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This week the PlayStation VR was finally released. Reviews have been mostly positive with its lower price and ease of setup. The unit also comes with something you rarely see anymore, a demo disk, with over a dozen games and experiences to try out. However there were some reported issues with head tracking. The PlayStation VR uses a single optical camera to track the headset and move controllers. The camera seems to have issues with things like sun light coming through windows or objects in the room reflecting the tracking lights. Another issue is the distance you need to be to for the camera to function properly. Sony recommends a distance of 5 feet from the camera with accuracy falling away quickly as you reach the edges of the 10 foot by 10 foot play space. If you encounter these issues, they are all pretty easy to work around, and the PlayStation VR gives a good VR experience for a lower price than other wired headsets. The PlayStation VR is available now in stores and online for $400 IF you already have the move controllers and camera, or bundled with them for around $575.
Apparently the PlayStation VR also works with Microsoft’s Xbox One, Nintendo’s Wii U and a regular PC. Before you get too excited, “works with” does not mean it suddenly enables regular games to work as VR games. The PlayStation VR has a Cinematic mode that lets you play regular 2D games on a large virtual Screen inside the headset. The trick is plugging the HDMI cable from another system into the PlayStation VRs processing box lets you view these devices on the virtual screen too. You do still need to have the PS4 USB connected and running but it will even upscale 720 video to so it’s a neat feature if you don’t mind a little cable swapping.
If you know anything about video games you may have heard of a company called Atari pioneer of video games in the 1970s and 80’s. Well its founder Nolan Bushnell is back and has decided to create a Virtual Reality Company called Modal VR. This isn’t a consumer system like the PlayStation VR, Vive or Rift. Instead it’s meant for larger arcade or stadium experiences with the demonstration video showing it set up on a soccer field. Right now there isn’t a whole lot of information about the system other than it is Portable, Wireless, features full body capture and can covers areas up to 900,000 sq. ft.
Finally, By now you have heard of the Samsung Galaxy note 7’s tendency to sometimes explode or catch on fire. Well some of the replacement Note 7’s thought to be safe are doing the same thing so Samsung has decided to stop production of the note 7 entirely. As a precaution Oculus pushed out an update to the Gear VR software that disables Gear VR Note 7 functionality. If you try to put a note 7 into a gear Vr You get the following massage, “Customer safety is Oculus’ top priority. Oculus is removing support for all Note 7 devices on the Oculus platform. Until further notice, Note7 devices will not be compatible with the Gear VR. For more information regarding the Note7, please contact Samsung directly.” Until further notice, seems to leave the door open for compatibility at some future date, but I seriously doubt Oculus will risk one of these phones literally blowing up in someone’s face.