Sony PlayStation VR: Essential guide to the hardware, games, release and more

Everything we know about Sony's VR headset - now on sale
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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.

First demoed at GDC 2014 as Sony's Project Morpheus, PlayStation VR is on sale now. Check out our pick of the best PlayStation VR games.

Read on to find out everything there is to know about PS VR.

Update: We've now published our full review of the PlayStation VR review, which should be your next logical destination. We'll be continually revising the feature below as new games and hardware appear before now and the holidays.

PlayStation VR: Release date and price

PlayStation VR costs , and hit stores on 13 October 2016 - just in time for Christmas.

The PlayStation VR Launch Bundle was up for pre-order in the States. It packed in the headset, a PlayStation Camera, two Move Motion Controllers, and a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds.

Whatever option you go for, you'll get the demo disc in the box and you'll be able to download Playroom VR for free.

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: Getting started

Sony PlayStation VR: Essential guide to the hardware, games, release and more

Obviously, you'll need a PlayStation 4 - that's a given. Take your pick from the original, the Slim or the Pro.

A compulsory item to get it working is the PlayStation Camera. The original PS4 Camera, the square blocky one, will work fine but Sony has also revealed a new curvy model to launch alongside the PS VR headset.

Amazon PA: Sony PlayStation VR

In terms of controls, your standard DualShock 4 pad will do the job - although there are additional controls if you throw a couple of Move controllers into the mix. Again, Sony is relaunching an old accessory in new packaging for the Move controllers, but your regular old ones from PS3 days will work just as well.

In the box you'll get a connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, stereo headphones and a power cord.

PlayStation VR: Hardware

Sony PlayStation VR: Essential guide to the hardware, games, release and more

As mentioned, Sony PlayStation VR will hooks up to the Sony PlayStation 4. Its AMD graphics processor has been built to handle stereoscopic 3D processing. The PS4 Pro should improve things further as the more powerful hardware will enhance Share Play and Remote Play, and enable higher resolution output for media recorded using the Share button.

However, PS VR's integrated display is 1920 x 1080 and does not support 4K output and there are no HDR features.

Another contender? Xbox One VR headset rumours and news

Sony has also created a secondary box (the Processor Unit) 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 PS VR headset.

PlayStation VR: Audio

When using PS VR you plug in your headphones directly to the headset to make use of the binaural 3D audio. This 3D audio makes it seem like noise is hitting your ears from different directions (including above and below you) and distances, making everything all the more real.

For example, if you hear a creak behind you and to your right in an FPS, you better turn and shoot.

You'll get a pair of in-ear buds in your PS VR box, but we'd recommend plugging in soem decent over ear ones for a much more immersive experience.

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. PS VR's latency is less than 18ms.

The headset measures in at 187 x 185 x 277 mm and weighs 610g (excluding the cable).

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 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: 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.

PlayStation VR: Accessories

Sony PlayStation VR: Essential guide to the hardware, games, release and more

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.

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 Biohazard and 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.

We're expecting more than 50 games before the end of the year, with over 160 titles from 230 developers and software publishers apparently in the works.

In terms of PlayStation VR launch games, these titles are all available now:

VR Worlds
Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
Super Stardust
Hustle Kings
Tumble VR

There will be a demo disc in the box with your headset containing 18 games in the US, 10 in Europe.

You can also play your non PS VR games within the headset using the Cinematic mode. This is a feature that presents a virtual screen in front of your eyes, 117, 163 or 226 inches, placed virtually at 6 – 10 feet away from you.


How we test

Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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