experience VR together.
When the box arrived, I was rather surprised at the number of items which needed to be connected together in order to use it. There is actually a processor box which bridges between the PS4 and the TV using 2 HDMI cables, is also connected to the PS4 by a USB cable, and by a two-in-one cable to the VR headset (with a provided extension cable). The PS camera needs to be placed on top of the TV and connected to the dedicated port at the rear of the PS4 console.
The starter kit comes with the VR headset, the processor box, the required cables and power adapter, the PS camera and the VR worlds demo disc, as well as the voucher code for the full version of VR Worlds. The Gran Turismo Sport disc came separately (not pictured).
Below are all the cables and adapters, boxes and accessories which need to be connected together in order to use the VR headset. Sony does provide number tags on these items to simplify the installation process – just follow the instruction manual and the numbers to connect them in the right order.
There is a screw at the back of the VR headset to tighten it on the head of the wearer – but I found that making it too tight was not a good idea as it made me feel the motion-sickness even more.
In the photo below we have placed the camera on top of our LG TV, and the camera can be angled up or downwards in order to have the person centered on the screen.
What I like about the PS VR?
- It is very realistic and makes the interactive surroundings look life-like – both my wife and oldest daughter were suitably frightened by the shark in VR Worlds.
- The headset is reasonably comfortable and not too heavy.
- It provides good entertainment to everyone in my family.
- When playing the VR Luge, you can really feel that you are moving and swerving about trying to avoid the vehicles on the road (both good and bad). Makes you feel that you are in a whole new world experiencing something you have never done before.
What could be improved?
- While the image quality is good, there is a very narrow angle to place the headset where it is in focus – need to get it right or else it will not be very sharp.
- You can see the individual pixels very clearly on the screen – hopefully in future generations, the pixels will be fine enough that you will not be able to tell them apart.
- Because the motion is so life like, some of us may feel nauseous as the eyes are seeing motion while the balance center does not feel this – which makes the body feel strange. But that is not the problem of the VR system and more the body’s reaction. Hence VR system is not for everyone.
Previously the Sony Playstation VR system was overpriced and would only appeal to those hardcore gamers looking for that VR experience. But now with this new package, it has made the system more affordable. We have all enjoyed playing with this, as it does feel like you are interacting in 3-D with the environment in the game. As I do feel motion sickness fairly easily, I did struggle with the VR Luge, but by steadying the headset with my hands I managed to complete the course – I suspect that one just needs to get used to this sensation in order to develop tolerance. The question is whether I would want to put myself through that experience again. But I shall try my hand with some of the other games, such as the included Gran Turismo sport, to see if I can stand VR racing. I have bought myself some travel sickness bands, just to see if it will help.
There is definitely fun to be had with the Sony Playstation VR, and whether it is worth it will depend on how prone to motion sickness you are. There are certain games which are less likely to be a problem, whereas first-person shooters with plenty of moving about and racing games will definitely be a challenge. But the fun factor in itself, coupled with the much more reasonable pricing, is enough to earn the Playstation VR Starter Kit a recommendation.