Console gaming started with 1967 and made its way up to the present, hugely influencing along the way the way people play computer games. From the legendary 8bit system and now the superb 3D & 4D graphics made, our gaming fantasies are closer to reality. With the constant innovation in technology, the hardware also upgraded. Today, the coolest thing that we’ll experience is the transformation of games from the usual console gaming to the dawn of the most awaited virtual reality revolution. The rise of the virtual reality world is here and it will surely blow our minds.
PlayStation VR: The whole shebang!
PlayStation complements their console flagship, the PlayStation 4, with a Virtual Reality (VR) headset which was called “Project Morpheus” on its early development stage, last September. The name didn’t quite make a punch for their marketing team because it’s a bit harder to spell, so they have decided to change it to “PlayStation VR”. If it isn’t cool enough for you, please share a better name for this project on the comments below.
Unfortunately, The PlayStation VR is only compatible with the latest PlayStation 4 – No luck for your old PS3. Sorry, folks!
The expected release date should be next year 2016 but Sony’s PlayStation didn’t make any announcement when exactly this huge project will be released. They would have really crushed this Christmas if they would have released it today!
Technology analyst says that the expected price range will be $400 if PlayStation will sell more units. They also predicted that there’s a big possibility you’ll get a bundled PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR for about $700.
PlayStation’s main contenders are “Oculus Rift” and HTC’s “Vive” that made a partnership with Valve to develop new innovations in the virtual reality industry.
The viewing experience
The PlayStation VR’s wide view screening is capable of rendering a top resolution of 1920×1080 pixel multimedia without dropping of frame rates. It has a 5.7-inch OLED display that can provide an equal of 960×1080 pixels per eye and which offers a wide field of view (about 100 degrees). The maximum refresh rate is 120 fps – A beast, indeed!
Super low latency
Low latency is vital for a superb VR experience; PlayStation manage to reduced its latency to a nearly less than 18ms, that is half of its prototype predecessor. This benefits the user to deliver comfort and a sense of presence to a player. In contrast, higher latencies would make you really sick in a very short amount of time, so kudos for Sony on this matter.
PSVR’s Social Screening feature refers to the ability to output to a supported television. This feature allows other gamers to view the gameplay experience and it also allows other people to join game servers, even though they are not wearing the VR headset. However, you’ll need a compatible title to make this work.
The PSVR’s cool controllers
The usual PlayStation 4 is equipped with a dual shock 4 Controller while its PSVR uses a PlayStation motion detection camera with sensor that detects movement from the headset’s 9 LED lights. The lights are strategically placed beside the 5.7-inch OLED display for efficient movement detection and orientation. The Sony’s acquisition of 3D gesture recognition expert SoftKinetic will make a way to further improve PSVR’s features in the future. There’s a big possibility that the next version of PSVRs are capable of gesture recognition and detection feature.
Currently, the PlayStation VR is wired to the PlayStation 4 using a hub that has ports for HDMI to help outputting its display on a television. If you are disappointed with this, then this will be a big change. The developers of PSVR mentioned about their future plans to develop a more convenient connectivity solution for the PS4 and PSVR. The development and planning phase for its Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity is underway and theoretically possible to be implemented starting with 2016.
What about the comfort rating of PlayStation VR?
Testers were amazed because the headset is very comfortable and they are loving it. “It’s easy to put on and take off, even if you wear glasses, and weight distribution is excellent.” – Zahra.
The incredibly high definition viewing experience at 120 fps refresh rate gives it a clear and crisp viewing experience. Also, the HD viewing experience will lessen the possibility of a user to suffer from motion sickness. However, a medical expert says there’s still a small chance for a user to suffer from motion sickness from PSVR.
Games from all over the world are excited to have this cool innovation. Some are even practicing the Virtual Reality experience on similar devices that are available in the current market, to help them prepare for the awaited moment, to get used to the VR world.
A small piece of advice though: too much VR experience may lead to problems like tiredness and nausea. Rule one before jumping into the fray – limit your VR exposure or you’ll be sorry.
Expected game titles that will be distributed on the PlayStation VR
These games are in the genre of sports simulators, space shooters, puzzle and experiential cooking. The new batch of games will eventually be added after the release of the PlayStation VR. Here are a few names:
- Albino Lullaby (Ape Law)
- Battlezone (Rebellion)
- Atom Universe (Atom Republic)
- Bedroom Robots / The Toybox (SCE Japan Studio)
- Adrift (Three One Zero)
- The Castle (SCEA R&D)
- Ark: Survival Evolved (Studio Wildcard)
- Cult County (Renegade Kid)
- The Assembly (nDreams)
- The Deep (SCE London Studio)
- The Gallery: Six Elements (Cloudhead Games)
- Harmonix Music VR (Harmonix Music Systems)
- Joysound VR (SCEE)
- Playroom VR (SCEE)
- Jurassic Encounter (Supermassive Games)
- Untitled (Just Add Water)
- Paranormal Activity VR (VRwerx)
- Crystal Rift (Psytec Games)
- Hyper Void (IN Framez Technology)
- GNOG (KO-OP)
- Godling (Solfar Studios)
- Cyber Danganronpa VR (Spike Chunsoft)
- The Hum: Abductions (Totwise Studios)
- Eve Valkyrie (CCP Games)
- The Idolmaster One For All (Bandai Namco Games)
- Fated (Frima Studios)
- Loading Human (Untold Games)
- Futuridium VR (MixedBag Games)
- Kitchen (Capcom)
- Headmaster (Frame Interactive)
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (Steel Crate)
- Get Even (The Farm 51)
- The London Heist (SCEE)
- RIGS (Guerrilla Cambridge)
- Magic Controller (SCEE)
- Shadow of the Beast (Heavy Spectrum Ent Labs)
- Mind: Path to Thalamus (Carlos Coronado)
- Surgeon Simulator (Bossa Studios)
- Trackmania Turbo (Ubisoft Nadeo)
- Nighttime Terror 2 (VR Bits)
- Hatsune Miku (Sega)
- Untitled (Beatshapers)
- VizionEck (VizionEck)
- Synthesis Universe (Olivier JT)
- Thief (Eidos Montréal)
- World of Diving (Vertigo Games)
- Wayward Sky (Uber Entertainment)
- Vanguard V (Zero Transform)
- World War Toons (Reload Studio)
- War Thunder (Gaijin Entertainment)
- Omega Agent (Fireproof Games)
- Pollen (Mindfield Games)
- Project CARS (Slightly Mad Studios)
- U.B.E. (Toxic Games)
- Street Luge (SCEE)
- Summer Lesson (Bandai Namco Games)
- Technolust (IRIS VR)
- SuperHyperCube (Kokoromi)
PlayStation VR contenders
Different innovations and developments in the gaming world have led different gaming companies to come up with new ways on how to bring gaming experience to a whole new level. Many have been introducing virtual reality, some even came up with methods for players to fully immense themselves in the game. As the competition goes tougher, several companies have decided to dive into the battle.
Here are the companies that are competing with Play Station VR in innovating the gaming industry with virtually realistic experiences.
Oculus Rift, developed by Oculus Virtual Reality, is a head-mounted head set which helps users to fully immense themselves into virtual worlds. Unlike Play Station’s VR head set, Oculus Rift can be used not only in gaming, but also in watching movies or different multimedia materials. When Oculus VR was still an independent company, they had raised $2.5 million for the development of Oculus Rift through a Kickstarter campaign. The rift is described as the “the first really professional PC-based VR headset” with 1080×1200 resolution per eye and 90 Hz refresh rate. A USB stationary IR sensor is dedicated for its positional tracking and usually placed on the user’s desk so it can be used while sitting, walking and standing in the same room. Oculus Rift is set to be released also next year on the first quarter.
It is a virtual reality HMD developed by HTC in collaboration with Valve Corporation as part of Valve’s SteamVR Project. HTC Vive has 90 Hz refresh rate and 1080×1200 resolution for each eye. It also has more than 70 sensors with accelerometer and MEMS gyroscope operating in a 15 feet by 15 feet tracking space while being used with “Lighthouse” base station. HTC Vive also has front cameras that identify any steady or moving objects within the room to warn the user of possibly hitting anything as part of their Chaperone Safety system. Due to this feature, the user’s room can be modeled and its settings can be saved.
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR is developed by Samsung Electronics together with Oculus VR. Samsung Galaxy devices such as Note 5 or Galaxy S6/ S6 Edge serve as the Gear VR’s processor and video display. The head set has a dedicated IMU for tracking and can be connected to the device via micro-USB. The IMU used in Gear VR is much more accurate than the IMU being used in smartphones. Samsung Gear VR has buttons and touchpad on the side of the headset as well as sensor to determine whether it is on or not. For a user to play with the Gear VR, his or her supported smartphone must connect first to Oculus app. Samsung has released the Gear VR last 2014 with its 360° view range. The head set has built-in buttons so the user can “navigate through the gear without taking it off” and Samsung developed the headset using data on human’s average facial features to create a more comfortable wearing head set.
Google Cardboard is a virtual reality device made out of cardboards intended for mobile phones. Google developed the platform to entice developers to venture in VR and VR applications’ development. The headset is developed by Google but there is no known official seller of the device. Also, Google has made the specifications and method of making one available on their website so people can make one by themselves. Basic components of Google Cardboard are, of course, the cardboard, some magnets and 45mm focal length lenses. According to the source, “once the kit is assembled, a smartphone is inserted in the back of the device and held in place by the selected fastening device. A Google Cardboard–compatible app splits the smartphone display image into two, one for each eye, while also applying barrel distortion to each image to counter pincushion distortion from the lenses. The result is a stereoscopic (“3D”) image with a wide field of view.”
Defining the future of gaming – The immersive playgrounds
It is a Virtual Entertainment Center located in the state of Utah that has a small dedicated team of engineers, designers and enthusiast who built a playground that will let their guests experience the revolution of virtual entertainment. It’s a fun and innovative experience that you won’t get in a tour at Disney World or Universal Studios. This new playground combines the element of virtual reality and physical environment blending them to create a realistic effect of water, wind and heat. The realistic feel will make their virtual reality experience more convincing. Their guests will experience themed environments like jungle, space, and fantasy.
The company plans to expand its business and create additional Virtual Entertainment Center around the world. They want to create another platform that will provide new entertainment hub where people (family and friends) will go to their VECs and enjoy their VR playgrounds – anything is possible inside the Void, the future of VR entertainment which will most likely be a behemoth in industrial success.
It is a 450 sqm warehouse and home to a virtual reality facility located in Melbourne, Australia that allows a team of six players to inhabit a virtual world that is infested with zombies. Yes, you will encounter herds of zombies that lurk around and will definitely try to eat your brains out. Better bring a friend or family for a better gaming experience – the more the merrier, right?
Zero Latency (ZL) uses the technology of Oculus Rift VR headsets to magnify the VR world to their players and monitored by 129 Sony PlayStation Eye cameras to map the movement of their players in the zombie apocalyptic VR world.
The ZL development team developed their own software that allows those devices to effectively communicate with each other and work together, blending both technology to create the renowned simulated world.
The funding of ZL came from crowdfunding campaigns, investment firms, the state government and from the pockets of their director, Mr. Scott Vandonkelaar. They had been working very hard to make this project a success for more than three years. Their early days were a tough time but they eventually push it through and reaping the success of their hard work today.
The company is planning to open up other virtual-reality facilities soon. Their persistent creativity, innovation and passion will someday open new doors for a world that can simulate surroundings without the use of headsets and backpack computers. For now, Zero Latency is most likely the closest thing that you can come to living (and running, and shooting) in a zombie infested world.