PlayStation VR is more than just a game

We came in to this year’s EGX with a few games that we wanted to play in mind. The PlayStation VR, for Alex (AKA ThinkBad), was one of the things that he couldn’t wait to play. We had to book a session with the VR, because it was so popular that you needed to secure your place in advance. We managed it, grabbing a session for 10:30 with our name on it. When we got there, I didn’t think that I’d be allowed to take pictures, let alone have a go myself – given that Alex had booked the session. But the guys who were running the session were pretty damn cool. They were happy for us to take pictures, and videos, and they even let me have a go on the PlayStation VR too!

We were set up with a game called ‘Kitchen’, which is a horror title – dashing my hopes of being a virtual Gordon Ramsay for the morning. Though ‘game’ is a pretty loose term when it comes to Kitchen – because you don’t actually do anything. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. In the game, you’re tied to a chair, with your wrists bound together. You’re made to hold the controller in your hands, with the headset and headphones on your noggin, and the controller is basically used to track the motion of your hands and wrists. At one point, you’re given the opportunity to knock over a video-camera in the game, by moving your hands with the controller towards it… but that’s it. No moving the sticks, no button mashing, you literally sit back and “enjoy” the ride.

I say “enjoy” because I was absolutely terrified for at least 98% of the experience. That’s because the experience starts in a dark, dank room. You move your head around, and you can see the room around you. You can see your character’s shoulders, his arms, his legs and his friend laying on the ground in front of him. For all intents and purposes, for those few minutes, you are the character. And, to be perfectly honest, for the entirety of the PlayStation VR demo, I really wished that I wasn’t that character. I’m not ashamed to admit that I had my eyes shut for a good proportion of it, mostly for the parts where the creepy woman grabs your head, and sinks a knife into your friends chest. It’s so realistic, and you’re so immersed in the PlayStation VR experience, that it’s difficult to separate the game from reality – which I guess is the point of creating a virtual reality, after all. Below is a picture of me cowering like a total man, whilst playing Kitchen.

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Despite how horrifying the whole thing is, it did make me realise how much potential there is for PlayStation VR, and VR in general, as more than just a gaming experience. Kitchen was pretty much a virtual, interactive clip. You didn’t really do much, other than watch it all happen to you, as the main character, and whilst I would have liked a little more ‘game’ to it, just sitting back and watching the events unfold was pretty epic in itself. There’s so much potential here for things like movies and television – in a computer generated sense. You could be more than just a passive viewer, you could have a full 360 degree view of the action. You could watch, walk and interact with the world around the action, too. Whilst the main characters are having a conversation, you could explore the scene. You could even become part of the action, with the potential for you to even influence the story in real time. Basically, it would give you the opportunity to experience what’s going on off-screen, provided that it isn’t live action.

Whilst using VR for gaming is fun, I think that using it for entertainment in general can bring boundless opportunities for us as consumers. What do you think? Let me know in the comments below!

  • Unfurtnat

    PlaystationVR will be a money-pit for Sony. It is going to be extremely niche. Unfortunately Oculus Rift is going to be in a different league. It has a much stronger foundation and financial backing than Playstation VR, both professionally and for gaming. Sony should cut their losses and start focusing on building server farms to prepare for the future. Its going to be a waste of time and effort.

    • Dr34d

      Same was said for the Wii.

  • Unfurtnat

    PlaystationVR will be a money-pit for Sony. It is going to be extremely niche. Unfortunately Oculus Rift is going to be in a different league. It has a much stronger foundation and financial backing than Playstation VR, both professionally and for gaming. Sony should cut their losses and start focusing on building server farms to prepare for the future. Its going to be a waste of time and effort.

    • Dr34d

      Same was said for the Wii.