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Your biggest questions about PlayStation VR are answered here

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Sony’s PlayStation VR has arrived, bringing virtual reality to the PlayStation 4. Will it join an already mounting VR movement in redefining everything about how we play games? Well, that remains to be seen. What’s already clear, however, is the promise of this new technology. If you haven’t experienced VR, the PlayStation VR is one of the most accessible and affordable ways to jump in.

To help you figure out whether the PSVR is for you, we’ve put together a list of answers to common questions to help everyone from VR novices to old pros.

What is VR?

VR is short for virtual reality. The concept is a bit complicated, but most current VR technology uses a head-mounted display — a screen with special lenses in front of it, worn like a pair of goggles — and headphones to trick your brain into thinking you’re inside a movie or a game. VR experiences can vary from fully interactive games to completely non-interactive movies, where your only control comes from the freedom to look in any direction while the action unfolds.

Some VR headsets, like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, require a high-end PC to run. Others, such as Google Cardboard and the Samsung Gear VR, rely on smartphones. The PlayStation VR, the newest VR headset to launch, is the first and currently only setup that runs on a home gaming console.

How are VR games different?

Because virtual reality gaming is such a recent development, game makers are still figuring out what sorts of games work best in VR. The need for experimentation has led to a great deal of diversity. Puzzle games, action games, first-person shooters, and driving games are among the genres represented in the lineup of games launching alongside the PSVR.

Many VR games use motion controllers to stand in for your hands, allowing you to interact with your surroundings in an entirely new and surprisingly natural way. Others use the standard PlayStation 4 controller to offer more conventional gameplay augmented by VR’s sense of immersion. One common thread, at least in these early days of virtual reality, is that the experiences tend to be shorter than conventional games, with a greater emphasis on replayability. This helps accommodate players who might not be comfortable spending extended sessions immersed in VR. In most cases, they’re also substantially cheaper, so you’re not paying the same amount for so much less game.

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Will VR make me motion sick?

Since VR works by tricking the brain, some people can become nauseated playing games with excessive amounts of motion for long periods of time. Game developers are discovering the best ways to avoid inducing motion sickness, and the high refresh rate of the PlayStation VR’s headset is designed to mitigate any potential problems. But there’s no silver bullet.

Your reaction will vary based on the specific game and your susceptibility to motion sickness in general. If you find yourself prone to carsickness, you may want to stay away from faster-paced PSVR games like Driveclub VR.

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How does the PlayStation VR stack up to other VR headsets?

At the moment, the PlayStation VR is by far the most affordable of all the VR headsets on the market. It’s also the only one that works with a home console. Those two factors are perhaps Sony’s biggest advantage in the VR race.

That lower cost of entry does come with some sacrifices. The motion tracking isn’t quite as good as the Vive, and the resolution of the PSVR’s screen is lower than both of its main competitors. Sony’s screen does, however, have a better refresh rate, which can lead to a smoother experience and reduced chance of nausea. In general, you shouldn’t expect to the PlayStation VR to offer the highest-end VR experience on the market today, but it’s an all-around good choice for those wishing to jump into the experience.

Beyond the PSVR headset, what accessories are required?

While Sony is selling the PlayStation VR headset as a standalone purchase, you will need at least one extra accessory to use it. That’s the PlayStation Camera, which the PlayStation VR uses to track the headset position. Sony recently introduced a new, redesigned model of camera, but either version will work fine with PSVR.

Some games also require the use of one or two PlayStation Move controllers. If you’re interested in getting the most out of the experience, buying two Move controllers is your best bet. If you already have Move controllers from the PlayStation 3 era, however, those will still work just fine.

Will the PlayStation VR work with my current PS4?

Yes. Provided you have all the required accessories, the PlayStation VR will work with any PlayStation 4 consoles.

How much does the PSVR cost?

The PlayStation VR retails for around $400. Sony also assembled a special Launch Bundle, which includes the camera and two move controllers, for $500, but it’s no longer widely available. Buying the camera separately will cost you $60, and a two-pack of PlayStation Move motion controllers is available for $100.

How much space do I need to use PlayStation VR?

Sony officially recommends a play space that measures 10 feet by 10 feet, but many games can get by with considerably less. A number of PlayStation VR games can be played sitting down. For these games, you don’t need any more space to play than you would a conventional game, though you will need to make sure you’re sitting in full view of the camera at the proper distance for your movements to be picked up.

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What games are available for the PlayStation VR?

Dozens of games are currently in development for the PlayStation VR. Among the titles that will be release alongside the headset, highlights include Batman: Arkham VR, which puts players into the Batsuit to fight crime, Driveclub VR, a VR update of the PS4-exclusive racing game, and Battlezone, a reboot of the classic tank combat game.

Here’s the full list of PSVR games that are releasing on launch day, as well as already-released games that will offer some kind of PSVR support on day one:

  • 100ft Robot Golf
  • Ace Banana
  • The Assembly
  • Batman: Arkham VR
  • Battlezone
  • Bound
  • Driveclub VR
  • EVE: Gunjack
  • EVE: Valkyrie
  • Harmonix Music VR
  • Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
  • Headmaster
  • Here They Lie
  • Hustle Kings VR
  • Job Simulator
  • Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
  • Loading Human
  • SportsBar VR
  • Super Stardust Ultra VR
  • The Playroom VR
  • PlayStation VR Worlds
  • Rez Infinite
  • RIGS Mechanized Combat League
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: Blood Ties
  • Superhypercube
  • Thumper
  • Tumble VR
  • Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
  • Volume: Coda
  • Wayward Sky
  • World War Toons