The Playroom For PlayStation VR Shows What Rift and Vive Owners Could Be Missing

by Ian Hamilton • March 22nd, 2016

Rift and Vive owners are likely to keep VR close to where their PCs are already located, but PlayStation VR hooks up next to your big screen TV and PlayStation 4. This simple difference could impact what kind of games come to each of the VR platforms.

For most PlayStation VR players, a cord will run across the living room floor to a chair or couch where the player will wear the headset. If Rift or Vive arrangements don’t leave a large traditional screen visible to other people in the room, you’re not going to be able to play anything like one of the most enjoyable PlayStation VR titles.

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One of the games in Playroom VR asks the player in VR to pick out a bad guy from the crowd, based on descriptions fed by players outside VR.

The Playroom VR for PSVR uses the large-screen television that’s already hooked up to the PS4 for multiplayer experiences, both cooperative and competitive, with a person inside the headset. One of the games is like a VR version of the children’s game red-light-green-light. Four mice try grabbing cheese, each controlled by players with traditional PlayStation controllers looking at the TV. When the cat pops its head out (a player in VR leans forward), the mice have to stop moving or they’ll get caught. It’s one of several included mini-games.

I’ve heard reports of people playing drawing party game Pictionary with Google’s Tilt BrushFantastic Contraption or Water Bears look like they would be fun games for spectators to offer suggestions to the person in VR too. In other words, there are already reasons for players to make sure their Rift or Vive setups make it easy for others to watch and interact with the person immersed in VR. That said, Playroom VR is a bit like Mario Party and it’s enormously fun. If the majority of Rift and Vive owners don’t set up their headsets close to an easily visible screen, then games inspired by Playroom VR’s multiplayer mechanics are less likely to come to those platforms.

As a developer, you’d want to target the largest subset of consumers and, at least with PlayStation VR, that means systems hooked up to very large TVs. The same might not be true for Vive or Rift and it could mean fewer games like Playroom VR coming to the platform.

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