Why do I need the PlayStation VR camera?

The PlayStation VR Core Bundle, which would have set you back about $400 already if you managed a pre-order, doesn't come with a camera or Move controllers. What's the big fuss? Why do you need that older hardware with your VR experience?

PS4 camera

Sony decided to make things a bit easier on their customers by incorporating existing tools into their VR setup. The camera is what provides motion tracking for the head and hands — wherever they go in real life so too will they move in virtual reality. Many of you can probably relate to the thrill of motion tracking with the Move controllers, whether showing your moves in Just Dance 2015 or competing against buddies in Sportsfriends.

Head tracking is key to a good time

Head tracking with a camera while you're gaming in VR is where things really start to pop off; it's also practically required. The Oculus Rift DK1 didn't feature a camera, and users would experience drift as they played. The game thought your head was in one spot while it was actually in another, and the entire experience was quite unsettling (and quite often nauseating). This was rectified in the Rift DK2 with the inclusion of a camera, and has carried over to the Rift CV1.

The HTC Vive's motion tracking system is a bit different. It uses two boxes known as lighthouses that emit (invisible to us) light throughout a room. There are no cameras, but there are sensors in the headset and controllers that pick up the light and relay exactly where in the room they're situated. It's a different approach than PSVR and Rift cameras, but it works really well.

Gaming with the PlayStation camera

Without the PlayStation camera there would be no hand or head tracking, and the overall experience would be less than satisfying. Your movements in the game would be erratic (you'd be using a standard PS4 controller instead of the Move controllers), your head would be floating somewhere a few feet over your shoulders, and you'd be feeling pretty sick due to the disconnect.

PSVR Aim controller

Thanks to the camera, you get to experience precision tracking that really immerses you in the game. Say you're playing a shooter — you actually have to hold the controller (like the fancy and unreleased PSVR Aim controller pictured to the right) up to your face in order to aim down the iron-sights of your virtual gun. If you're enjoying a sports game — say boxing — you're going to need the camera to pick up the quick movements of not only your hands, but also your head as you do your best Ali impression, bobbing and weaving away from your opponent's fists.

Are you sold on why the camera is required? Speaking of sold, do you need to pick one up to complement your PSVR core bundle? They're available right now on Amazon for about $50. Remember, the PSVR launch bundle comes with everything you need, including the camera and Move controllers.

See at Amazon

Your PlayStation VR experience

Do you already have a PS4 camera sitting around? Did you go in for the launch bundle to ensure you have everything you need? Let us know all about it in the comments section below!