It’s been a little over 3 weeks since I bought the Playstation VR2 and I realized I haven’t talked about it much on the blog.
Generally speaking, I like it a lot. I’ve been using the Quest 2 quite a bit and the upgrade in fidelity between it and PSVR2 is anything from solid to amazing, depending on the port. The haptic feedback feels better than on the Quest 2. For example when playing Beat Saber if you really whip the saber through the air you feel a bit of quiver in the controller like you’re feeling air resistance. At least I think that is what is happening…in the heat of the moment when you’re in the ‘world’ and all that, reality and virtual reality can kind of start to blend together. Maybe it is in my imagination!
It is also really comfortable once you get everything set up right. Once I put it on I lose track of time and hours fly by.
So basically I’m glad I got it but I do have some gripes, mostly around modularity (and forgive me for comparing PSVR2 to the Quest 2 but the Q2 is what I’m most familiar with.) So here’re some things I’d like to see changed in a PSVR 2+ or whatever.
First, the included ear buds sound terrible to me. They’re very tinny sounding and the speakers in the headband of the Quest 2 sound better, IMO. Fortunately I already owned the Playstation Pulse Wireless Headset and I just use that. The ear buds have been removed and set aside.
As a bonus I feel like the Pulse headphones actually help to keep the PSVR Visor positioned correctly to some extent.
Second, as far as I can tell there is no way to replace the headband of PSVR2. The band works pretty well for me, but one of the nice things about the Quest 2 is that there’s a whole cottage industry of replacement headbands so you can shop around and find a style that really works well for you.
Ditto the “interface” (the part of the visor that presses on your face). On the Quest 2, this pops out and you can buy anything from a silicon cover to a complete replacement. Choices are nice. The PSVR2 ‘light shield’ (as they call it) does come off but it has 14 little tabs that have to be detached and Sony warns us to be careful as they could break. The Quest 2 interface just pops out and takes just a second to remove/replace.
And one more: the cushion inside the ‘halo’ of the PSVR2 strap also doesn’t appear to be detachable and I wish it was.
Why the obsession with swappable parts? First because everyone’s head is different and second, hygiene. The PSVR2 (like any VR visor) is HOT and if you’re playing a stand-up or room-scale VR game that includes a lot of activity your head and face are going to start sweating. That sweat saturates the cushion inside the halo and the parts of the visor that press against your face. I REALLY miss being able to disassemble the headset so I can wipe down each part individually (and eventually replace them as they get worn).
So far my ‘solution’ to this problem is to always wear a bandana on my head under the visor. That makes the sweat a bit more manageable, at least, but it’s one more thing to add to the balancing act that is getting the visor in the ‘sweet spot.’
In general getting the PSVR2 on and adjusted feels a lot more fiddly than putting on the Quest 2 (with a 3rd party strap that I love) though once everything is setup I think the PSVR2 is more comfortable. I should add that I did purchase a “comfort strap‘ that adds one more point of support, and as mentioned I think the cups of the Pulse headset help to keep the strap from slipping down.
The trick to wearing the PSVR2 is pulling the back of the strap way down below the curve of the back of your skull almost to where you’d say your neck begins. Old hippy that I am, I have a ponytail and the strap goes below that (and below the knot of the bandana). Then the halo presses against your forehead and in theory the visor just kind of floats in front of your face. If you feel a lot of weight on your nose then you probably have the back of the strap too high on your head.
My last gripe is that I kind of miss the ecosystem that the Quest has. PSVR2 has games and that’s about it. The Quest has games and 3D videos and VR experiences and fitness apps, plus fitness trackers. When you turn on the Quest you’re in a virtual environment that you can mess around in, and you can even bring your physical couch into your VR space so you can sit on it (desks too). PSVR2 doesn’t have any of that, and I get that it is meant as just a gaming system but I still miss the extras. At the least it’d be nice to have a virtual space to hang out in (the return of Playstation Home maybe).
So that’s about it; my list of gripes. But again, I still really like the headset and I have no regrets about buying it. And it is a young device so maybe over time we’ll see products that alleviate some of my complaints.