Preorder: I pre ordered the psvr the first day it was possible to do so. I got to my local ebgames early, maybe an entire hour before it opened, thinking that the excitement I had would be shared by a gaggle of people. I expected to stand around in line discussing my hopes and dreams for psvr with other pre orderers. Instead, I spent an hour standing around a very quiet mall, smiling and nodding as elderly folks did their morning mall laps… (yep, that’s a thing.) When the store finally opened the staff explained that the preorders were not actually starting for another 90 minutes because they had to happen at the exact same time as wherever. I suggested they give me a number so I could go get a coffee, so they printed out some receipt paper and wrote a “1” on it… After drinking coffee and wondering why the heck I hadn’t brought my 3ds with me for an hour, I headed back over now expecting to see a line up that I would waltz to the front of. Nope. Nothing. No one. Just the usual shoppers, which at ebgames on a weekday morning means no one. Finally, the time came, there was still no line, and I preordered my psvr bundle, apparently first, and maybe only. I sent a txt to my two friends that were preordering also, and they had secured theirs online (amazon, best buy) and I wondered why the heck I hadn’t just done that too.
Waiting & Wondering & the PS4pro: Waiting sucks. I’ve never been good at it. But waiting for something that you only have an inkling as to what it will be like while everyday looking online for some information and still finding sadly nothing is worse. Worse than that? Learning that Sony is also launching a bigger and better ps4 about a month after the psvr that may or may not improve the psvr experience that you still have a very vague sense of what it will be like. I was left to wonder, apparently along with a lot of people, whether the psvr was worth getting before the ps4pro launches. And of course, getting both is a lot of money in the video game sphere, and there was still the process of trying to figure out which games to get on launch day. Will it be good? Great? Worth it?
Demo Day: I got an email from ebgames that there was going to be two days of psvr demos that would give me a chance to actually try the system. AMAZING! I arrived at opening to the store that had advertised the demo expecting there to be a line of people jumping up and down in anticipation. Nope. Store opened. I look around. Nothing to see. “Where’s the psvr demo?” I asked in as casual a tone as possible. “Hm?” the staff asked. “When is that supposed to be?” I pulled out my phone and without exploding showed him the email from ebgames. “Weird,” he said “no one has mentioned it.” He called another store. “Oh, it’s going to be at the Young street location around lunch time.” I think my eyelid twitched. “Ah, cool,” and off I went. Turns out that it had been going since opening at that store I learned when I arrived there at noon. I was the 5th person to try it out according to the sign up sheet. As I was signing up a guy was trying out the underwater adventure. His daughter was watching him and looking excited. I watched the screen and thought “Hm, the graphics look pretty dated…” When he was done and the psvr was off his head he looked at his daughter and said “That was amazing. Your turn!” The demo guy asked her how old she was. “Eleven,” she answered. “Sorry, no go, got to be twelve.” She ran from the store crying. The dad got up and ran after her. My turn! YAY! I had chosen Eve: valkyrie as it looked like far and away the best thing to try. It was awesome. It wasn’t complicated to put on and get a clear image. I could look around and see out of the sides of my ship! There was an amazing sense of depth. The graphics seemed a lot less important all of the sudden in light of the experience itself. Sold! I defiantly wanted to have this! My wife, who plays plants vs. zombies on her tablet and that’s it, was meeting me for lunch, so I signed her up to try the underwater thing. She really liked it, and afterwards told me that she could see why I was excited about it. Nice. (In retrospect I wish I had asked the guy why twelve was the minimum number, but I suspect he would have just told me that’s what he was told.)
More Waiting?!: Too much time elapsed during which I spent a great deal of time reading about cinema mode and wondering how good it would be. I have a 104” screen as I use a projector, so I was very curious if this would be a good substitute for the largeness if I chose to sell my projector and get a smaller (60” maybe?) 4k TV to give further credence to my desire to also get the ps4pro.
Game preorder: I finally decided on Eve: valkyrie, Battlezone, and RIGS. With VRWorlds and the demo disc bundled I thought I’d be fine with just Eve, but my friend was excited for RIGS, and I got myself excited for battlezone, so that was that.
LAUNCH!: I showed up at the store about thirty minutes before opening figuring I’d be the only person there. I was actually second behind a lady picking one up for her son. I told her that I thought that was very cool of her. She said she didn’t know a thing about it. Store opens and we make a line. Turns out that her son hadn’t preordered it, but no problem, there were units available. She had no idea if he wanted the bundle, and what games. There was a lot of texting and waiting, and texting, and waiting, and more waiting! Seriously?! GAH! It took her almost twenty minutes to find out he just wanted the headset and no games. Finally, my turn! Guy puts the bundle on the counter. No games. “My games?” I ask. “Oh, we haven’t got any copies of Eve yet.” “Really? Well, I also ordered RIGS and Battlezone.” “Oh? I don’t see that here. We didn’t get in any Battlezone either. We got in one copy of RIGS though, but it has already been gutted, so let me grab it for you from the shelf.” Nice. To Bestbuy! (Man, I really should have just ordered from Bestbuy. My buddy who did got his in the mail a day early!) They had tons of copies of every game for psvr launch at Bestbuy. Nice nice.
Work?: I had to go to work with my psvr in my trunk. I did my best to focus and stay on task and not daydream… “See you tomorrow!” I said as I scooted out the door many long hours later.
Setup: Setup was incredibly easy. Everything was numbered and the instructions could not have been any larger. Twenty minutes and I was playing.
Playtime!: My friend who got his a day early had actually decided he was returning it as he has a car hobby that needed the funds more, so I invited to come over to my place for a launch party! We spent the evening trying out all 3 main games, and a number of the demos. All in all we were both impressed by the time midnight rolled around.
Kids: I have a 7 and 9 year old who have now had about 5 10-15 minutes experiences with the psvr over the past week. They really like everything the playroom vr has to offer, and also find the launch menu environments in eve and battle zone neat to see. My kids really liked the job simulator demo and want me to get the whole game. (Apparently Dan TDM the Youtuber had an episode about it on another vr set a few months ago and it was great…) Neither of my kids have had any problems with their short play sessions other than the getting the headset on and off part. Also, when standing for some experiences I feel inclined to stay close as there is that long cord to potentially get wound in. They both think the psvr is amazing and are looking forward to trying the battlefront vr dlc. (I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out why Sony doesn’t want under 12 playing with he psvr, but the best I can see so far is that a lawyer told them that was a good age to set it at…)
Simulator/VR sickness: I have only had one real experience with this, and it was this past Monday after getting about six hours in with he psvr the day before, and most of that time was spent spinning through space in Eve. I did’t feel bad at all on Sunday. It was the next day that I felt off. Not dizzy. Not nauseous. Just off. Like off kilter… especially when I was working at my computer. I felt like I was working on a diagonal. It went away by mid-afternoon. I chalk it up to too much too soon, and haven’t had the sensation again. Of course, I also haven’t played the day away again either… (But I will, oh yes, I will!)
Games: Well, I’ve mentioned Eve at least six times already, so you won’t be surprised when I say that so far I think it is the best game on psvr that I have tried. The levels and lack variety, and there are only four class of ships to check out, but the gameplay is an amazing experience that really feels like something new. RIGS is extremely cool, but a little too sportsy for me. Also, a lot of the people I have played with sound like pretty serious sportsy bros, which brings out my desire to play a cool jrpg in vr even more. It’s a neat experience, but I would rather if it was a robotech/mechwarrior game… Battlezone is very smooth and arcadey. Easy to jump into and get playing, and because it all takes place on a flat plane, easily the least disorienting for getting used to vr gaming. It’s a bit repetitive, but the multiplayer works really well and everyone seems to be chatty while playing it. Also, I should mention that on VRworlds there is a pong like game where you use your head to bounce the ball back and forth with AI that is extremely fun. My 7 year old loves it.
Configuration: I have noticed that the alignment of the games does seem to slide out of alignment with my forward facing, but luckily you can almost always hit options on the controller and have the visual field recenter. I have spent some time trying to figure out why it get unaligned, and am still experimenting with light levels in the room, my distance from the camera, and calibrating the vr headset itself though the utility tool. So far nothing has been a complete fix, though I have noticed that things seem to be generally more stable (less jitter, less drift) when there is only a lamp on in my windowless room.
Grease: I want to mention that the psvr comes with a nice microfibre that I have been getting way more use out of then I ever would have expected. I find that I have to clean the lenses after every single use of the headset, and sometimes between matches in a game. I don’t know if it is condensation from my body head getting trapped, or oil from my eye lashes, but I had never even considered that the psvr would have these glass screens that need constant attention.
Cinema Mode: It’s good. Not great. Not a projector replacement. I watched the first twenty minutes of the force awakens on a simulated 225” screen and was impressed. I tried fallout 4 on the same and felt like everything looked muddy. Still curious if the ps4pro will improve this mode…
Week one is over: Tomorrow I will have had the psvr for a week. I have probably spent somewhere close to sixteen hours with it, and am still thrilled every time I get it on. It is hard to explain how neat it is to be inside a virtual environment and experience it. The games aren’t amazing, but the context is. I’ve always liked 3d movies and games, and this is a whole new level. I’m really looking forward to Farpoint! (I’ve always been a “light rails” sucker, but vr light rails?! YES PLEASE!) (Also, I am really hoping for a vr remake of that terminator arcade game… oh yes.)