Today at GDC 2016, Sony announced the pricing and release date for PlayStation VR, their upcoming virtual reality system. However, despite an aggressive $399 price tag there is one key thing that will be missing out of the box – a camera for positional tracking.
In what seems like an odd decision, Sony’s PSVR system will not ship with the camera necessary to enable positional tracking according to a tweet by PlayStation UK saying it would be “sold separately.” According to the tweet, the camera is “required” to use the PSVR, making it even more awkward that it is not included in the box.
Ever since Oculus debuted positional tracking on its second development kit, it has become a standard for quality immersive experiences – separating desktop platforms from their mobile VR counterparts. It allows you to move into the world you are in, rather than simply looking around it, seriously adding to the sense of ‘presence’ in a virtual space.
The PSVR utilizes the PlayStation Camera and a set of large, trackable LED lights to orient the headset in space. The experience, while paling in comparison to Oculus’ Constellation tracking or Valve’s Lighthouse system, is adequate enough to provide a baseline of immersion.
The camera isn’t the only thing that is missing in the box with the PSVR headset, it won’t ship with an input device either. Neither a DualShock 4 controller, nor the PlayStation Move – Sony’s hand tracked input – will ship with the device, both will have to be purchased separately.
In the end not including the camera, which Sony says will be required to run the PSVR in the first place, feels like a way to artificially lower the actual cost of the device.
On Amazon right now PlayStation Cameras sell for $44.08, PlayStation Move Controllers are $28, and DualShock 4 Controllers are selling for $45 each. Going off those prices, the bare minimum investment for someone with a PS4 but no camera is looking to be over $450, after taxes.
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