What critics are saying
|$399, from Sony|
In a year that has already seen the arrival of virtual reality headsets from Oculus (the Rift) and HTC (Vive), another major player is entering the arena. Launching October 13th, Sony's new PlayStation VR offers a slightly more affordable (though slightly less technically capable) virtual reality gaming option, bringing VR to PlayStation 4 owners rather than just PC gamers.
What do you need to use the PlayStation VR? About $400, a PS4 console (obviously), and a PlayStation Camera peripheral (not so obviously; it doesn't automatically come with the VR headset). Almost everyone will also want to pick up some 2010-era Move controllers (another additional purchase), which make the experience of controlling gameplay in VR a bit more seamless. (A $500 bundle includes the camera, controllers, and PlayStation VR WORLDS game.)
You'll also need to buy some VR-enabled games. Over 20 titles are available at launch—most notably, Batman: Arkham VR, Driveclub VR, Rez Infinite, and Until Dawn: Rush of Blood (see full list at the bottom of this page)—with another 30 or so due before the end of the year. Many of the games available at this point, however, are either fairly basic, brief, or both.
Below, find quotes from professional reviewers of the PlayStation VR hardware itself. (Click on any publication name to read the full review.) Scores (converted to our 0-100 scale) are listed only if one has been assigned by the publication itself; otherwise, we have grouped the reviews into rough categories, from most to least positive.
Extremely positive reviews
At launch, the latest member of the PlayStation family can generate unforgettable experiences, and the headset’s few flaws don’t compromise that fact. More than merely a glimpse at the future of gaming, PlayStation VR is powerful and evocative in its own right. It’s a fully featured, well-considered device worthy of both the PlayStation name and being an ambassador for VR.
The argument for PlayStation VR: it’s the friendliest, visually clearest, most affordable of the initial lot.
PlayStation VR is simply the best virtual reality headset you can buy right now. It’s cheap while not compromising on performance and quality. The headset is simply stunning and incredibly comfortable to wear, and the games already available are some of the best VR experiences I’ve ever played.
In a way, it's incredible that a virtual reality experience this good is possible on the PlayStation 4 at all. At its best, PlayStation VR approaches the quality of the current state-of-the-art PC-based VR headsets at a fraction of the price. The fact that the PlayStation VR is much more comfortable and has better optics than those competitors, that it can be easily set up in a living room, and that it comes with the significant software publishing muscle of Sony all make it instantly compelling. Still, the middle-of-the-road approach comes with compromises on both ends.
For anyone who's been excited about the lofty promises of VR, Sony has delivered a worthy wired experience that's comfortable for both your noggin and your wallet.
I can’t tell you whether or not Sony has done enough to convert the skeptics or start a VR revolution that will transform the gaming landscape forever, but what the company has done is release an incredibly solid platform and peripheral that have successfully revived my interest in virtual reality.
I really like using the PSVR, but I don't know if I'm still in the honeymoon phase. It really depends if more compelling software continues to churn out. As much I enjoy jacking into that false reality, I still find it more relaxing and enjoyable to play a standard video game.
Nothing has changed -- VR is still a luxury, but right now Sony has the most potential in hooking people in. Even at its worst, the PlayStation VR is a competitor.
Although PS VR is definitely the cheapest and easiest way to get VR, it's not necessarily the inherent trade-offs if you want the ultimate VR experience when it comes to visual fidelity and immersion - the HTC Vive has it beat on that.
Even with everything it does to make virtual reality more accessible and affordable, PlayStation VR isn’t for everyone. It’s still several hundred dollars, requires a fair amount of set-up, and there are still only a handful of games that run smoothly, with no technical issues. But if you haven’t used VR much, the PlayStation VR will blow you away.
While the PlayStation VR isn't as technically capable as its competition, it's a much more sensible option. But it's still not quite a must-buy product just yet. ... Even if you're intrigued by virtual reality, it's worth waiting for prices to go down and for the overall market to settle.
PS VR is the first video game advancement in years that feels genuinely new and exciting.
The full-fat PC VR experience has been nipped and tucked in terms of core technology and visual accomplishment, but the sense of presence required for a top-tier virtual reality experience is undiminished and there's plenty of promise in the initial launch line-up. Bearing in mind its price in relation to the competition, PlayStation VR is a remarkable achievement - especially bearing in mind that it manages to outscore its much more expensive rivals in key respects, principally in terms of comfort, fit and finish. ... [But] as much I enjoyed my time with it, there are three significant arguments against investing in it right now.
So, assuming you’re a well-heeled adult gamer with some technical savvy, lots of space in your gaming room, and comfortable with the concept of being almost completely disconnected with the real world – I can’t stress this last point enough; you’ll be able to see nothing and hear little of what’s happening in the physical space around you so long as you’re jacked into PSVR – is Sony’s first foray into virtual reality worth considering? Yes. It absolutely is.
My only reservation in recommending a purchase is the reliability of the head-tracking. ... Nonetheless, it carries off most of the best features of the Vive and Rift, and even makes improvements in areas such as usability and comfort.
Playstation VR is the first virtual reality system any regular person should bother with.
PSVR is an excellent VR experience. Its shortcomings are the kind you only notice if you’re looking from a critical angle, or have a lot of VR experience, which it’s likely you don’t.
Despite its relatively low resolution it looks very good in games, and the headset is comfortable to wear and easy to use after you’ve dealt with its many wires. Paired with the Move controllers it provides good but sometimes flakey motion tracking on your hands, but the PlayStation Camera’s limited viewing angle is a weakness, and so is its inability to see behind you.
For an introductory level VR headset, the PSVR is a fantastic device and an even better introduction to the world of Virtual Reality.
The biggest unknown though is how much of a difference PS4 Pro will make and whether you can afford that as well. But many of the experiences we’ve played on a normal PlayStation 4 are already very good, and extremely encouraging for the future.
Playing the range of impressive launch titles, it’s immediately apparent that the hardware doesn’t provide the resolution seen on the Rift or HTC’s Vive. However, a slight sacrifice in fidelity does allow for something considerably more important to the VR experience – thanks to impressive frame-rate, games here move smoothly, staying fluid even at speed.
The PlayStation VR offers the best balance of price, power, and features we've seen in the category yet.
The promise of where developers will take this experience in time is enough to get me to fully recommend the PSVR as it currently is, but even at launch – with over 50 games due out by year’s end – it’s well-worth the investment for gamers. Even more so if you already own a PS4.
Setting up the PS VR has proven a troublesome project, especially with Camera placement and calibration, and that is worrying considering it will invariably attract plenty of less tech savvy customers. But the pay-off at the end is a superb virtual reality experience - and an accessible one to many.
PlayStation VR is not perfect, but you could point to much, much worse first-generation products than this. Sony's headset is light and comfortable, and for the price that it's being sold for, it offers a very good virtual reality experience on consumer-grade hardware that you already own. The motion tracking is excellent, the visuals good enough to provide that all-important sense of presence, and the game library already fairly large.
The system itself did a great job handling the VR software but I was less than pleased with some of the peripherals working alongside the headset.
While there are certain areas that PSVR doesn’t match up to its more expensive virtual reality brethren, the differences are nowhere near what you might expect. And the trade-off is worth it, as PSVR also provides the most affordable, accessible and comfortable headset on the market. ... If there is a device that will take virtual reality into the mainstream, then PSVR is it.
When it comes to the best virtual reality experience on the market, the crown still belongs to the Vive with its room-tracking capabilities, with the Rift delivering a solid stationary experience. However, PlayStation VR offers a value and ease of use that will make it the de facto VR device for the millions of gamers who already own a PlayStation 4.
It's hard not to walk away impressed. ... However, PlayStation VR's lineup feels like those launch day options players see whenever a new video game console arrives. There's no one game that really stands out.
PlayStation VR is impressive piece of hardware, but I have some issues. Tracking is weak, the screen has some distortions on the outside, and some of the rubber flaps are uncomfortable against the skin. But, overall, Sony has done exactly what it needed to do: it proved it could do high-end virtual reality for consumers at a reasonable price. This system works. It’s fairly easy to get started. And it has features that no other device does.
There’s no one game that justifies buying PlayStation VR, and no technical breakthrough that will revolutionize how you experience the medium. But it offers a balanced, interesting launch catalog and a headset that’s a joy to wear, with weak points that hurt the system but don’t cripple it.
Sony has wisely traded technical capability for something VR needs much more right now: broader appeal. PlayStation VR moves it out of the realm of expensive geek tech, and into something that fits in an actual family room.
While nothing about the PSVR can be said to be better than the headsets that Oculus and HTC turned out earlier this year—other than ergonomics—that’s not what matters. Not at all, in fact. What matters is that this thing works in your living room. What matters is that it’s comfortable, immersive, and intuitive.
It’s surprisingly impressive in some areas, but it also has some issues. ... Despite [various] little technical deficiencies, the biggest issue plaguing PSVR is motion sickness. ... As a VR fan, I want PSVR to succeed, but it trips up too many times to wholeheartedly recommend at this point.
Playstation VR—and VR in general—requires a huge buy-in for a series of relatively brief and sometimes disappointing experiences.
The lower screen resolution and reliance on a single camera motion tracking system will put off those who have experienced Vive and Oculus Rift, while newcomers will still find the cumbersome headset itself a major barrier to enjoyment – even if it is relatively comfortable. The games are mostly demo experiences that show of scintillating possibilities without exploring them any deeper, and already the limits of the hardware set up are being exposed – especially by more spatially demanding titles.
PlayStation VR is inferior to the competition in several significant ways. It’s also less expensive and easier to use, and for all its flaws it still manages to communicate the goofy, surreal joy of modern virtual reality. Time will tell if that makes it good enough. Best to wait and see.
Among the three premium virtual-reality devices — PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive — the PlayStation device is the only one I would recommend for consumers who are eager to dive into virtual reality. ... But for the average consumer, the thrill of virtual-reality gaming with PlayStation VR may be fleeting. Initially, virtual reality will probably mesmerize you because it’s so unlike any gaming experience you have ever had. But the scarce number of good games available today, combined with the fatigue you will experience after 30 minutes of game play, may drive you back to gaming on your smartphone or television screen.
The PlayStation VR headset is far from a perfect device. Tracking has its issues with the dated PlayStation Camera and Move controllers and the visual fidelity is lower than that of its primary competitors, but what it lacks in technical prowess it makes up for in accessibility, affordability, and a streamlined focus on quality content.
As a device designed to trick your brain into think you're somewhere you're not, the PlayStation VR is an incredibly effective little peripheral. Despite how much I try to intellectualize the VR effect after fitting the visor onto my head, my lizard brain takes over, and my cynicism melts away. But even with the ability to slip into dozens of virtual worlds at my fingertips, I still can't shake the feeling PSVR's physical construction amounts to a clumsy first step—but a necessary one, to be sure.
What do you think?
Do you have the PlayStation VR yet? Are you planning to purchase one? Let us know in the comments section below.
You can also check out reviews for PSVR-compatible games such as:
- 100ft Robot Golf
- Ace Banana
- Batman: Arkham VR
- Driveclub VR
- EVE: Valkyrie
- Harmonix Music VR
- Hatsune Miku VR: Future Live
- Here They Lie
- Hustle Kings VR
- Loading Human
- PlayStation VR WORLDS
- Rez Infinite
- RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
- Super Stardust Ultra VR
- Tumble VR
- Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
- Wayward Sky