Sony Details PlayStation VR’s Cinematic Mode with Uncharted 4’s Help

by Jamie Feltham • July 20th, 2016

Like most PlayStation fans, we dream of playing an Uncharted game within virtual reality in the future. That won’t be possible for some time, but Sony has recently explained how you can play the most recent entry with the help of PlayStation VR.

In a new blog post from Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan (SIEJ), the company provided a brief look at PS VR’s cinematic mode, which will allow you to play almost any normal PlayStation 4 game and even watch movies within the headset. Going hands-on with the mode, SIEJ first played Naughty Dog’s latest smash hit, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (better named in Japan as Uncharted: Pirate King and the Last of the Treasure).

PlayStation VR Cinematic 2

In a detailed write-up, it’s revealed that that PS VR’s cinematic mode will offer three screen sizes; large, medium and small. Apparently the large mode is the equivalent 226 inches, making it much larger than any commercial television set and bringing it in line with a movie theater. Apparently the screen didn’t even fit in the player’s entire field of vision at first and they had to move so that it did.

The medium setting is the default option, and immerses you in a dark virtual space. The screen will fit your field of view. The small screen might sound a little pointless at first, but it looks as if the screen follows the user’s gaze in this case, thus allowing them to lie down etc.

While this is an undeniably great feature, you’ll still have to contend with the dreaded screen door effect that features in all VR headsets. This refers to the user being able to see the space between pixels when looking at the headset’s display. It’s an issue that will be removed as display resolutions improve, but it may mean you prefer viewing your 2D content on a standard screen in the meantime.

Brilliantly, it sounds like you can use this mode even if you don’t have your own monitor at home. In theory, you could buy a PlayStation 4 and a PS VR unit and not even need a television. We’d love to see Sony add other features in the future; wouldn’t it be great if developers built virtual theaters for their non-VR games for us to immerse ourselves in?

Later on in the blog it’s also confirmed that PlayStation 4 and PS VR will support 360 degree images and video content, seemingly through a native app.

We’re still yet to find out how other PlayStation 4 features like trophies will work with PlayStation VR. Expect to find out much more as the kit moves towards its October 13th release date.

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  • Ionsu

    resolution is the bigger problem, before the screendoor effect, people going in thinking they will get their own personal theatre will be disappointed when they find out it is like playing or watching a 1920×1080 game or movie that needs to be down-scaled to 800×600

    • Jonathan Mitchell

      I was finally able to play with PSVR at a local best buy and I have to say, I was very impressed. I’ve only used the Vive once, at a Microsoft Store, but the screen door effect was immediately noticeable. I looked around and literally said “oh that’s a little disappointing. Oh hey a whale!” as a whale swam into my field of view. So even though the resolution wasn’t great, I was still pulled into the experience.

      I was only able try one game on PSVR, which was Eve: Valkyrie. I wanted to play a game that would determine if I get motion sick or not. I felt fine after the 10 minutes of playing. Also, I didn’t notice the screen door effect like I did on the Vive. I’m not sure why. But it looked great once I had it seated correctly on my face.

      • Torreth

        Thats the thing though. Are people expecting the “Matrix” , or just a new medium. I think people need to be prepared for reality, or your first impression might kill off the new medium before it hits maximum.

        • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

          “Are people expecting the “Matrix” , or just a new medium. I think people need to be prepared for reality”

          Prepared for VIRTUAL reality, if you will 🙂 haha seriously though you just had a million dollar idea without realizing it… Matrix! Are you kidding me? Imagine a (good) Matrix game in VR! That would be a perfect concept! Get the PS Move and catch bullets and punch Mr Smith through brick walls… then swing that far point gun thing out from over your shoulder (or from under your trench coat) and start spraying btchs!

      • person

        It’s the sub-pixel layout. PSVR is RGB (3 sub-pixels per pixel, arranged in lines), Vive is Pentile, I belive (2-subpixels per pixel, arranged in a checkered pattern). For the latter, you can see the checker pattern up close.

      • Sebastien Mathieu

        there is no SDE on black background games…. such as Eve… just play Brookhaven on the vive…. No SDE it unfortunately appears on white background… for all headsets… and the whale demo is still cool:-)

      • Sebastien Mathieu

        you are clearly a VR expert!!! i’m bowing down….

    • Torreth

      I think it wont be much of an issue as you might believe, not to insult you at all, my friend. I just think people are going to want it for the games more than anything. Cinematic mode probably isnt going to make people want to put it on. Its a cool side feature, but that portion is probably going to be like the xbox one kinect voice command feature. Its cool but………………why? I could be wrong, and I dont mind saying you were right.

      • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

        It needs to work for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon etc. I assume it will, at least before long. Gaming, sure, whatever, maybe for old school Resident Evil or other slow paced games that are more story than gameplay, but having a virtual movie theater will be awesome! I will def be using this when I’m drunk alone at my apartment haha. It also needs options for themed settings. So instead of just black outside the screen, you can choose to be in space with asteroids floating by, or in prehistoric times with dinosaurs eating and migrating in the distance, or hey just a cool, chill room.. they can even do something insulting like make a room with a girl sitting next to you watching the movie hahaha! Already sent the themed settings idea to PS on the suggestion form in case they hadn’t already thought of it, which I’m sure they had. Would also be really cool if they enabled 3D TV. I read you can comfortably wear glasses under the headset, so why not 3D glasses to watch 3D Star Wars 7 on a 226 inch screen. Would be awesome for people without 3D TV’s. Probably won’t be possible until PSVR2 unless the current screen is capable with necessary software updates. Either way, like you said this Cinematic Mode isn’t going to sell headsets but it is definitely a sweet perk that, along with the other inevitable perks to come, will make the headset all the more awesome to have. Glad they are thinking outside the box and making the headset more relevant.

        • I’m sorry, but I had to answer to this one… you do know VR is also 3D? The PSVR is projecting the image 2 times, 1 for each eye. The only thing they need to do is transfer the 3D bluray image to the correct eye. No need for 3D glasses at all.
          The only question is, are they going to do it or would it be to complicated. Which I highly doubt, since their regular HMD’s also have this feature.
          Sorry, but the suggestion of 3D glasses under a VR-headset is hilarious :).

          • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

            Ha! I am known to be unusually ignorant in an innocent way. No need to be sorry but I appreciate you being polite. Also appreciate you telling me this. I dont fully understand the explanation about transferring images. Ive never seen it myself so hard to picture and I dont really know how you mean transfer, but good to know its possible with the existing hardware. I assumed that VR was not 3D and only had the usual depth inside the screen for video games and allowed you to look around in video games as if you were in the world, like sticking two TVs in your face and perfectly controling the joystick to look around as your head does, but didnt realize it could look like the image is coming OUT of the screen when staring at a fixed screen and watching a movie in cinematic mode, like when you watch 3D at the movie theater, unless maybe they make the TV screen appear to be further back and draw the “3D” images seemingly “closer” to the actual screen.. which if the screens are right in front of your eyes would work to look like the image is coming out of the screen, but that sounds different than your idea. Im sure I will understand your transfer thingy better if I get a chance to experience it while watching a fixed TV screen in PSVR, if they do decide to do it.

          • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

            Wait so if they develop the games for VR specifically, maybe what I described is how they do it in game. I thought they just programmed the head to be tracked but thinking now they could draw things further away to make it seem 3D. I wonder if they can just put a simple code to make draw distance translate into this or if they have to re-do everything.. like say re-do the world of Skyrim. There should be a way to translate it, if they can figure ot out.

          • 3D works on the basis of 2 images with a slightly different angle. The same as real life perception. I you close one eye in the real world, you’ve lost your depthfield as well. You need 2 perceptions (2 eyes) to see 3D.
            What they do for 3D gaming and VR is rendering an image twice, but at a different angle. The same angle difference as your eyes. You can also test that in real life by simply closing each of your eyes seperatly. Stay in the spot looking at the same things. Close each eye independetly and see how your view to that “image” is changed.
            That’s also why 3D and VR are always lower resolution or fps. Because everything you see needs to be rendered twice, so you need a lot more computing/graphics power.

          • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

            I actually dont know much about it so everything you’ve explained is new info for me. I know how images move with either eye closed and how you can learn which eye is dominant that way. What I dont get is the you saying you lose 3D with one eye closed. If I close one eye and move my finger toward my eye I do see it get closer in the 3rd dimension.. forward and backward.. wait as Im typing this I get it haha. When opening the other eye with your finger in front of the first eye, you see at a new angle, around the finger.. seeing around the finger and getting a better feel for the 3 dimensional shape of the finger. With one eye only, you can see images moveing but you always see only one flat shot since you have only one reference point. The finger just gets bigger as it gets closer and because you are familiar with objects and their size you can tell how far the finger is and what is in front of the wall instead of part of it, which is why babies have trouble making out their surroundings.. no experience and no idea what they are looking at. Very cool to understand. Thanks! Now Im thinking it would be a cool experiment to make a VR experience with unfamiliar images to try to trick people’s eyes into having trouble making out depth and telling images apart. You can walk through the world and re-ecperience what it was like learning to see the world as a baby haha. Very cool!

          • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

            Also, now understanding this, I see why my first comment was so funny. Wearing 3D glasses to try to achieve a feature that is a core part of what VR even is haha. Funnier still, if I wore 3D glasses every time I could see myself believing they were working.

          • Yeah, it wasn’t a reason to be rude either :). No need to be a douchebag on the internet, right :). Just picturing that image of somebody doing such a thing, was just a hilarious sight :).

            But do you know how 3D TV’s work? The SBS and active/passive stuff? Because that basicly explains how come VR-glasses are automaticly 3D. Using “transfer” maybe wasn’t the best word to describe it. English is not my native language and I was struggeling a bit to find a better word.
            Though I just saw a Twitter that 3D bluray won’t project the 3D at launch. But since that question was asked, they will be at a later time.

    • KUNA

      actually in theater mode should be even less noticeable since the ps4 is not doing the same as with a vrgame in theater mode your should see the images at higher definition.

      • ThePokeMaster

        This is true.
        And the resolution per eye is actually 960 x 1080.

        I’ve also played Eve Valkyrie with PSVR at a Best Buy and GameStop. No noticeable screendoor effect.
        It’s funny how certain people assume and jump to conclusions that contradict what the reports of journalists and people who have actually used it. It’s like they don’t pay attention.

        • I kind of feel like the screendoor effect is a very personal thing. I don’t have problems even with my Gear VR, I find the resolution to be totally adequate but I’ve noticed people be very negative about the resolution of the high-end HMDs too. This will probably be a similar case… Some people will hate playing games in cinematic mode on PSVR, and some people will absolutely love it. What can ya do 🙂

        • Sebastien Mathieu

          not noticeable on the rift either… SDE is more noticeable on white background, it’s disappearing on blacks…

    • josephz2va

      Depends on what version you purchase or the age of the movie. Like “Sphere” DVD I tried watching it on my TV and it was a very huge screendoor effect. But the Online version is scaled right.

    • ThePokeMaster

      What screendoor effect?
      As someone who has actually played a couple of game demos on PSVR, there was no noticeable screendoor effect. Other sites and journalists have reported the same. Maybe you should do some research and pay attention instead of jumping to conclusions. PSVR actually has better optics and true RGB subpixels per pixel.

      Also the resolution is 960 x 1080 per eye. And there’s not reason why movies would be downscaled to 600p. gtfo

      • Ionsu

        yes but only the light that hits the fovea on your retina is going to be crystal clear. Say the PSVR is roughly 100 degrees FOV and I scaled the movie screen to take up all 100 degrees of my vision (which will be very uncomfortable to watch btw). Not all of the light emitted from all 100 degrees is going to land on my fovea. This is not like looking at your 24″ monitor from 1 meter away which would only take up about 20~ degrees of your vision. You have 960 x 1080 worth of pixels stretched across 100 degrees and on top of that, only part of the image (where your eyeballs focus on) is going to be sharp.

        If you have a Vive or Rift try playing a game in SteamVR’s theatre mode or virtual desktop theatre mode. It’s very blurry.

        • ThePokeMaster

          That just sounds like speculation. I’ve actually played games on the PSVR.

        • Sebastien Mathieu

          but the interest of VR is not theater mode it’s VR… No???

      • Sebastien Mathieu

        no unfortunately i’ts not per eye because PSVR has only one screen…. there are lots of ‘pixel lost’ between the 2 lenses…

  • Yojimbo

    Um guys ps4 and PSVR has just become portable! Can anyone not see the big positive instead of squeaky little techinical details!! We’re talking about bringing your own 226″ cinema/gaming screen with you anywhere! And you can watch entertainment lazy style on sofa without using your hands unlike watching a tablet!

    • suli559

      My idea was i put my ps4 on a table right beside my bed anddddddddddddd play 😀

    • CMcD

      For portable play you are absolutely correct, this will be cool but the main drawback is going to resolution for this first round of headsets. I have the rift and even at twice the resolution I would still rather watch a movie on my 60″ HDTV. I’ve watched a little of some of my favorite movies like star wars on a virtual imax in my rift and yes it was very cool, but the lower resolution isn’t the only drawback, multitasking is the other drawback. We need an OS designed for and around VR so that you can be in VR, watching a movie while also playing a game off to the side or browsing the internet… We already have a tablet, smartphone or handheld gaming device with us while we watch a movie, multitasking is the necessary next step for VR. But back to your main point, if you’re traveling for work and figure out a way to hook up your ps4 you can just wear an imax on your head to watch a movie and that is very VERY cool.

      • Sebastien Mathieu

        yess resolution is just to bad for movies in my opinion.

        • CMcD

          Yup! Maybe the third gen versions of these will have a 12k resolution ?

  • jacksjus

    This thing doesn’t appear to be worth $500. I know it isn’t perfect but the entry price is a bit too high. Maybe it’ll be cheaper with better tech down the line.

    • Davi123

      And isn’t 500$, is 400$.

      • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

        Actually it is $500 for the bundle that includes the camera, which presumably he doesn’t have. He can get the headset and camera separately for $450 before tax, but with a single good game it will still be $500-$510 before tax. Then if he decides to get the Move controller that’s just under $30. Personally I am excited for PSVR and I’m getting it, but just pointing out for everyone that $400 isn’t right since VR won’t work without the camera.

        • Davi123

          Seeing in that way, you need to say the PSVR cost 800$, you need a PS4 too. Like the Oculus, more than 1000$, because you will need a good PC. And, the 500$ bundle already includes the Move and a Blu-ray demo.

          • KLEEBAN KLIBAN

            Haha I see what you are saying, but no that’s not how the logic of my outlook works. I only said it was the camera that he, presumably, did not have. I did presume he had a PS4, which I still presume based on his post. Had he no PS4 he would have included the PS4 cost in his entry estimation, and my post was assuming most people were able to infer this.. trying to think of a way to word this without seeming douchy.. kinda drunk so my bad if this looks douchy haha. Although one more thing wrong with your calculation, would be $850 haha.. you forgot the camera again 🙂 Also did you maybe actually mean to say “Unlike the Oculus” ?? Because the PSVR even with the PS4 is under $1000 and if you consider the PC cost for a capable PC, Oculus is way more. I assume you meant unlike, and that Oculus is way more, considering you were originally pointing out PSVR was cheap. I’m probly overthinking everything cuz I’m drunk.

  • Fleming_007

    That almost makes it worth it to me to watch blu ray movies.

  • colonel179

    So the next firmware update will come until PSVR releases. Will it come with new features, specially the ones that people have been asking, or just add VR support for the system?

  • mickeyGfunk

    as you theorize with the light bleed, that will negate the screen door effect. when an image is upscaled to a higher res monitor, the alaising still exists, but less so the screen door effect due to pixel density. for an example of the negative space being imperceivable, just look at a font ( a simple vector graphic) rasterized on both a low rez screen and a retina screen. the negative space just isn’t perceivable at 4k. the only effect that is really noticable is aliasing.

  • Hans Wurst

    That’s why the PSVR has an OLED display with three RGB subpixels to minimise this effect, compared to the pentile displays you mentioned.

    • unreal_ed

      I’d heard rumours that it had the standard RGB subpixels but hadn’t heard any report of that for a while. That’s confirmed to be the case?

  • Hans Wurst

    Sadly an uninformed article as Sony uses a new screen technology with 3 RGB subpixels which eliminates the screen door effect which plaques the other headsets, despite having a lower resolution.

  • omarcominyo

    No interest in VR but that feature actually sounds pretty good

  • ZoneT4N

    Theres no screendoor effect, its pixelated on some games like EVE, which runs at 720p