Home / Opinions / Why I’m cancelling my PlayStation VR pre-order (for now)

Why I’m cancelling my PlayStation VR pre-order (for now)

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PlayStation Vr

OPINION With the spectre of the PlayStation Neo hanging over the new PlayStation VR platform, Sony’s tactics leave a lot to be desired. PS4 owner and US-reporter Chris Smith explains why he’s out, for now.

There are a lot of ways to interpret the word ‘ready.’ It can mean prepared, it can mean anticipant or excited, and, in the very British colloquial sense, a derivative can be used to describe fresh cash.

Back in February, Sony claimed the then 36 million (now 40m) PS4 owners were “ready for PlayStation VR.” With the VR revolution gathering steam, this was undoubtedly an amazing incentive, a rallying call against the demands for those high-end “Rift-ready” PCs few folks already own.

With the promise of the PS4 console occupying pride of place in my living room running a high-level virtual reality experience, I was ready. And, with such an agreeable price point compared to rivals, I made a leap of faith and splashed my readies on an unproven medium.

For PS4 owners, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Or so we thought. But, right now, I have a growing suspicion we aren’t perhaps as ready… as in prepared … as Sony led us to believe.

Thanks to recent reports and speculation, I feel there’s sufficient doubt about the current PS4’s ability to deliver future VR content for me to cancel the PlayStation VR pre-order I oh-so-excitedly made two months ago.

Sony, remember, welcomed these pre-orders with open arms, with no mention that a more powerful console was coming too. However, I can’t escape this nagging feeling that only PlayStation Neo/4.5/4K owners will be truly ready for PlayStation VR.

By all recent accounts the updated console, expected to be unveiled next month at E3 2016, will tower over 2013’s launch hardware. It’s obvious, given the extra demands of VR, that it will offer a superior experience to the standard console.

There’s something decidedly off about that when you’ve already asked consumers to hand over a significant amount of money (and it is, regardless of any favourable Rift/Vive comparisons). It leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

Related: PS4.5: Everything we know so far

If that wasn’t enough, on Thursday we got wind of some more potentially worrying news for existing PS4 owners. In the latest issue of Edge Magazine, one industry CTO speculated on Sony’s reasoning for building the PlayStation 4.5 Neo, claiming VR on the original console was going to be ‘truly awful.’

“PSVR was going to be terrible on a [launch] PS4,” he reportedly said.

“It was going to be truly awful. Something a bit more powerful starts to bring VR into range. If you want to deal with crazy requirements for performance in VR, you absolutely have to do this."

We have to take this with a pinch of salt – the source may be referring to the headset in a much earlier stage of development without the extra processing box, for example. But it validates the idea the PS4 Neo exists primarily because of VR.

While our recent experiences show the launch PS4 performs well with the VR games shown so far, we can’t forget these early efforts aren’t as graphically demanding as the likes of Gran Turismo Sport might be.

Once the novelty of these early VR efforts wears thin, will launch PS4s have the power to deliver the kind of advanced experiences that will sustain my interest?

E3 will be the acid test, but it’s certainly food for thought and enough to at least give the most optimistic PS4 owners cause for concern.

To be fair, I should have been wise enough to see this coming. I should have been more cautious when Sony pitched PSVR. That’s on me.

But I, like a great many PS4 owners, was swept up in the excitement and anticipation of the oncoming VR revolution Sony promised. Now it’s subsided and this new console has leaked, we’re left with a whole mess of questions and precious few answers.

That’s why I’ve cancelled my order.

I may end up buying PSVR when it hits the market. I may even end up upgrading to a Neo if Sony can incentivise it through a trade-in.

However, what I won’t do is volunteer to be one of those unlucky test subjects who could discover the hard way on day one that Sony has sold them a pup.

Right now there’s just too much doubt. Right now, I’m not ready… in any sense of the word.

Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive: Which should you buy?

Are you reconsidering you PlayStation VR pre-order? Share your thoughts in the comments

Ryans452

May 27, 2016, 3:39 pm

You where lied too that rumor was debunked psvr doesn't require Playstation neo, that was just to stir up trolls and click bait article, launch ps4 runs psvr just fine although Playstation neo might be kind of cool

Dabogues

May 27, 2016, 4:27 pm

I have the exact same reservations. Haven't cancelled mine yet (will probably wait till launch to decide what to do), but this whole Neo thing is very disconcerting---especially considering Sony has been completely silent on how crippled VR will be on the old hardware.

Dabogues

May 27, 2016, 4:28 pm

No one is saying it "requires" Neo. But the fear is that the performance will be severely lacking on the old hardware for anything but maybe the launch titles.

Dabogues

May 27, 2016, 4:30 pm

That was one of my reasons for preordering initially, as well, but Sony is not instilling confidence right now for potential early adopters. They need to do something to incentivize us to get not one, but 2 new pieces of hardware now.

Efrt

May 27, 2016, 7:17 pm

You would have to be a moron to buy ps VR at launch. You're not going to miss anything waiting 6 months or a year.

Sony always lies. They lied about 3D. They lied about the price of ps VR (because they're nickel and diming you). Now it seems like they're lying about how the ps4 can handle VR.

It's ridiculous.

Efrt

May 27, 2016, 7:19 pm

The rumor was debunked huh? How so? PS Neo hasn't even been announced yet.

This is typical Sony announce things get the press and then a few weeks later quietly release the bad news.

Rog

May 27, 2016, 10:04 pm

Dumb ass whoever wrote this article, neo was debunked by a Developer releasing their content on ps. Sony have never confirmed a neo it's just a rumour started that's turned into this massive Chinese whisper. I've played psvr and it's absolutely ready and furthermore due to its higher fps comparable and in some cases more enjoyable than rift......lol

Rog

May 28, 2016, 8:24 am

The writer of this article is talking rubbish, neo was nothing but a Chinese whisper and has been debunked by a Developer releasing their content on ps. I've played psvr and it's absolutely ready and furthermore due to its higher fps comparable and in some cases more enjoyable than rift lol

Lee Wyatt

May 28, 2016, 10:58 am

Neo is pretty much confirmed at this point.

Rog

May 28, 2016, 3:50 pm

By who? A bunch of nobody's who run run silly WordPress gaming sites? Lol no its not confirmed or even mentioned by anyone from an official capacity. In fact the only official word we have had is from an developer who's title is launching on ps who said it's a load of nonsense. Even if neo were true it has absolutely nothing to do with vr, it would be for 4k gaming as that's where things are heading, now even the most top spec computers can't run 4k vr just yet. Ps4 doesn't need anymore to run psvr (in its current state), 200 plus developers working on titles they clearly know more than we do, we will all know in October for sure than I'm sure people like the one who wrote this article will feel stupid :)

Jayquan Phifer

May 28, 2016, 5:21 pm

Theres no official announcement on neo so no it's not confirmed.

Bryan

May 29, 2016, 5:27 am

I preordered the base unit and I'm sticking to it. I've tried the HTC VIVE and it's cool but too pricey. Ace Combat and Battlefront VR will be killer apps enough for PSVR. I'm not worried at all. I'm going to buy it and be happy.

David

May 29, 2016, 10:36 am

Sony has enough examples of leaving users in the garbage bin once a system does not pan out. Here's a PC gamer who previously owned PSP and Vita. An add-on that makes use of tailor made games has the smell of kinect and Move all around. If you ask me, financially, if it's not a HUGE success at the beginning, does not make any sense at all, besides milking some hardcore users a bit more...

Grace

May 29, 2016, 10:56 am

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Paul Epstein

May 29, 2016, 12:15 pm

Fact is, there was never any chance that a cheaper VR headset hooked to old, relatively slow hardware was going to produce results that compared with the top of the line using a current midrange card- the *minimum* specced graphics cards for Rift and Vive costs more than the PS4 does in it's entirety. If you were trying to achieve the results Sony has stated, HD screens for both eyes at 120 FPS, everything else, the resolutions and textures and shadows and effects, would all have to be pared back to the bare minimum. The hardware budget just isn't there and never will be.

So, the game looks like shit on current edition PS4s as a result of unavoidable limitations. If you thought, or think, otherwise, then you deserve the disappointment that's coming.

Munchy

May 29, 2016, 1:17 pm

they lost me as a customer the day they said they are releaseing a updated more powerful ps4. Shurely they sho0uld wait 5-6 years like usual and release a ps5 not canablise the waiting time, the main reason we buy consoles, no upgrading needed for years. Hell after this ps4 update its back to the pc for good. Consoles no longer hold anything lureing for me, you have to install games like a pc. Gone are the put media cd or dvd or cartrage into console and play.Consoles are no longer consoles and I'm not paying premium for that privalage when I have a much cheaper method even with a gigabyt gtx970 g1 in my build.

Munchy

May 29, 2016, 1:21 pm

if your making a ps4.2 withing a couple of years then refund all ps4 buyers cause the proper cycle for a console is 5-6 years, they destroy that they'll loose millions of customers. Unless thers a addon to the ps4 for a budget cost that allows the hardware to become boosted to the new console design and with no issues and by cheap I mean the new ps4.2 console if 300 then the hard ware addon for ps4 owners should be 99.99, its that simple to me, I still wont like that and I still wont inves in iot if it haspens but I know the numbers they loose would be a lot less.

jamison_io

May 29, 2016, 3:13 pm

So, even though you can wait to pick up your pre-order for 10 days after launch (or not open it and return it prior to X days), that, by that time, it will be in the hands of millions of people and there will be a good idea of how it ACTUALLY performs, you need to let us all know you've cancelled your pre-order. Gotcha.

MontyMole

May 29, 2016, 11:04 pm

2 of you 3 people are going to be wrong.

MontyMole

May 29, 2016, 11:08 pm

Cardboard VR will achieve your "simulated 10 foot TV" or just strap any OLED screen a couple of inches from your face and duck under a towel to simulate.

Chronotaru

May 30, 2016, 5:03 am

Not without insane amount of nausea it won't. The "real" three headsets don't suffer from those problems (at least, not so much).

polysix

May 30, 2016, 5:24 am

Clearly the 'new' PS4 is because of the need for more power for VR and can also be used to refresh some other lacking areas. I pre-ordered PSVR and actually bought a Vive for my (Fast) PC. I've since sold Vive as it was great but not quite ready for prime time, I also own a rift DK2 and have little interest in Rift CV1 as it's over-priced for what you get and the screen glare/god rays are terrible. Gen 1 VR has turned out disappointing for me, and I've been into VR for a few years having rift dev kits etc (and loving them!)

Anyway, PSVR does stand a good chance of being a great HMD due to comfort, ergonomics and screens (even at lower res the Sony has BETTER lenses and full RGB screens not pentile), in that respect the PSVR HMD is probably a better all rounder than the PC HMDs (and a lot cheaper), just hope Sony open it up to PC use.

Back to PS - well, I only picked up my PS4 at Xmas having seen little software must haves up til this year and having PS3 etc (and PC), so I'm not sure I'll ever buy a PS4 'neo' if it's just a half-way stop gap, even for VR, but all of this will depend on:

A. How good the HMD is (lenses and feel as well as screens)

B. How cheap PS4 Neo is

C. GAMES - it needs some STUNNING games for VR to be desirable - have spent long enough pottering around with tech demos on PC

The only reason I've not cancelled my Pre-order yet is because if it sells out and demand is high I can probably double my money on ebay if I decide not to keep it ;) When I (reluctantly) sold my vive It went for over £1200! So I made a profit on that experience. It was equal parts awesome (roomscale/controls) and disappointing (comfort, lens glare, ergonomics, resolution) and neither rift, vive or PSVR are all good in all areas, gen 1 is barely good enough. Can't wait for Gen 2 and the new GPUs that can be used for a lot less VR overhead.

essay over.

polysix

May 30, 2016, 5:24 am

This. Clearly the 'new' PS4 is because of the need for more power for VR and can also be used to refresh some other lacking areas.

polysix

May 30, 2016, 5:27 am

TBH if he's just using it for virtual cinema then nausea isn't a problem anyway, resolution is way more important for that application. He'll be mostly sitting still, staring foward, it's movement (bad movement) that causes sickness, yes along with refresh rate, and phone VR will never beat a proper HMD but cinema isn't a clear cut case and def needs higher res than even the rift and vive offer now to be compelling (note I've had rift Dk2 and a Vive - sold them and waiting for Gen 2 and will try out PSVR just to see if its superior lens and screen - other than resolution and fov - are actually the better compromise for gen 1). Of course on PSVR you are open to the whims of sony on what you can do/watch/play with it vs the PC.

Gian-Reto Alig

May 30, 2016, 10:52 am

Guys, before you bash Sony more, keep this in Mind:

There is a rumour floating around that Sony was basically forced by AMD to "upgrade" to a new SoC. Seems like AMD is trying to save some money by moving ALL their fabs to 14 nm as fast as possible, so the old SoC that was providing the CPU/GPU part for the PS4 is no longer being produced as soon as that happens.

According to the rumour, Sony was given the choice to pay extra for keeping a 28 nm fab open producing the current SoC, or to let AMD design a new SoC for them using current Gen parts (Zen instead of Jaguar on the CPU, Polaris instead of the old GCN generation on the GPU side)... the new manufacturing node size meant that everything is about half as big at 14nm, which meant with the same sized SoC, you could cram in double the amount of GPU cores (and the CPU could most probably be clocked higher thanks to the improved process... if Zen vs. Jaguar turns out to be true, CPU might be MUCH faster above just the higher clock).

Now, given that AMD forced Sony to move to a newer SoC design, you can bet AMD made the new design cheap or free to Sony. And given how the old SoC used in the PS4 was not received as "fast enough" by quite some folks due to not being able to output 1080p/60Hz reliably, would you have told AMD to design a new chip with newer generation hardware, but keep the performance down that what it was before (which would have meant a chip half as big as the old SoC, or a lot of dead space on the chip)?

TL;DR: the PS4 Neo, if that rumour is true, wasn't develop for VR. Better performance in VR games might just be a side effect, as is hopefully 1080p/60Hz reliably in all games, of cost cutting measures by AMD.

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