When PlayStation VR buyers plug in their headsets next month, Sony wants them to get their footing with a real, physical demo disc. As explained in a blog post earlier today, PlayStation VR will ship with a free sample of eight games:
- Driveclub VR
- PlayStation VR Worlds
- RIGS Mechanized Combat League
- Tumble VR
- EVE: Valkyrie
- Wayward Sky
This list includes some of the titles that could drive PlayStation VR adoption. Driveclub VR is part of the PlayStation 4’s flagship racing franchise, while PlayStation VR Worlds is itself essentially a five-minigame showcase of what the platform can do. Sony hopes RIGS will become a VR e-sport, and EVE: Valkyrie was one of the Oculus Rift’s biggest launch games.
As a number of people have pointed out, a demo disc is a nostalgic throwback to the ‘90s and early ‘00s, when internet speeds were slow and trying a game before you bought it was standard practice. It’s not clear whether you’ll be able to download these demos without the disc, and it’s possible to interpret this as a sign that Sony thinks its network won’t be up to supporting a bunch of VR game downloads on launch day.
This may well be true, especially since we don’t know precisely how large these games will be. But there are at least two good reasons to put them on a disc. The first is that VR evokes a longing for the ‘90s in many people, and read-only physical media storage is starting to become almost exotic in itself. Unwrapping a disc is just more fun than navigating the PlayStation Store to find a demo.
The second is that Sony basically has one job on October 13th, and that job is to make using PlayStation VR as painless and foolproof as humanly possible. A disc can get people into the headset right away, with minimal wait time and ambiguity about what they should be downloading or playing. Granted, many people will already be getting a disc with their order: the $499 "launch bundle" — which anyone who doesn’t already own a PlayStation Camera or Move controllers will probably want — includes a full version of PlayStation VR Worlds as well as the demo. We’ll probably learn more about PlayStation VR’s launch lineup at Sony’s event tomorrow, where it’s expected to unveil two new PlayStation 4 consoles.