How does it feel to wear the PlayStation VR? Sony invited the press to try the final design for the headset today in San Francisco. Broadly speaking, the most affordable high-end consumer virtual reality headset feels comfortable and accessible.
The headset, which rests on the top part of the head like a visor, is sturdy but lightweight. A thin, rubbery flap juts from the hard plastic to prevent light from entering the headset when it's worn, pressing around your eyes, cheeks, and nose. The flap feels a bit cheap and didn't quite prevent light from sneaking in during my demos, though my lack of familiarity with adjusting the headset to my face was at least partly to blame. The rest of the headset feels as if it's been constructed with the same materials as the PlayStation 4's shell, lending it a tangible familiarity.
The headset is sturdy, comfortable, and sleek
The most important part of a VR headset is the display, and the PlayStation VR's display is fine. In demos, objects in the distance were sometimes blurry. 360-degree video was fuzzy enough to remind the viewer that we're still in the early days of virtual reality. But when playing video games, the fidelity is easy to forget.
Sony's game line-up is the most promising bullet-point for the PlayStation VR. We had a chance to try out a number of games, which will receive their own impressions, but know this: indie rhythm game Thumper has a shot at being the breakout hit of VR's early days. It's loud, twisted, and makes your entire body vibrate, like standing next to the speakers at a death metal concert.
It's unlikely PlayStation VR will be the most high-tech headset released in 2016, but at its $399 price point, it's a smartly designed and accessible option, reflecting Sony's decades of experience making consumer electronics. And Sony's established relationship with games makers and players could be the extra touch to make it a worthy competitor against its more expensive competitors.