Remember that moment in Jurrasic Park when Jeff Goldblum’s Ian says “Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should?” That line pretty much sums up the history of virtual reality gaming.
For years, the only “virtual reality” devices available to the public were little more than digital snake oil. The few devices that offered even a hint of genuine virtual reality technology – such as Nintendo’s Virtual Boy – were often expensive, difficult to use, and simply not enjoyable. The rest were just scams.
As strange as it is to say, we really are living in the golden age of virtual reality gaming. There are multiple virtual reality devices on the market that offer a reasonable approximation of what virtual reality is supposed to feel like. There is no shortage of reaction videos out there that show just how impressed the average user is when they experience their first taste of virtual reality technology. Even better, there are a few virtual reality games out there that are worth playing.
If it doesn’t feel like we’re living in a golden age of virtual reality, though, that’s because most virtual reality devices aren’t a practical purchase for many people. Consider the HTC Vive. It’s generally agreed to be the most powerful VR device on the market and, technically speaking, the best VR device ever made. It also costs about $600 and requires about a $1000 computer to use. Even then, you’re going to have to utilize a messy and complicated set-up if you want to actually use the thing.
By comparison, the PSVR doesn’t offer much. It’s less comfortable to use, it’s not nearly as advanced, and its tied to the power level of the PlayStation 4. It shouldn’t be the leading VR device.
It is, though, for a very simple reason: it’s the only VR device that doesn’t demand a blood sacrifice to use.
Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but the point still stands. It’s possible to buy one for $200, you don’t need anything more elaborate than a PlayStation 4 to use it. and the device is remarkably consistent in terms of functionality. You can buy a PSVR device and actually use it for entertainment with little hassle required. You know…exactly like video games are supposed to work.
While the PSVR’s accessibility is currently responsible for it status as the market leader, its bright future can be attributed to the fact that Sony is committed to making PSVR appealing. Unlike Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, PSVR was made by a company that seems to understand that gamers will go to the devices and platforms that actually offer the best games. Already, we’ve seen Sony support a few VR games that actually feel like fully-fledged titles (Resident Evil 7 VR and Farpoint). The future looks even brighter as Sony has recently unveiled so many PSVR exclusives that there are currently more exclusives coming to the PSVR in 2018 than there are exclusives coming to the PlayStation 4.
For years, any desire to actually purchase a VR device was countered by the argument, “Why bother?” Well, Sony has taken the bother out of the VR gaming experience, and it’s time to start thinking of PSVR as one of the best gaming devices on the market.