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Sony PlayStation VR (PSVR) Review

Health, Safety, & Maintenance

Sony’s health and safety warnings for the PSVR are a little bit different than what we've seen from HTC’s Vive and Oculus’ Rift, though the PSVR has a similar age recommendation as the other two systems. The instructions say that “the VR headset is not for use by children under age 12.” Sony doesn't cite a reason why kids shouldn’t play with the headset, though.

HTC and Oculus include similar warnings with their HMDs. HTC doesn’t specify an age limit, though it acknowledges the Vive isn’t meant for children. Oculus warns against using the Rift unless you're 13 or older due to its IPD adjustment range. You can dial in the Rift’s lenses to as little as 58mm, but that's still too far apart for young children. The PSVR headset doesn’t offer mechanical IPD adjustment at all, so it may not be suited to narrow faces. Improper IPD calibration can lead to motion sickness, depth perception issues, and, in young children, potential long-term vision issues.

You Don’t Get A Digital Nanny; Safety Is Your Problem

Sony designed the PSVR for your living room or recreation room because that’s where most people have their gaming consoles. The PSVR system is also intended primarily for seated experiences. Its hardware can accommodate standing VR games, but Sony seems to frown on that configuration. With few exceptions, most games have you sitting down.

As such, the company doesn't include a safety system for the PSVR that maps out your play space. HTC’s Vive includes a system called Chaperone that helps you keep track of the real world as you navigate virtual environments. As you approach the threshold of your defined zone, a virtual grid appears to make you aware. Oculus didn’t have a solution like Chaperone when the Rift launched last year, but now that the Touch controllers are available, it has an equivalent called Guardian.

Sony’s Move controllers offer six degrees of freedom tracking, but the tracking space is too narrow for proper room-scale VR games. Rather than encourage you to move around by adding a safety system, Sony instead tells developers not to build games for PSVR that depend on room-scale.

Sony doesn't dismiss safety altogether, though. When you turn the PSVR on, you’ll see a message warning you to verify that your play space is clear. You don’t want to swing your hands around on the couch and smash them into the coffee table, so be sure to clear space in front of you.

How Do You Keep The PSVR Clean?

The PSVR HMD isn’t as fragile or delicate as the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Oculus made the Rift out of fabric, so you can’t wipe the shell off with a cloth, and the Vive is littered with IR sensors that are sensitive to moisture, so you can’t get it damp at all. Sony built the PSVR out of injection-molded plastic and sealed the LED lights behind plastic lenses, which you can wipe off easily.

Even the foam cushion on the headband is washable; Sony wrapped it in a water-resistant rubber-like material. The cushions for the Vive and Rift absorb sweat, but the PSVR’s cushion doesn’t.

The lenses are the only external part of the headset that you shouldn’t ever get wet. Sony includes a cloth in the PSVR package to clean grease and fingerprint smudges off of them. If you lose the provided cloth, use a cloth meant for cleaning corrective lenses. Any other material could scratch the lenses.