Is The Sony PlayStation VR Worth $700?

The virtual reality wars are heating up, with Sony confirming pricing and availability for PlayStation VR in Australia. Launching in October, the standalone headset will cost $549, which is roughly the same price as the PlayStation 4 console. However, to get the most out of the device, you’ll also need additional accessories which brings the total price up to around $700. Will it be worth the money? We take a look at the pricing and specs.

Formerly known as “Project Morpheus”, the PlayStation VR is Sony’s first serious foray into virtual reality gaming. Like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear VR, it transports players into three-dimensional worlds where the player’s real-life actions are mirrored in-game — turn your head to the side and the headset’s display will follow the movement, just as if you’re looking through the eyes of the character.

PlayStation VR specifications

The PlayStation VR uses a 5.7-inch OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a native resolution of 1920×1080 pixels (960×1080 per eye). One of the criticisms leveled at the PlayStation VR is that it will be hamstrung by the console powering it. Compared to an Oculus Rift on a high-end gaming PC, the PlayStation VR is going to struggle to compete graphically. However, this is also a strength — it ensures all users get the same experience without having to fork out thousands of dollars on cutting-edge hardware.

Here’s a rundown of the main specifications:

Display OLED
Screen size 5.7-inch
Resolution 1920 x RGB x 1080 (960 x RGB x 1080 per eye)
Refresh rate 120Hz, 90Hz
Sensors 360 degree tracking / 9 LEDs
Field of view 100 degrees (approx.)
Latency Less than 18ms
Controller Dual Shock + PlayStation Move

And here’s what you get in the box:

Early verdict

You can read one of my experiences with the device at E3 here. You can also see what the rest of the team thinks of PlayStation VR in the video below:

I’ve tried most of the current crop of VR headsets and for my money, PlayStation VR has provided the best gaming experience — at least when it comes to the current crop of tech demos and launch titles.

It’s also more favourably priced — the aforementioned Oculus Rift and HTC Vive will both cost in excess of $1000, while the $150 Samsung Gear VR requires a flagship Samsung Galaxy smartphone to run. If you already own a PlayStation 4, $549 is quite reasonable.

However, as mentioned above, some additional accessories are also required. At the very least, you’re going to need a PlayStation Camera to use the headset, which retails for $89.95 in Australia. Many games will also require one or two Move controllers (Sony’s version of Nintendo Wiimotes) to control character’s hands in-game. All told, you’re looking at a total expenditure of around $700.

$700. While this is cheaper than the competition, it’s still a lot for a video game peripheral — especially when it’s an unproven product category that might well flop. The video game graveyard is filled with failed peripherals that idealistic gamers wasted hard-earned money on. From the Sega MegaCD to the original PlayStation Move to every light gun ever created, most end up ignored and unsupported by their creators. That’s a pretty big gamble to drop $700 on.

On the other hand, it’s likely that most early adopters are hardcore gamers who already own the required gear. Sony has also confirmed to Kotaku that bundles will be offered for people who don’t own the other peripherals. Hopefully, this will bring the price down a little.

We’re interested to see what our readers think. Is $700 too high a price or will you be lining up on launch day? Let us know in the comments and by casting your vote in the below poll.

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