Monday, October 17, 2016

Virtual Reality is Real (part 1)

Last Thursday, Sony released their new virtual reality (VR) headset to the public. I've been skeptical about virtual reality ever since we all started hearing about the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive, and other competing VR devices. The motion-controlled games that were a passing fad back with the Nintendo Wii were at first taken seriously by Sony with their "Move" controllers and even more seriously by Microsoft with their attempt to make their "Kinect" motion-controlled device mandatory with the purchase of their Xbox 360. Microsoft continued to stubbornly insist upon this despite massive gamer protests against it and dismal sales until they finally relented months later and offered the Xbox without it. Motion-controlled games are now seen as a fad and a failed venture, so it's very easy to understand the reluctance of these companies to get behind VR, and even easier to understand the hesitance of gamers to invest in it. The PlayStation VR headset isn't cheap, running at about $400 for just the headset and $500 for the bundle that includes the camera and two motion controllers. Thankfully, I already had the camera and motion controllers, so I bought only the headset (which I learned was a bit of a feat, since my pre-order for this was apparently rare and available during only a very small window of time earlier this summer.) The night before release, I went online and downloaded a lot of the free VR offerings, since I hadn't decided which official game to get yet and wanted to wait for reviews. I later bought and downloaded PlayStation VR worlds, and this week I'll cover my initial impressions...

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