It’s time for PS VR to offer us more than just great games - bring us experiences too

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Before PlayStation VR launched, I got a little impatient and bought a Samsung Gear VR. Because it was designed to be powered by a mobile phone – albeit a powerful one – and didn’t come with a controller as standard, it tended to offer ‘experiences’ and other interesting apps instead of loads of games. Most of these were fantastic despite the Gear VR’s limitations.

Now that PlayStation VR is with us, it’s interesting to note that the opposite seems to be the case. If it’s games you’re looking for there’s a healthy selection to choose from, but if you fancy something different, things are still looking a little barren.

Don’t get me wrong: what’s there is great. Watching 360-degree videos on YouTube is fun, and the free short story Allumette is still easily one of my favourite PS VR experiences to date, acting out an entire beautifully animated play right in front of your eyes.

But with the headset’s first anniversary approaching, there could be so much more on there. Other VR systems have a special Netflix app that lets you watch films on a big TV in a virtual log cabin, or an app that sits you in a proper cinema while you watch your saved video files: I’d kill to have that on PS4 too rather than just the big floating screen you get when you view non-VR content.

How about a painting app where you use the PlayStation Move controllers to paint things in front of your eyes? Or a tourism app that lets you wander around foreign landmarks without having to leave your house? Google Earth VR is available on both major PC virtual reality headsets, so what’s the hold-up on PS4?

Obviously, since PS4 is a games console first and foremost it makes sense that the focus for PS VR’s first year has been on making a lot of great games. But I still find myself digging out my trusty Gear VR every now and then to walk around inside a Van Gogh painting or visit a neon sign museum in Las Vegas, and these are things I really wish I was doing on Sony’s headset instead. The core technology is there. Get on it, developers!

This article originally appeared in Official PlayStation Magazine. For more great PlayStation coverage, you can subscribe here.