PlayStation VR out in Singapore on Oct 13: How much and everything else you need to know

Here to stay or passing fad? We unbox the Playstation VR and sample the virtual world so you know what you'll be paying for.
A man plays a video game with Sony's PlayStation VR headset at Tokyo Game Show 2016 on Sept 15, 2016.
A man plays a video game with Sony's PlayStation VR headset at Tokyo Game Show 2016 on Sept 15, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

Has virtual reality finally hit the mainstream? That's what Sony will be hoping for as its PlayStation VR headset goes on sale in Singapore on Thursday (Oct 13).

Here's everything you need to know about it.

What is it?

PS VR and the other virtual reality headsets that have hit the market so far want you to feel like you're in another world.

They try to enhance immersion by putting the screens right in front of your eyes, via headsets, and then track your head movements and, with the help of peripherals, the motion of your hands and even body as well.

Turn your head and wave your arms in real life, and you do so convincingly in a virtual world as well.

How much will it cost?

 

The magic number is $649 - that's how much a bundle of PS VR with a PlayStation Camera will cost.

The camera is required for PS VR, but you may already have one lying around. It came out with the PlayStation 4 in 2013 and was redesigned this year, and sells separately for $79.

PS VR alone will cost $599, in a package that comes with the headset and most of what you need to get set up - a processor unit, headset connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, stereo headphones and a power cord and adaptor.

You'll need a controller - if you already have a standard PS4 controller, that works. If not, one is $67.90.

PlayStation Move controllers, which detect motion, also work with PS VR.

Of course, you'll need a PS4 console, which retails for at least $449.

If you're coming at this from scratch, that bill's beginning to add up to more than $1,000.

What games will be available?

Sony says that buyers will have 32 games to choose from on launch day. Here's where PS VR might set itself apart from the other VR headsets that have come out so far - there are real standouts among the 32.

For the fan of big-budget experiences, there are the likes of Rise Of The Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration; Kitchen, a VR chunk of the upcoming Resident Evil 7; racing game Driveclub VR and Batman simulator Batman: Arkham VR.

Exploring more experimental and interesting areas are Thumper, a "rhythm violence" game that offers "blistering speed and brutal physicality"; Rez Infinite, a cult psychedelic rail-shooter given a new lease on life in VR; and SuperHyperCube, a "first-person puzzler" where you rotate cubes to make them fit into a wall that's fast approaching.

The full list of games, along with what's available on a demo disc, can be seen here.

What are reviews saying?

Many impressions and reviews hit the Internet last week. Among them was Eurogamer's, which said that Sony got its hardware right and that PS VR outscores its rivals in "comfort, fit and finish".

But it sounded a note of caution about investing in PS VR as it lacks a killer game that "will change everything".

The Guardian, in a three-star review, said that "Sony's entry into the world of consumer virtual reality is an impressive start but it's not yet the affordable high-end VR experience some are dreaming of".

In a separate piece, however, the newspaper called PS VR a "remarkable, high-quality and wildly exciting experience" that made the reviewer feel like "the future has come early".

But you don't have to trust just these outlets. Enough websites have reviewed the hardware that detailed impressions and videos are only a Google search away.

What are the alternatives?

If you have just a games console and you're looking for a different VR experience, well, you're out of luck. PS VR is the only one on the market right now.

If you are rocking a high-end PC on the other hand, there are two titans to pick from.

One is HTC Vive - made together with Valve of Steam fame - which costs US$799 (S$1,100) with controllers and boasts room-scale VR as its selling point.

The other is Facebook's Oculus Rift, which, together with two touch controllers, come up to US$798.

Neither appears officially available in Singapore, and the respective sites are not shipping here either.