It’s 2021, and virtual reality headsets are much less of a niche product than they were just a few short years back. They’re still a way off challenging console sales for sure, but they’re hardly the purview of pulpy science fiction novels as they once were.
Today, we’re going to be taking a look at one of the best selling VR headsets on the market: Sony’s own PlayStation Virtual Reality headset. This isn’t a PSVR review. Its been 5 years since it first came out, and we’re going to provide you with a handy overview of everything that this headset still is, and what it isn’t anymore.
Of course, if you’ve not yet had the chance to give PSVR a whirl, it’s going to be worth keeping in mind that Sony hasn’t refreshed their VR line-up since 2017. Indeed, looking at the PSVR’s position in the market today will deal with a device that is, for all intents and purposes, looked down on as rather outdated piece of hardware in 2021.
The fact that it’s still on the market and (almost) fully compatible with the latest generation PlayStation 5 console, though, means that it remains relevant, even five years after its release. Sony already has its successor lined up for release next year.
Sony’s virtual reality headset, the PlayStation VR, is one of the most accessible ways to enjoy virtual reality games. If you are a console gamer, the PlayStation VR is your only choice, but that is not a bad thing.
Does the PSVR hold up to scrutiny? Is it still worth the asking price in 2021? Let us break it down for you.
A general overview
PSVR is one of the most popular virtual reality systems on the market, even today. For the most part, it owes its ubiquity to its accessible price-point of $300, give-or-take. Further still, if you’re already an owner of either the PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, and if you’ve got even a passing interest in dabbling in virtual reality, looking into Sony’s own offerings appears a no-brainer.
PlayStation VR originally came out in late 2016, and Sony has sold over 5,000,000 units since. There’s a lot of these headsets on the market, and we’re not particularly surprised to see that people are still interested in using them. The tech embedded into one of these headsets is, of course, beginning to look rather outdated at this point. Whether you end up getting the original model or its subsequent revision, it’s important to keep in mind that you’re not getting a cutting-edge device.
What you are getting, though, is a reliable piece of tech that is a joy to use even years after its release. Best of all, getting into VR through PSVR won’t even break the bank, which is more than can be said about most other VR headsets.
- Display Size: 5.7 inches
- Display Type: OLED
- Resolution: 1920 x RGB x 1080 (960 x RGB x 1080 per eye)
- Refresh Rate: 120 Hz or 90 Hz
- Field of View: ~100 degrees
- Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope
- Connectors: USB, HDMI
- Integrated microphone
- Weight: ~600 grams
- Features: 3D audio processing, Cinematic mode, Social screen
PlayStation VR – or Project Morpheus, as was its development title – essentially offers two modes of use. The first is used to run “native” virtual reality experiences, such as Beat Saber and Resident Evil 7 VR. These are dedicated, VR-exclusive titles, for the most part.
The second PSVR mode is more widely applicable to your entire PlayStation library: PSVR Cinematic Mode allows you to project your gameplay to a massive virtual screen, though the games themselves stay “flat” in virtual 3D.
Both use cases are remarkably fun experiences, don’t get us wrong, but it’s the dedicated VR mode that’s the real system-seller in our book.
As we already suggested, PSVR is no longer on the cutting edge of VR. That isn’t to say that it’s no longer a competent product, however. In fact, we’d go so far as to suggest that it’s one of the more reliable VR headsets on the market, even today.
Featuring dual 5.7” OLED displays with a resolution of 960 x 1080 for each eye, PSVR can make phenomenally good use of your console, no matter the model you might have. It goes without saying that a new PS5 would vastly outperform a baseline PS4, for example.
It’s not just resolution that you should be concerned about in VR, however. One of Sony’s best decisions in regard to PSVR was to go with displays that support up to 120 Hz refresh rates, and with a maximum field of view of 100°.
The combination of a high FOV and refresh rate works reasonably well in its effort to reduce the chances of VR motion sickness. Having said that, if you’re not familiar with the tech, you might experience some amount of dizziness before getting accustomed to it.
Original PSVR vs Revised Model: What are the Differences?
There are two models of PSVR on the market right now. The newer, revised model is lighter, comes with a superior cable assembly, and with integrated headphones. Best of all, it allows for HDR functionality without the need for extra cables, which was a problem with the original.
Keeping the above in mind, obviously, you should be aiming to snag the revised model, if at all possible. The easy way to tell the two apart is to check the packaging and look for a product code. The original model is ‘CUH-ZVR1’, while the superior revised model is ‘CUH-ZVR2’.
Alternatively, you can also check out the picture on the box. The refreshed model of PSVR comes with the headphones integrated into the headset, which is an easy feature to spot.
PSVR on PlayStation 5
At this point in time, we do know that Sony is currently working on a PSVR follow-up that will make better use of PlayStation 5’s hardware. That said, the first-generation PSVR is compatible with Sony’s latest home console, and the process of hooking the two up is reasonably painless overall. You can follow our set up guide here.
The caveat to keep in mind, however, is that you will need the PS4 Camera Adapter for PS5 for your VR headset to work. Sony is, thankfully, providing the adapter to everyone who requests one – at no additional charge.
A potentially bigger issue is that PSVR does not work with the new PS5 controllers. Instead, you’ll need one of the following:
* PS Aim Controller
* PS4 DualShock
* PS Move Controller
If you don’t have these yet, they often come pre-packed with PSVR kits, so look for bundles if at all possible. Alternatively, PS4’s DualShock controllers are still reasonably easy to get a hold of.
Overall, PlayStation VR is easy to get fully set up, and it’s easy to use. Sony has done good work on integrating the headset with virtually all of their relevant consoles, and you’ll be able to get it up and running with minimal fuss.
The headset performs admirably well, even in 2021, and investing in one grants you access to a library of over 600 unique games and experiences to purchase. Some of them, like the famously phenomenal Resident Evil 7 VR, remain exclusive, and impossible to play any other way.
- Easy setup
- Minimum hassle in moment-to-moment gameplay
- Decent enough specs, even in 2021
- Integrates well with PS4, PS4 Pro, and PS5 consoles
- A significant number of games to choose from
- Fairly affordable
- Comfortable to use
Naturally, there’s a number of downsides to PSVR that prospective users ought to consider, too. Unlike the newer Oculus headsets from Facebook, PSVR is a wired headset, and comes with all the problems that this may or may not entail in your case.
Sadly, PSVR is also infamously bad at detecting where your controllers are located. Not always, mind, but it can lose track of them at times, which leads to a less-than-desirable gaming experience.
Another potential problem is that, comfortable as it may be, PSVR has a small gap along the bottom edge of the face-mount that lets some amount of light in. Immersion-breaking, in some cases.
- Outdated hardware
- Doesn’t properly cover the user’s face at all times
- Spotty controller detection software
- It’s going to be superseded by PS5VR
Conclusion: Is PSVR still the right choice?
Overall, we do believe that PSVR remains one of the better choices for a prospective VR gamer. If you’re playing on a PlayStation home console already, of course.
It’s 2021, and both revisions of the PSVR headset are remarkably affordable on most marketplaces. Of course, some of the more modern devices outperform PSVR on basically all fronts, but none of them integrate with Sony’s consoles quite as well.
There’s a huge selection of games to choose from if you do end up splurging on PSVR, and we believe that this is where the device’s greatest strength lies. Sony has made sure that their PlayStation consoles have access to a number of exclusive experiences that you won’t be able to play anywhere else. In effect, getting a PSVR is the only way to get access to them.
Of course, a potential curveball to consider is the inevitable release of a proper successor to PSVR. Whether it ends up being called PS5 VR or PSVR 2, we’ve little doubt that it’s going to be superior to the currently available headset in every way.
Since there’s no telling when exactly Sony will release the next generation VR headset, our recommendation for PSVR stands if you simply cant wait.