Opinion: Stop Calling PlayStation VR ‘Affordable’

These guys could probably afford it.
These guys could probably afford it.

Please. I’m begging you.

Stop calling PlayStation VR affordable.

I’m looking at you. And you. You too. And countless others.

Yes, yes, I know: The mention that PSVR is affordable is followed by countless asterisks. Caveat after caveat is employed if people would only read the dang article! But they don’t. Games media needs to do better. Games media needs to be outright honest with its readers. Simply backpedaling and providing mea culpa‘s is not adequate when we’re talking a thousand dollar set-up.

Here are just a few of the caveats listed by those calling PSVR “affordable”.

It’s only $399 (USD)

Well, sure. In comparison to both the HTC Vive and Oculus’ Rift, PSVR is heavily discounted, especially compared to the former. But this is by no means outright “affordable” when one could pick up a competing console for that price or less.

Not to mention the fact you’re forgetting this requires the PS4 to function, which can easily set someone back another $300 or $400. Starting from scratch? You’re now in the same price range as the competitors.

You’re forgetting something…

A PlayStation camera is essential. Not optional. Essential. At $60, this is an add-on one might not expect he needs.

Most games are further optimized for Move controllers. While we never thought we’d say that after the year 2013, here we are. These aren’t essential, thankfully, but they do enhance the experience of the games we’ve dabbled with so far. Add another $60 in if you don’t already have one of these gathering dust somewhere, won’t you?

Space, man.

VR games are BIG. The very, very short Batman: Arkham VR comes in at 8GB. That’s for an experience that’s maybe an hour long.

The bizarrely fun RIGS: Mechanized Combat League takes up nearly 20GB of space while Until Dawn: Rush of Blood is about 12GB. These comprise the “meaty” VR offerings thus far but each is massive in filesize.

That’s not to say there aren’t great experiences to be had that take up less space — Thumper comes to mind — but when even the Demo Disc takes up 30GB, you know VR games are going to eat hard drive space. Time to start investing in a bigger hard drive…

I can't wait to get tangled up in all these cords.
I can’t wait to get tangled up in all these cords.

And not just virtual space

It’s easy to think of gaming, especially VR, as just digital. But PSVR invades your real life like no other set-up on the market, with no less than a billion cords.

(Editor: We count seven or eight, depending on how you count these.)

That’s a price to pay that others won’t have to. And pay you will: Whether it’s angry glares from your spouse or an investment in products to help you conceal all those cords, You Will Pay.

It Isn’t All Bad

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a PSVR Believer™. So far, this is my favourite VR experience, notwithstanding its picture quality compared to the Vive.

Those other VR experiences require rigs that aren’t cheap, either. But it’s counter-intuitive to call PSVR affordable, or even cheap, when there are hidden costs like no other.

A better headline might read: PSVR is affordable if you already have a PS4, a PlayStation Camera, Two Moves, and no animals that chew EVERYTHING.

That wouldn’t get clicks, though, would it?

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