“PlayStation virtual reality!” heralded a passing child to the lineup outside of the Best Buy at Bay and Dundas in Toronto. And based on the huge line that formed outside the store late Wednesday night, the kids aren’t the only ones who know what's up with Sony Playstation VR.
As of midnight, October 13th, 2016, the PlayStation VR (PSVR) is now available to everyone, and is turning heads in more ways than one.
Those who showed up early staked their claim to a piece of history: the first legitimate foray into home console VR. The last attempt was Nintendo’s Virtual Boy in 1995, and guessing by the number of people saying ”what’s that?” you can assume how well it went.
Fast forward 21 years and PlayStation is going up against VR heavyweights like Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive as a viable contender.
Best Buy’s presale tickets for both the launch bundle (including two Move controllers, the new PlayStation Camera and PlayStation VR Worlds [MSRP $699.99 CDN]) and regular headset [MSRP $549.99 CDN] got snatched up quickly.
While the PSVR is the most affordable of the three big name VR options, you wouldn’t know it to look at it: Sony is coming out of the gate with a beautiful piece of hardware, backed by their well-known developer partnerships (re: great games) and an installed user base of PlayStation owners (re: not leaving anytime soon).
What can you see?
Launch titles like Battlezone , Batman: Arkham VR , EVE: Valkyrie , RIGS: Mechanized Combat League , along with the promise of 50 titles by the end of the year (Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR, Final Fantasy XIV/XV, Gran Turismo Sport, REZ Infinite, Resident Evil VII Biohazard to name a few), are more than enough to get excited about.
However, the 5.7-inch OLED display with 1080p running at 120fps shouldn’t be missed either.
But what’s it like to play? Talking about virtual reality can only get you so far – luckily the good people from Sony were there for the launch, helping people to get first hand experience with the PSVR. With 15 options to try out, Battlezone (“definitely the most fun”) and EVE: Valkyrie (“visually stunning”) were the most requested.
A personal account
Of course I had to get my hands on one. The headset was super comfy, and for those of you with glasses, it fits right over top. I dropped into a round of Battlezone to see what all the hype was about. For a simple arcade shooter, it does a great job of immersing you right off the bat: a proper VR game with all angles covered, it’s easy to forget you’re sitting in a chair at Best Buy when you start moving your head to look around the inside of your tank. The game itself is simple (based on the 1980 Atari original), but lends itself perfectly to VR, taking the polygonal worlds to a full 3D experience.
The Sony PlayStation VR devoted who stuck around all night were rewarded with prizes: one lucky winner took home a PS4 bundle, while five others snagged Best Buy gift cards. However, anyone who waited to be among the first to get their hands on the hardware were all winners.
Here are more shots from the Sony Playstation VR launch at Best Buy in Toronto