PlayStation Virtual Reality, more commonly referred to as PSVR (and previously known as Project Morpheus), is about to make headlines again. March 15th marks the date of a highly anticipated PSVR event where both the price and release date for the device are likely to be revealed, which has gamers of all ages buzzing.
If you don't know a lot about PSVR yet, you'll want to catch up- this device will truly bring us into the next generation of gaming. See, while the concept of virtual reality has been around for a long time, nobody has really been able to harness technology in a way that makes for a truly immersive virtual reality experience. PSVR is a headset filled to the brim with all sorts of sensors and scopes that track head movement with pinpoint accuracy, allowing you to look around in real life but see everything in the virtual world. When combined with motion-sensing peripherals like the PlayStation Move, players have amazing control over their character's body.
You may have heard of the Oculus Rift, which was the first mass-market(ish) virtual reality headset to offer an experience like this, but PSVR is looking to improve on that concept even more- most importantly by making it easily accessible to consumers. PSVR will hook up to your PS4 just as quickly as a new DualShock 4, and from there you can play a whole host of VR-enabled PS4 games or dive into a slew of titles developed specifically for the headset.
So just what are these games? While there hasn't been a single "must-have" title announced yet, the list of PSVR compatible games is growing all the time, and every title looks like it has something fun and unique to bring to the table. There's the expansion to Until Dawn, entitled Rush of Blood, that will immerse players in a scary survival-horror world; the dogfighting excitement of Ace Combat 7; the wonky fun of 100ft Robot Golf (which is exactly what it sounds like); the innovative dungeon crawler Golem, which has you controlling monsters with things as subtle as eye movement; and a sprawling MMORPG world to discover in Final Fantasy XIV.
As you can see, some of these titles are going to be groundbreaking never-before-seen experiences, while others will allow us to enjoy classic experiences in a whole new light. Either way, PSVR will be worth it.
One word you hear a lot when it comes to video games is "immersion." Gamers want to be sucked into the games they're playing to the point where they forget that they're sitting on a couch and instead feel like a part of the virtual world on the TV. It's safe to say that no gaming peripheral to date has promised as much immersion as virtual reality. Having to duck down in order to avoid enemy gunfire, or crane your neck to catch sight of the massive dinosaur that's hunting you down, will had a whole new layer to gameplay that can't be matched by anything on the market today. It's definitely going to feel weird going back to a TV and controller after driving a record lap in Gran Turismo courtesy of your racing wheel and VR headset.
If Sony makes a nice profit when PSVR finally drops, you better believe that Microsoft will start looking into making their own VR headset (they have already announced plans to make the Oculus Rift compatible with the Xbox One). Of course, we expect Sony to be the real winner when it comes to offering the best gaming VR experience. What this means for PSVR owners is that better games and technology will come out on Sony's platform as they strive to keep gamers from going over to the One for their VR fix. Ultimately, when there's competition among businesses, the consumer always wins.
The Social Aspect
Wouldn't it be great to see a virtual version of PS Home? Gaming is becoming more social than ever thanks to online connectivity and social media support, but VR is going to take things- once again- to a whole new level when it comes to social gaming. Anyone who sees your VR headset is going to want to give it a try, and thanks to a nifty feature that plays the headset's feed on your TV, friends can gather around together and share the experience with each other, passing around the headset (or even using two headsets to go head to head) while everyone waiting for their turn bobs and weaves with the person actually controlling the game. And if you're the type of person who's been trying to get your girlfriend to figure out FPS controls or convince your dad to play a game of Madden with you, what's more accessible than using basic body movement to get into the game? Everyone from little kids to grandparents will be able to have a great time with PSVR, and that's very exciting for the medium as a whole.