Review: Sony Delivers Worthy Virtual-Reality Experience

Sony isn't the first to make virtual reality a reality, but in waiting, the company has delivered a worthy experience that's cheaper, more comfortable and more convenient than the two high-end systems already out.

That could help boost a technology that's had a rocky start.

After four years of anticipation, Facebook's Oculus business finally shipped its high-fidelity Rift VR headset in March, only to encounter massive delays in fulfilling orders. And Oculus still hasn't said when it will ship motion controllers to enable VR experiences that don't require users to sit down.

HTC and Valve, meanwhile, jointly came out with a more immersive system (with controllers) in April, but their Vive system requires users to free up an entire room and hang annoying sensors on walls.

The goal of Sony's system isn't so much to broaden the appeal of VR beyond gamers; after all, it comes from the company's PlayStation gaming business and requires a PlayStation 4 game console to work. But Sony delivers where it matters most to hard-core gamers. And PlayStation VR, which comes out Oct. 13, retains the social aspect of gaming in letting friends watch on a television set what the VR user sees in the headset.

Cheaper Among the Pricey Bunch

While VR can be experienced through a cheap headset like the $15 Google Cardboard or Samsung's $100 Gear VR, those systems don't deliver the same level of graphics and realism as the Rift, Vive and now PlayStation. For one thing, they don't have sophisticated position tracking to let you move around a room rather than just swivel around in a chair.

The PlayStation VR's $400 package comes with the headset, cables, crappy headphones and a disc filled with demos. Another $100 gets you a required camera for motion tracking and a pair of Move motion controllers. A PlayStation 4 is necessary...

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