Hardware Review: PlayStation VR

  • Publish Date: October 5, 2016
  • Comments: ↓ 23 user comments

Updated 10/11

What critics are saying

PSVR headset
PlayStation VR
$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.

Great Extremely positive reviews

90

PSU

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.

90

Time

The argument for PlayStation VR: it’s the friendliest, visually clearest, most affordable of the initial lot.

100

Trusted Reviews

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.

Positive Positive reviews

 

Ars Technica

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.

 

Associated Press

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.

 

BGR

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.

79

CNET

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.

 

Destructoid

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.

80

Digital Spy

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.

80

Digital Trends

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.

84

Engadget

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.

 

Entertainment Weekly

PS VR is the first video game advancement in years that feels genuinely new and exciting.

 

Eurogamer

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.

 

Financial Post

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.

 

Financial Times

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.

 

Gizmodo

Playstation VR is the first virtual reality system any regular person should bother with.

80

God Is a Geek

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.

85

IGN

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.

 

The Independent

For an introductory level VR headset, the PSVR is a fantastic device and an even better introduction to the world of Virtual Reality.

 

Metro GameCentral

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.

 

The Observer

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.

80

PC Mag

The PlayStation VR offers the best balance of price, power, and features we've seen in the category yet.

 

PlayStationLifeStyle

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.

80

Pocket-lint

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.

 

Push Square

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.

 

TechCrunch

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.

 

The Telegraph

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.

80

Tom's Guide

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.

 

USA Today

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.

 

VentureBeat

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.

85

The Verge

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.

 

The Wall Street Journal

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.

80

Wired

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.

Mixed Mixed/so-so reviews

 

GameSpot

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.

 

GQ

Playstation VR—and VR in general—requires a huge buy-in for a series of relatively brief and sometimes disappointing experiences.

60

The Guardian

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.

 

Kotaku

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.

 

The New York Times

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.

 

Upload VR

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.

70

USgamer

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.

Poor Negative reviews

(none yet)

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
. Battlezone
. 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
. SportsBarVR
. SuperHyperCube
. Super Stardust Ultra VR
. Thumper
. Tumble VR
. Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
. Wayward Sky

 

Comments (23)

  • jlplatten  

    Why are people arguing about a new way to play games? If you don't like it, don't buy it. If you don't even want to try it, then don't try it. I personally tried a demo and I'm sold. Getting mine today and super excited to try the various games. So many haters...

  • Kaprawiec  

    @GridironGuru "you've already lost that bet since it's over 40 years late, because that's the amount of time that VR has existed" - So? 3D TV's exist even longer. Your argument is invalid. Try reading with understanding before making another statement.
    Let me explain it to You as plain as possible - my bet is that CURRENT VR sets are heading the same way that CURRENT 3D TV's are. It won't be mainstream thing like consoles or HD TV's are. Maybe if they'll manage to put player in virtual reality world WITHOUT using those headsets and sticks then well get something that will appeal to mass.
    About system sellers - I can play all those games without VR headset. I remember guy advertising me VR headset years ago with "dedicated" quake 1. I got motion sickness and almost puked but I spend next couple of years playing quake (without headset).

    @JediL1c1ous - Good for You, young one. Lead us to the future
    Seriously I yet have to see the day that average Joe will be able to try VR headset for 500$ in friends house and then he'll run straight to the store to spend money on this marvelous technology.
    And so what that it's night/day better than old VR helmet? Like I said before its the same experience - for example if I didn't enjoy running in 80's then no new 2016 running shoes will make me change my mind, even if new technology makes it waaay more comfortable.

  • GridironGuru  

    @XRavishX

    Nobody wants the XBOX One or the One S, so that's not a good option. I have one. I'm not saying it's bad, but it's a non-mover now.

    4K TV is in its infancy, so people aren't all that caring about it, and any 4K TV you get for $400-$500 is going to be inferior with missing features.

    PS4 Pro is probably less sought after than the other two items right now, and Sony has yet to convince the public that it's something of substance that will make upgrading worth it.

    You say PSVR "seems" to be supar and overhyped, this indicates that you haven't actually tried it. You really should do that before making such a definitive conclusion, because without doing so you have no frame of reference.

    One last point... you said: "won't make anyone look stupid waving around two glowing, colorful balls on sticks."

    You don't even see them while you play. Secondly, if a person is so self-conscious that they're worried about how they look in the privacy of their own home, they have bigger internal issues to worry about than VR...

  • XRavishX  

    What the stupid is all this talk about PSVR being affordable? The thing is, what, $500? $100 less if you already have the camera and controllers. That's monsterous! It's the cost of two Xbox One (OG) consoles and nearly double a 500GB XB1S or normal priced PS4. Spending $500 for what seems to be a subpar gaming experience just seems like a waste. It seems like something that's being overhyped and overpriced like the Kinect and Wii motion controls.

    If I'm buying a console as my main gaming machine, chances are I'm on some kind of budget. If you're willing to spend $500 MORE on a console here are some things you could buy for that same price:

    -About eight $60 games.
    -An inexpensive 40-50 in 4K TV
    -A mid-high range video card
    -An XBox One S with a couple games, conrollers, or one of each
    -A PS4 Pro with a couple games, controllers, or one of each

    Any of those options are far more useful than a VR headset, won't give you headaches, and won't make anyone look stupid waving around two glowing, colorful balls on sticks. Whoever thought PSVR in this form was a good idea is a moron.

  • NinerJonny  

    Not interested...I'd rather play games the old way. VR gives me a headache...

  • JediL1c1ous  

    Wow... those must be some trolls! To compare today's legit VR with VR of the 90s is like comparing HD TVs (or even 4K) to old CRT TVs. It will be night/day better. Also (to Kaprawiec), if it weren't for PS VR, VR probably would slowly fizzle out. PS VR will make it mainstream, especially once people start trying it at friend's houses and realize how good it is, it will spread further. Cant wait until we get more and more full fledged games but for now there's definitely enough to enjoy. So glad I'm still young enough to be able to enjoy this new era of gaming

  • GridironGuru  

    @Kaprawiec

    I'm afraid you've already lost that bet since it's over 40 years late, because that's the amount of time that VR has existed. It's not going away, and now that it's affordable and easy to access by the public it's only going to grow. It will never overtake non-VR, but it will forge a profitable niche of its own and Sony will be the company to make that happen. PSVR is the beginning.

  • GridironGuru  

    @MintyMongoose said: "If you put PSVR up aginst the others VR set on the market it makes it look like one of the Cheap off brand products you find at the dollar store"

    That is false. Entirely. Let's talk about the mountain of things that are actually better on PSVR than on Rift and Vive:

    PSVR has an RGB subpixel display - Vive and Rift use inferior pentile displays

    PSVR has a superior screen refresh (120hz) - Vive and Rift are capped at 90hz

    PSVR is capable of 120fps both reprojected AND native - Vive and Rift are capped at 90fps

    PSVR uses high quality lense optics - Vive and Rift use cheap fresnel lenses, the exact kind that can be bought at the 99cent store, which produces an awful “god ray” effect.

    PSVR has little to no SDE due to the RGB subpixel arrangement - Vive and Rift (and especially Rift) have lots of noticeable SDE

    PSVR has touch controls day one - Rift's aren't on the market yet

    PSVR is more comfortable due to its precision adjustment system - Vive and Rift don't have this

    PSVR feels lighter because of its well-engineered weight distribution - Vive and Rift feel heavier despite being lighter in weight than PSVR due to their poor weight distribution.

    PSVR has a faster head tracking latency (less than 18ms) - Vive and Rift are about 22ms

    There is more, but I'll stop there.

    Finally, the word "gimmick" being used to describe a technology platform that has existed for over 40 years and used heavily in scientific research and simulation it completely dismissably ridiculous, but for whatever reason people use the word apparently not understanding how out of place it is.

  • Kaprawiec  

    @MintyMongoose - later part of what You wrote is exactly what I was thinking when I was writing my first comment.

    @GridironGuru - I know that writing something off before even trying it might seem dumb, but really, I tried VR games and i know that no VR helmet will EVER be something that I'd like.
    Just exactly like with anything else in this world - one doesn't need to ride on every bike ever made to state, that he doesn't like bicycles. I hope You get my point now?
    Back in 90's VR helmets was basically the same thing that they are now but with better graphics (obviously) and more precise/lighter etc. I didn't like the idea back then and as I grow older I definitelly won't like it now - but it doesn't mean You cant enjoy it.
    And we can make a small bet - I say that in 5 years from now this whole VR thing will be abandoned just like 3D television is now.

  • MintyMongoose  

    If you put PSVR up aginst the others VR set on the market it makes it look like one of the Cheap off brand products you find at the dollar store hell even Gear VR that uses a Smartphone has better resolution then PSVR the one tracking camera and the Wii style move sticks I just think VR is just the new gimmick that people will get board if you look at the sales of the other 2 VR sets are any indication it won't get the wide adoption that some people say and most of the titles are short tech demos I give it 6 months to a year before nobody cares anymore

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