PlayStation VR, the virtual reality headset that will work with any PS4, comes out on October 13. Starting at $399, it's by far the most affordable device on the spectrum of high-end VR.
Alas, it seems like it might not be 100% ready for primetime just yet, based on early reviews.
Video game journalists have had review units for a week now, and a common complaint among them is that the motion tracking is poor compared to the competition. And that has a pretty substantial impact on what you experience.
A PlayStation VR player using two Move controllers. Sony
PlayStation VR uses a camera attachment, which launched alongside the PS4 in 2013, to track your movement. Some games also require or support the Nintendo Wii-esque PlayStation Move controllers, which originally launched for the PS3 in 2010.
That means it's largely running on older technology, presumably as a way to keep it affordable. While early assessments maintain the tech basically functions, it sounds like it could be much better. Here are some examples:
Kotaku's Kirk Hamilton said that in every game he's played, the " in-game controllers are constantly moving even if I’m holding them perfectly still."
IGN's Dan Stapleton said he frequently stepped out of the device's bounds and complained about an inherent inability to turn around 180 degrees.
Vice's Austin Walker said it's been unstable and nauseating for him.
During their all-day PlayStation VR livestream, the Giant Bomb staff mentioned that in-game hand movements have been jittery and that PSVR can frequently lose sight of where the player's hands are.
In total fairness, PlayStation VR coverage hasn't been entirely negative. Most reviews are in agreement that the headset itself is a cut above the rest in terms of pure comfort, with Polygon calling it the most comfortable ever made .
Independent game critic Jim Sterling even said the motion tracking works fine for him — so not everyone is having the same problems.
It's still very early, but it seems as though the problem could be that PlayStation VR relies on a lone, years-old camera to track movement while something like the HTC Vive requires multiple sensors to be set up on the walls in the room.
It's impossible to make a definitive assessment on the device's tracking capabilities until more time has passed. Truthfully, like all motion devices, it will work for some people and not work for others because everyone has a different amount of space in their homes.
As of right now, however, it seems like PlayStation VR could prove problematic for some early customers.