First announced in 2014, under the codename Project Morpheus, PlayStation VR has finally arrived, just in time to be a hit this coming Christmas and could even be the definitive device in the explosion of virtual reality.

Sony's virtual reality headset works with the PS4, which has an enormous global userbase, so has a heads up on its major competition, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. They both require serious gaming PC setups to run the best VR experiences, while you can power your PSVR from a standard console.

That makes it a very attractive prospect indeed. What's more, the pricing structure seems very reasonable for the amount of tech crammed inside.

But before you decide to splash the cash, we suggest you read our handy guide below, and/or even catch out extensive Sony PlayStation VR review here. That way you'll find out everything you need to know about the potential future of gaming.

What is Sony PlayStation VR?

PlayStation VR is the name of Sony's PS4-compatible virtual reality headset. It was formerly called Project Morpheus when touted around certain technology and videogames conventions, such as E3, Gamescom, Paris Games Week and CES.

It plugs into a conventional PlayStation 4 console, including the new PS4 Slim and forthcoming PS4 Pro, via an adaptor box and plays dedicated virtual reality software titles that are available through the PlayStation Store. Some are also available as disc copies through multiple retailers.

A PlayStation VR headset fits over and around your head, with a front "shoebox" style eyepiece that contains the display and sensor equipment. A separate pair of headphones are required to provide the audio, which are included in the box.

It also needs a PlayStation Camera and either a DualShock 4 controller - which comes with the PS4 - or PlayStation Move motion controllers to play different titles.

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Sony PlayStation VR release date

The PlayStation VR went on sale globally on Thursday 13 October. Pre-ordered units shipped on that day and stores around the world started stocking it for sale.

Sony PlayStation VR price

PlayStation VR costs £349 in the UK. That gets you the headset, a processor unit, VR headset connection cable, HDMI cable, USB cable, stereo headphones, and a power cord and adaptor.

It doesn't include the PlayStation Camera required to track the LED markers on the front and rear of the headset. That will set you back another £40 new. You will likely already have a DualShock 4 controller as that comes with the PS4, but if you don't have PlayStation Move batons lying around from the PS3 days, you'll probably want to shell out for a pair. They currently cost around £30 each when purchased new.

Of course, if you are investing in the whole package from scratch, you'll also need a PlayStation 4. These days the console starts at £259 for the recent PS4 Slim.

In the US, the PlayStation VR headset costs $399. It is 399 euros in Europe. And, in Sony's homeland of Japan, the PSVR will set you back 44,980 yen.

Sony PlayStation VR design

All virtual reality headsets share the same basic shape because they need to bung a load of tech into a "shoebox" style design that attaches to the top half of your face - you need to see the screen, after all.

However, the PlayStation VR looks more space-age than most, with Sony opting for a Samsung Gear VR-like white and black exterior and smooth curves. Indeed, we'd say that it looks the best of all the headsets for the people not actually wearing it.

That's also partly down to the glowing LEDs situated around the visor and the rear of the device. Not only do they look cool - Tron-esque - but they are used to help track the headset, with a PlayStation Camera constantly picking up their location.

Like many if not all VR headsets, the PlayStation VR is able to be worn by people with or without glasses and is light enough to be comfortable. The headset weighs around 610g, not including the cable that must be attached. It measures approximately 187 x 185 x 277mm.

Sony PlayStation VR display

With the PlayStation 4 only capable of 1080p video output, it comes as no surprise that Sony has opted for a 1080p 5.7-inch OLED display as the PSVR's screen. That means the 1920 x 1080 resolution is split into 960 x 1080 per eye.

The display is also one panel rather than a separate display for each eye, as found on the Oculus Rift, for example.

The field of view is also truncated in comparison to some of the high-end rivals, with approximately 110-degrees claimed by Sony.

Where the PSVR display is slightly more advanced over some rivals is that it has a refresh rate that is capable of reaching 120Hz (120 frames per second). It is also capable of 90Hz.

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Sony PlayStation VR hardware and specs

Other specifications listed for the PlayStation VR include the built-in sensors. There is Sony's six-axis motion sensing system built into the headset, comprised of a three-axis gyroscope and three-axis accelerometer.

Latency is claimed to be 18ms.

The separate processing unit handles the 3D audio processing, Social Screen functionality - which splits the screen to the headset and a TV separately so others can see the user's experience on a TV - and a Cinematic mode to watch movies and TV shows, even play conventional PS4 games bought from PlayStation on a virtual screen from within the headset. It has two HDMI outputs, to TV and PSVR, a HDMI input from PS4, USB and AUX sockets.

It's worth noting, however, that while the processing unit is capable of passing through video up to 4K (for the PS4 Pro when available) it is not compatible with HDR (high dynamic range) picture tech. That means, if you want the wider colour gamut and better contrast offered by HDR on a supporting TV, you need to switch cables whenever you're playing a 2D game. It's not ideal.

How do I control Sony PlayStation VR games?

As previously mentioned, PlayStation VR games can be controlled by either a DualShock 4 controller or PlayStation Move motion controllers.

Importantly, some games will require the Move controllers and it is worth checking before purchasing them.


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Sony PlayStation VR games

Sony has revealed that more than 230 developers and software publishers are working on games and entertainment titles for PlayStation VR. And there are more than 160 titles in development.

Over 70 of those games and experiences will be available in the "launch window", which runs until the end of January 2017.

They include Eagle Flight by Ubisoft, EVE: Valkyrie from CCP Games, Headmaster, Rez Infinite, Wayward Sky, RIGS: Mechanized Combat League, Tumble VR, Until Dawn: Rush of Blood and PlayStation VR Worlds.

Even more exciting perhaps is that EA and Dice are working on a VR version of Star Wars Battlefront.

The Playroom VR, which we played at Paris Games Week last year, is a free download with every PSVR purchase.