I haven't spent that much time getting to grips with VR, because quite frankly nobody I know owns one of the systems, and I don't really feel like shelling out tons of money on getting my PC VR proofed and ready. That money needs to go on food and video games I can sink my entire life into.
That's why I was so impressed with the promise of PS VR; an affordable and well supported VR platform that doesn't need an expensive rig or fancy GPU to run. All it needs is your PS4 and a few stellar titles to soar. But in the wake of PS VR's initial launch, there's one title that's exposing an altogether sickening reality.
DriveClub VR hasn't been having the best of times recently, with various sources bemoaning its shoddy graphics, smudged backdrops and generally unremarkable gameplay. But one thing that has really stood out from its resoundingly "meh" reviews is its ability to send armchair drivers racing to their toilets.
The Problem With VR And Nausea
Digital Spy said that spending time with DriveClub VR made you "lose all sense of depth and clarity of the tracks that will feel very familiar to some of you", meaning that the first rule of VR has been broken —immersion— which would naturally lead to gamers feeling a dire need to emancipate the fillings of their stomach from their bodies.
Graphical issues, a dodgy framerate and incongruous lighting has led to this — the greatest of misdemeanours to befall a title made especially for virtual reality. But we already know that in order to be able to offer PS VR for its rather competitive price, corners had to be cut and tech had to be adapted.
HTC & Valve's ludicrously high-tech headset — Vive — has the distinct advantage over the entire market by having a nifty trick that removes the sense of nausea from its experience.
It does this by deploying a full body motion tracking system, known as Lighthouse tracking, which basically pumps an area full of invisible light. In turn this light is detected by little photosensitive receptors on the headset and controllers. This technique is far more precise than PS VR's because when light is detected by a photosensor it instantly figures where the sensor is relative to where the light struck/where the user is standing.
If more than one sensor is hit at once this then formulates a 3D image, thus recreating your full form in the virtual realm. PS VR simply detects the blue lights from the headset, DualShock 4 and/or PS move wands and translates that into the virtual realm. That is still mighty impressive, but risky seeing PS Move is a pain for tracking.
So Vive gets you into the game whilst PS VR makes you a passenger begging to be let out at the side of the road. Virtual reality is a great gimmick, but, for now at least, one that comes with a potentially messy caveat.