Why I don't want PlayStation on a VR headset

I don't want to PlayStation on a VR headset

The internet exploded as Sony confirmed the price and release date for PlayStation VR – yours for just $399 (£349, around AU$530) when it lands this October.

"That's cheaper than the HTC Vive, even when bought with a brand new PlayStation 4" people cooed on Twitter – but I couldn't help feeling unmoved by the news.

Don't get me wrong – I'm not against VR. In fact, my HTC Vive demo at MWC 2016 was one of the best tech experiences I've ever had. It's a seriously impressive piece of kit.

I'll also champion Google Cardboard to pretty much every newcomer – it's a great first stepping stone into the world of VR, showing those not familiar with the technology the amazing experiences it can offer while remaining inexpensive.

Plugging a headset into my PlayStation though – no, no thanks.

Short and sweet

I've tried a wide range of VR headsets – from Cardboard and Gear VR to Vive and Rift – multiple times over the past two years, but I've not used any of them for more than around 15 minutes in one sitting. And to be honest, I don't want to.

Even after that short amount of time my face is hot and sweaty, my cheeks and forehead sport some rather unattractive red marks where the pads have been pressing, and I feel a little light-headed.

PlayStation VR

It's not enough to put me off having another go, but translate that experience into a four-hour gaming session and suddenly I don't want a headset anywhere near my treasured console, let alone my delicate cranium.

And this is my core concern with VR gaming. I like sitting on my sofa, wireless controller in hand, gazing at my TV for several hours as I play FIFA, GTA, Rocket League and Fallout.

There's no obtrusive headgear, if my girlfriend's in we can engage in conversation instead of me blocking her out, and I'm not constrained by the compact dimensions of my humble living room or cables connecting me to my console or PC.

PlayStation VR

I've not used PlayStation VR yet, but my concerns aren't about the quality of the hardware or software, and I don't doubt that developers will create some compelling games – I just don't see VR headsets as a mainstay of at-home gaming.

Nor is it about the cost; sure it's expensive, but I'm more than happy to drool over phones almost double the price. I get that advanced technology doesn't come cheap, and that's fine.

VR is great for bite-sized experiences – its implementation at theme parks, arcades and large events make sense, but they're best enjoyed in an open space with few obstructions.

For those of you who have already pre-ordered your PlayStation VR or HTC Vive, I salute you – but I won't be following you in your footsteps.

If you want to invite me over to prove me wrong I'll happily oblige – hell, we'll probably have an absolute blast – but I'll still have a sense of smug satisfaction on the way home knowing my console is VR-free.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.