Last week I talked about how PS VR was the Poor Man’s VR and how that was a good thing. You can read why I felt that way here. After you’ve read that, assuming you haven’t, come back and continue reading this to see how PS VR holds up against Vive.
Trying the HTC Vive
Done? Good! While Playstation VR is a much cheaper system in price, this begs the ultimate question of what kind of quality you could hope to expect from a significantly cheaper device; especially when it’s running on hardware that is nowhere near as powerful as the systems that would be running the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. This last Saturday, on the 24th of September, I went to a Microsoft store near the downtown area of Tampa. I was joined by one other member of Rising Shark and another friend, both of which tried the HTC Vive Demonstration that was set up in the Microsoft store. You can check for demo locations near you here. The demo consisted of three different games that would be cycled through over the course of 10 minutes. I can’t say what games are at other locations or if they play different demos during different days, etc.
The first game I got to try was Space Pirate Trainer where you use the HTC Vive’s headset and motion controllers to look out from the top of a space ship landing pad as drones come out in waves to shoot at you. The headset wasn’t uncomfortable and felt natural. The controllers didn’t feel awkward in my hands. The aiming and everything about it felt surreal but altogether enjoyable and immersive. The second game I played was TheBlu, a VR experience type of game where you are standing underwater on a sunken ship as fish, stingrays and eventually a whale swim up close, nearby, and past you. You do nothing, you can’t interact with anything, only move around and look around. Absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking, and peering up to see the rays of sunlight from the surface was pretty amazing.
Last, but not least, the third game I tried was Tilt Brush where you use the controllers as giant ink brushes and choose different paint types to paint the area around you in a 3D space that you could move around and see from all sides. It’s just a paint tool, however it was a very interesting and unique paint tool. I did, however, feel like the paint brushes weren’t shooting out ink where I was aiming at first but that changed after a few moments with it.
Overall the games looked great and they played great, with my favorite definitely being the Space Pirate Hunter. During my first try at the game, I pulled out the shield and went to put several rounds into an enemy with my gun from behind the shield but ended up killing myself immediately as the bullets bounce off the shield and hit me. In my second attempt I managed to get up to Wave 7 which I’m pretty proud of. PS VR is definitely a tool I’d love to eventually have, however, that price point is definitely a hold up when we’re still playing with experimental games, demonstrations, tech demos, and very short experiences and not full fledged games. At least, not yet. I should mention that while wearing the headset, if you held up your hands while holding the motion controllers, you’d see digital representations of the controllers almost exactly, if not precisely, where they actually are in front of you, including how near or far they are from you too.
Does PS VR Holds Up Against Vive?
The following day, Sunday, the 25th of September, I went to a Best Buy that is much closer to me with the two people I brought last time. We were there to try Playstation VR this time. Upon arrival we were told that this location wasn’t doing the motion control VR games, and that typically Gamestop locations with a PS VR demo do the motion control demos. If you’d like to find a location to try out PS VR you can find locations near you here.
Their setup had a TV with a Playstation 4, a PS Camera and PS VR system connected to it with a chair situated about 3-4 feet away from the TV. They had 5 games to choose from and you’d only play that one for the duration of your time with the demo, which was about 10 minutes as well.
The choices were:
- Headmaster (a sports VR game)
- EVE Valkyrie (a space-ship flight and dogfight simulator)
- The Deep (a Shark cage VR ocean experience)
- Battlezone (a tron-esque tank simulator)
- SUPERHYPERCUBE (a puzzle game of some kind)
Kayla, the other member of Rising Shark and one of the founders of the site, tried Battle Tanks because she wanted to try a First-Person Shooter in VR. It looked super fun, can’t say how it played as I played EVE Valkyrie, as did our friend who joined us. The headset, just like the Vive, also felt natural but lighter and in my opinion it was more comfortable. The game looked gorgeous on the Playstation 4 system and felt very immersive, as when you looked down, your character’s hands were flight joysticks.
I should note that I was using a Playstation 4 controller and that in this game I couldn’t see a virtual representation of the controller like I could in the Vive, however, in Battlezone, I noticed on the TV screen that Kayla could see a controller in front of her face when she would lift up her controller to see what buttons were what. She doesn’t play much more than MMORPGs, so you’ll forgive her for not knowing her PS4 controls. Overall the two games I saw looked to be running very well, however they were demos. Visually they were stunning, especially EVE Valkyrie and The Deep, which someone was finishing up playing as we showed up to the demo location.
I loved both headsets, and I’ll eventually want to have both but for now, even though I do most of my gaming on a PC and would rather have all my games on there as they typically run better and look better, my vote is definitely strongly on PS VR. Overall I think the performance was there enough that I didn’t feel like it would be cheaper in quality than the HTC Vive, and the price is significantly cheaper. With these experimental types of hardware, it’s hard to get people interested in trying or even developing for something that is so innovative and new. Most everyday gamer isn’t going to go buy a Vive or an Oculus as the price is substantial, along with the fact that the everyday gamer probably won’t have a powerful enough PC to play anything on their headset. The PS VR requires a $300 gaming system and a $400-500 headset. To be able to experiment with VR, try out new tech without spending Thousands of dollars, I think PS VR is the way to go. However, if you’re an enthusiast and already have a top of the line, overpowered PC, get the Vive or the Oculus. By all means. You probably already have one anyways, if that’s the case.
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