The PlayStation VR headset has the tech and gaming communities all a quiver as it, along with rivals like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, points towards a huge shift in the way video games are played and a massive virtual reality revolution.
Hands-on: PlayStation VR review
First demoed at GDC 2014 as Sony's Project Morpheus, PlayStation VR now has a release date and price, after all was revealed at Sony's E3 2016 press conference.
Read on to find out everything we know...
PlayStation VR: Release date and price
PlayStation VR is set to cost $399, and will hit stores on 13 October 2016 - just in time for Christmas.
Andrew House, CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment, explained that the company chose the late launch date to accommodate demand.
PlayStation VR will immediately work with the 46 million PlayStation 4 consoles in homes worldwide, and Sony has signed on more than 230 development houses to create VR content. These studios, range from small indie operations to big names like EA.
PlayStation VR: Design
The consumer edition matches the 2015 Project Morpheus model in keeping its predecessor's Full HD 1920 x 1080 display, but ups it from 5-inches to 5.7-inches, which gives a 100-degree field of vision. It also features RGB subpixels, which help smooth out the image.
A more important upgrade here is to the refresh rate, which runs at a 120Hz instead of 60Hz - higher than both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive's 90Hz. Early games won't natively run at 120 FPS - instead the PlayStation 4's reprojection software will add an extra "tween" every frame to make it feel like they are, but the overall experience should be silky-smooth.
Other additions include an upgrade of the number of head-tracking LEDs on the unit from six to nine, and a halving of latency times, which combine to make lag a thing of the past.
The headset itself is said to be comfortable, with the majority of the unit's weight resting on the top of your head, and it's even usable when you're wearing glasses. There's a quick-release button that makes it easy to get on and off, and it's the only VR headset we've seen so far which doesn't look like it's a climbing accessory.
PlayStation VR: Hardware
Sony PlayStation VR will, of course, hook up to the Sony PlayStation 4. The PS4 is at the very beginning of its life cycle so it's malleable, and its AMD graphics processor has been built to handle stereoscopic 3D processing.
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However, Sony has created a secondary box that connects to the PS4 via USB and HDMI, to handle the specifics of the headset's operation. A nice feature of the box is that it also includes HDMI-out, so you can connect a screen and see what the user's experiencing without any distortion.
Sony has suggested that it could develop a wireless version of the VR headset; Senior game designer Jed Ashforth said the company would "never say never" when questioned about the possibility of a wireless Project Morpheus.
PlayStation VR: Motion tracking
PS VR uses the PlayStation Camera to provide tracking and is able to locate the back of the head as well as the front so users can look directly behind them. The camera tracks the VR headset around 1,000 times per second providing a seamless experience.
In the demos that we've seen so far, PS VR games have been controlled using the standard DualShock 4 controller, which is spatially aware - along with the PlayStation Move paddles.
PlayStation VR: Games
Sony has announced a raft of triple A titles at E3 2016 that are set to get the PS VR treatment including Batman Arkham VR, Resident Evil VII Biohazardand Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission.
That joins PlayStation VR demos from the Tokyo Games Show, which included Final Fantasy XIV from Square Enix, Hatsune Miku, Summer Lesson and Danganronpa VR.
Sony also had PlayStation VR on show at Paris Games Week and there were some meaty game announcements including Gran Turismo Sport, Tekken 7 and Robinson: The Journey.
PlayStation VR rivals
- HTC Vive reviewHTC’s headset shows us just what VR is capable of – but it's still for early adopters
- Oculus Rift Consumer Edition first impressionsOculus Rift is missing key ingredients to make it a fully realized VR experience
- Razer's open source HDK 2 VR headsetGet the open source Vive and Rift rival soon
Check out the boxout on the left for our pick of the confirmed titles - there's plenty to get excited about.
In terms of PlayStation VR launch games, Sony has confirmed the following titles will be available on day one:
VR Worlds £29.99
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood £15.99
Super Stardust £15.99
Hustle Kings £15.99
Tumble VR €9.99
Speaking as part of a panel at PlayStation Experience in December, Shuhei Yoshida, Worldwide Studios president stated the big ambitions for core games on the platform.
“We've been showing experiences that are intentionally passive and easy on people to make sure that everyone who tries has a great time," he said.
“We've been doing lots of experiments, and discovering lots of great stuff. Some of the experiences are quite fast, and we are surprised at how we don't get sick. that I can't talk about that gamers will enjoy."
You can watch the full panel discussion:
PlayStation VR: Accessories
The PS VR Aim Controller was unveiled at Sony's E3 2016 press conference and promises to let you aim and take fire in your immersive world. It's set to be compatible with new indie FPS title and PS VR exclusive Farpoint, which is described as 'an unnerving space adventure set on a hostile alien world'. There's no news on pricing for the add-on or whether it will land alongside Sony's virtual reality headset in October.