I love the PlayStation VR but it needs fixing. Here are some ideas.
Currently, my only room scale VR is the PlayStation VR and I really enjoy it. The price point and the availability of the hardware to run it make it an excellent choice for anyone who wants to start their VR journey. After all, 40 million people already have a PS4, and with the PSVR being as low as $199 in some sales you can see why 4 million people have made the leap.
As more people get into VR though, the glaring issues that the PSVR comes with may start to erode its lead. With the arrival of Windows Mixed Reality, as well as the already popular Rift and Vive headsets, people are starting to understand what is expected of room scale VR. Here are a few ways how PlayStation VR is falling behind and how they can potentially fix it.
The biggest advantage that the Rifts and Vives of this world have is 360-degree tracking. Because they have light gates in up to four corners of the room they can create a much more immersive arena than the PSVR allows. When playing my PSVR games I stand with my legs touching my sofa behind me, after all, there is no need to have space behind me, I have no way to turn 360 only 180. This means in games such as Farpoint, Doom and even Rec Room you are unable to react as fast as people on other platforms having to use a button to spin you, creating a disconnect from the gameworld and sometimes, nausea.
For PSVR 2.0 Sony could fix this one of two ways, either light gates like Rift/Vive or, even simpler, another camera at the rear of the play area. Using a camera at the rear would mean adding some lights to the rear of the headset as well to allow the cameras to track better as you turn but would mean Sony wouldn't need to create a whole new system, simply add to their existing one, keeping the costs down in the process.
Currently, even using the PS4 Pro, the graphical resolution on the PlayStation VR is poor. While most games have been tuned to account for the lower processing power some games, Monster of the Deep for example, show the graphics to be mediocre at best. I'm not sure how much this can be fixed by Sony, after all, I think it is a console power problem, not a headset problem, but I do think there are things that would help.
Increasing the resolution inside the headset would instantly make the games more enjoyable, reduce eye strain, and sharpen the graphical quality considerably. Where the Rift and Vive use one screen per eye, each with a resolution of 1080 x 1200 pixels, the PSVR only has a single screen at 1080 x 960, and you can feel the difference. The PSVR will need to push the resolution up if it wants to compete in a room scale world. With better screens being made almost daily and Sony having a screen division this shouldn't be too difficult for them to accomplish and will go a long way to making the PSVR 2.0 a contender.
One of the biggest problems Sony have is the lack of processing power available in the PS4 or even the PS4 Pro. Without sufficient CPU or GPU power, the PlayStation VR will always lag behind. Short of creating an entirely new PS5, something I am sure they are working on, there isn't a huge amount they can do to boost the power, but boost it they must, if they want to push the PSVR into the big leagues.
Perhaps a larger processing unit, one that sits underneath the PS4, would help? It could house a separate GPU specifically for the PSVR to draw on while adding a series of ports to charge all the controllers that come with owning a high-end VR headset. This is probably the most pie in the sky idea in this article as, chances are, the cost to make this would be so high they may as well just make a new console. There is, however, one more thing that would change the PSVR for the better instantly.
Every issue I have highlighted here pales into insignificance against the mess that is the Move Controller. Originally made as a quick fix to the "Wii Problem" the Move Controllers are basic to the point of being unusable. Lacking any kind of thumbstick or even basic D-Pad, the Move Controllers are woefully underprepared for the intricacies of the VR World. Don't get me wrong, as far as basic controls go the Move sticks work, they just don't allow you to truly explore your world.
Please improve the Move Controllers.
With games like Rec Room and Sparc requiring you to have more control of the motion of your hands and more accuracy in your movements the Move Controllers need a huge overhaul if they are to be used in PlayStation VR 2.0, from the shape of the wand to the placement of the buttons, everything needs to be remade. The latest iteration of the Move Controllers did nothing to fix any of the issues except one, they gave it a micro USB instead of a mini USB. Great.
If Sony were to only deal with one thing, let it be this. Please improve the Move Controllers. Everything else in this article is a wish list really, things I would love to see to elevate the PlayStation VR to new heights, but the upgrade to the Move Controllers is a must. With Crossplay becoming the norm in VR we must have a parity in the control systems. The graphical fidelity is not really a block to competing across platforms, games like Rec Room barely think about resolutions and the like, but not being to aim or move as quickly as someone in a Vive is, and will remain so until the Move Controllers are fixed.
Fix it, Sony!
So there we are, my thoughts on what the next PlayStation VR needs to address to make it a true contender. Of course, my use of true contender is disingenuous really, as the Playstation VR is the undisputed king of VR sales, it beats every other headset combined and the reason for that is obvious, price. Price of the unit, at only $199 in sales for the headset and camera it's impossible to beat, and even the price of the companion, a PS4 or PS4 Pro, is far easier to get a hold of than a VR Ready PC and chances are you own a PS4 already.
That doesn't mean that Sony shouldn't be looking at improving the PlayStation VR in their next version, they absolutely should. I love the PSVR and want to see it succeed even further than it has. But please, Sony, fix these darn controllers. Thanks.
How do you all feel about the PlayStation VR? do you agree with the issues here? let us know in the Comments.