I wish I could tell you that I wasn’t fooled by my mobile VR experiences before I got a PlayStation VR, but that’s just not the case. I not only judged a book by it’s cover, but the cover was from a book of a different series with the same name.
I remember thinking that the PlayStation VR would be the thing to make VR accessible to the average household. That it would let VR make its transition from being an expensive novelty item to common place in gaming. I feel like I nearly nailed that prediction! While the starting price point for a PlayStation VR bundle is still high, it’s generally cheaper than the cost to build a VR ready PC and then add on your VR headset of choice to that cost.But is the PlayStation VR worth dipping your toe into the virtual waters? You tried VR on your phone once, isn’t that the same thing?
No, it’s truly, madly, deeply different in the best way! For those who aren’t into the technical side of gaming it can be easy to assume that all VR headsets are created equal.It’s also easy to assume that playing a game on your phone versus PlayStation maybe wouldn’t be too big of a difference given the game is being presented to you in the same way physically. Especially when you consider that some phones pack a mean punch for running games now. Even if you are into the technical side of gaming like myself, you can still be bamboozled by a bad experience on a different platform. Whatever VR you may have tried with a mobile device is likely not going to be the same experience you’ll have with a dedicated VR setup like the PlayStation VR.
My own time spent with phone VR applications nearly put me off VR entirely they were so bad.Choppy framerates in a game on a phone that doesn’t have the pizzazz it needs to run the application can trigger all kinds of gross feelings in your body.I had messed around with non name brands units and the cardboard VR sets that you put your phone in, or as I call them, “Low Budget Eye Destroyers”. I had taken a stab of time with a Samsung Gear VR headset and ordained it the “Mid-Range Stomach Slammer”. Neither had left me with the best literal taste in my mouth and I thought that PlayStation VR was leagues beyond what my body could handle. Even when it wasn’t the games quality I had issues with, I couldn’t find a VR headset that didn’t give me a tension headache or was comfortable enough for me to want to use it. If I can’t handle the cheap version without wanting to remove my brain from my skull how can I ever justify upgrading to the PlayStation VR?
I get motion sickness, have chronic migraines, and as an added challenge my poor little eyeballs need glasses and can be super sensitive to light. I’m not the ideal VR player I thought. I assumed that the twenty-four hours of migraines and sour stomachs that followed using VR were just what happened to some people and I just so happened to be one of those people. *Womp, womp!* But I also have terrible tendonitis that makes playing traditional games difficult and I’ve been eager to find ways to overcome that so I kept pushing.
While I really wanted in on this new way to play, I was hesitant to drop that much cash on something that has an above average chance of making me puke on my shoes. The biggest thing I noticed upon putting on the PlayStation VR headset for the first time was that it didn’t make me instantly sick like the mobile VR units had done. I did feel some tension straining in the back of my head, but after adjusting the fit and a few short play sessions my body recovered from that with ease and its barely an issue for me now. The second and most glorious thing is that the PlayStation VR allowed for me to adjust the headset for when I was wearing glasses, a feature often missing or not variable enough to be useful in knock off mobile headsets.
Yes, there are some games that make me a bit woozy. Games where my character walks like a traditional first person game tend to make my body sway a bit. Hilarious to see for those watching me play, but not too hot when my cat is running underfoot! When I had tried first person games on mobile VR setups the application stuttering would make my eyes hurt. More often than that, the controller mechanics tended to be iffy at best or movement would be based solely on the direction you looked. One instance was a game that required me to look at my feet to move forward! Not an awesome vibe when you’re trying to escape wild animals in the jungle. Needlessly to say, while there are games of quality for mobile phones and VR, a good portion of what you’ll run into when you’re experimenting lack the polish they need to really sell the platform. At least that was the case for me. Other games like Beat Saber I can play for an hour or more with no trouble at all before I need to step away. For me, Beat Saber is the most fun style of a VR game because the world is all in front of me and I only have to shift left to right. While the gameplay itself can be pretty high energy, it’s not in a way that I have found to trigger nausea or any other uncomfortable reactions.
In closing, if you are curious about VR gaming try it first on a PlayStation VR. Or even one of the big names on PC before deciding whether you are for or against it. Popping your Android into a cereal box may work for you, but if you find yourself feeling less than awesome don’t rule out the whole concept based on that alone. There are some that will be able to dabble with the low entry point headsets and have a great time and that’s amazing! But if you really want to be in on the VR scene, don’t let a few free applications on your phone be the thing that turns you away from it for good.
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