The differentiator in the 'console war' is now Sony's incredible VR system.
Slowly but surely more and more of the Mobile Nations team are getting to try out PlayStation VR. Thanks to Sony's presence at the recent Insomnia 58 gaming festival in the UK I had the chance to go face-on with it.
My experience was so good that the next day I bought a PS4 so I'm ready for the next step. I already own, and love, the Xbox One, but I believe that PlayStation VR is now Sony's killer feature.
I'm not a regular VR user, but I am familiar with the major players and have had some form of experience with them. If you look hard and try to compare, then it's clear that PlayStation VR doesn't have the visual fidelity that Oculus or Vive enjoy. It's also half the price of those other headsets and doesn't require a beefy PC to run.
When you take that into consideration and remember that this is powered by a current generation games console and a few extra bits and pieces, it's mind blowing. Inside that headset you're enjoying a good looking, immersive experience that doesn't disappoint. This is VR for the masses, and they're going to love it.
The demo I played was "London Heist," where you and your East End gangster pal are on the road in your getaway van after a dust up with some Russian heavies. It's definitely not one for the kids, yet the colorful language is hilarious. It's also a good example of how VR titles can differentiate from regular console ones.
This is VR for the masses, and they're going to love it
Using the Move controllers, which are represented by a pair of hands inside the game, you can interact with everything in the world around you. There's a cup in front of you and an empty can, and you can pick both of them up and manipulate them, and throw them across the van. You can change the station on the radio, alter the volume, open the glove box and so on.
When the action heats up you aim your weapon by moving your hands in space. When you're out of ammo, you use the other hand to pick up a clip and insert it in the bottom of the gun. All simple stuff but makes a shooter infinitely more exciting than just aiming with a controller. As does peeking through an open door and the reactions of the other character when bullets whistle past his face.
What of the headset itself, though? I really like it. It's lightweight and very comfortable to wear. Adjusting it for focus is a doddle and standing or sitting I could imagine longer sessions in it without feeling much discomfort. It looks pretty front heavy from the outside, but once on it feels well balanced.
It's easy to see how much I loved the experience by the fact that I owned a PS4 within a day of my trial. I didn't have a massive amount of time with PlayStation VR but it was enough to convince me of what I'd been thinking before. The cost of this and a PS4 is less than a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift on its own, which is extremely appealing.
But above that it's a more casual product without delivering a sub-par experience. The whole family will get a kick out of it and the draw of developing for PlayStation is already substantial. That you don't have to think about hardware upgrades, too, adds to the appeal. If you're a current PS4 owner you only have to decide if you like VR or not.
This product is Sony's killer feature from October. Microsoft has teased VR support with Project Scorpio, but that's at least 12 months away. Sony has a full year's headstart with a well priced product that offers a terrific experience. One that will generate a whole raft of VR fans the world over.