The PlayStation 4 VR headset is set to hit the market later this year, but don’t expect it to be a financial drop in the proverbial bucket. When the PS4 originally released in 2013, it came bundled with some rather nice peripherals. The DualShock 4 and the PS4 camera were part of the package.
Eventually, Sony decided against packaging the camera with the console in a bid to challenge Microsoft to do the same with their Kinect 2.0. After a horrible launch based on some of the worst PR a console was ever released with, the Xbox One finally began gaining ground when Microsoft dropped the device and the price of their console.
The PS4 vs Xbox One console war finally evened out about two years later, after Microsoft announced that the Xbox One would be made backwards compatible with Xbox 360 games — gradually. Sony’s refusal to follow suit may have cost them the lead, as rumors of remastered last-gen titles eventually proved to be vaporware. For PS4 owners hoping to play Batman: Arkham Asylum or BioShock, they’ll have to settle for renting it through PS Now, or just keeping that PS3 a while longer.
The console war may be about to shift its tide once more, with the PlayStation 4 VR headset giving what are already impressive visuals for a console a much more in your face (literally) experience. It’s not known how many older titles will be made compatible with the device, or if they already are. Ben Gilbert of Tech Insider says he’s been using it on occasion over the past two years, so many of the games we already have might be instantly compatible.
Imagine pulling off a leap of faith in Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, or a shadow strike from a huge distance in Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor, and the PlayStation 4 VR headset could easily be one of the most sought-after gadgets in gaming history.
Don’t expect to plop down a small wad of bills for Sony’s new peripheral though. Facebook’s Oculus Rift is $600, while the competing Vive from HTC and Valve is $800. Both of them require PC systems so new that you probably can’t use them on a computer bought in 2014. Admittedly, PS4 doesn’t have quite the resolution of a PC, so the visuals might not be as impressive. That’s not stopping Sony from asking for a relatively “fat stack” for the PlayStation 4 VR headset.
— Rick King (@RickKing16) March 11, 2016
The currently estimated price is around $300 to $500, which is about the cost of the console itself, or the HDTV you’re playing it on if you settled for less than a 50 inch screen. Sony’s VR headset sports a 5.7-inch OLED display with 1920 x RGB x 1080 resolution, a 120Hz refresh rate, a 100 degree field of view, an accelerometer and gyroscope, positional tracking using nine LED lights, 3D audio, and the usual HDMI and USB ports.
There has been no official price announced, but Sony execs have stated that the PlayStation 4 VR headset will be “priced as a new gaming platform.” Technically, that makes it the least expensive VR headset yet, but the technology inside it isn’t cheap.
There have also been ridiculously expensive consoles before. The CD-i console had a retail tag of around $700, ironically similar to the PS3 when it launched, and it basically did the same thing the original Xbox did. $600 to $700 is around the same price range as the other competing devices on the market.
Yes, virtual reality is coming to the PS4, but it’s not going to be cheap. Do you think the price will be too high for the average console gamer when the PlayStation 4 VR headset releases later this year?
[Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]