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The Verge: PlayStation VR has had a quietly awesome year


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https://www.theverge.com/2018/12/20/18150109/playstation-vr-2018-astro-bot-tetris-effect

 

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For VR enthusiasts, 2016 feels like a long time ago. That was the year that virtual reality hype hit its peak with the launch of three major headsets and accompanying platforms — Facebook’s Oculus Rift, HTC and Valve’s Vive, and Sony’s PlayStation VR. All three systems had their pros and cons, and it turned out that none of them would change the world.

 

But while Oculus’ future is unclear and HTC has turned to China, enterprise markets, and the ultra high-end, PlayStation VR has quietly established itself as the strongest platform for most people.

 

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I’ve heard [Astro Bot] compared to Super Mario 64 in the sense that Nintendo’s classic introduced the world to the possibilities of the analog stick. That doesn’t quite sound right to me ...ut it does remind me a lot of the Wii’s Super Mario Galaxy, as both games are remarkably generous in their willingness to find and then discard countless new ways to use their unusual new hardware. It’s the kind of game where describing a basic mechanic would often be a spoiler. Everyone should experience the delight of where Astro Bot’s madcap creativity goes for themselves.

 

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Moss launched on PC a few months after PSVR, but it was the perfect fit for Sony’s less technically capable platform. It doesn’t benefit from a large playing space or advanced motion tracking — just a comfortable place to sit and a regular controller. It’s the kind of relaxing experience that plays to PSVR’s strengths. Déraciné, the slow-paced, haunting adventure from From Software, is another example.

 

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Finally, Sony has also done a good job of securing games with optional VR modes where it makes sense. This was the case around the headset’s launch with games like Rez Infinite, Thumper, and Resident Evil 7, and has continued throughout 2018. Wipeout Omega Collection’s phenomenal update that allows you to play through the entire game in VR is probably the best example of this, and as a big Wipeout fan myself almost entirely justifies PSVR’s existence. Gran Turismo Sport also significantly expanded its VR mode this year. And while Tetris Effect is one of the best PS4 games of 2018 even when played on a TV, it becomes a truly transcendent experience in VR.

 

More in the link. I'm looking forward to diving into it post-Christmas later this month. This was finally the year, with the cheaper $200 bundle, that I bit. I remember even last year in some corners of the internet where some thought its support was coming to an end soon, but support remains strong in 2018, and with more coming in 2019, I was more confident in buying it as something that'll be supported long-term.

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As an Oculus owner I've been happy for PSVR's success, but I have a hard time buying into the system when I've already invested in VR and spend relatively little time in it. There have been some early whispers of the next gen PSVR that will hopefully include a modern tracking system, so I'm tempted to just wait out the next couple years or whatever.

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