Sony isn’t marketing their venture into virtual reality as a productivity device. But that doesn’t mean the PSVR doesn’t work for other situations.
We saw reports online this morning of the PSVR working with anything that wasn’t Sony’s console, and seeing as we had a headset in the office we figured — why not? The PSVR runs off a mixture of HDMI and USB cords, and given that the breakout box more or less is just a splitter there’s no reason it wouldn’t function as a second monitor.
And guess what? It does.
This is what you’ll get when you plug in the various HDMI cables, power for the PSVR’s processing unit/splitter, and the headset. My computer picked it up as a 1080p-capable monitor, which I could then move around as much as I’d like.
The one caveat was that while it was detected as a monitor by my computer, I couldn’t get an image on the headset unless the USB was plugged into the USB port of the PlayStation 4. The PS4 has to be turned on, as well — it won’t work if the PS4 is in rest mode. That’s probably a HDCP issue more than anything else; the NVIDIA Control Panel tells me that a “repeater is connected” when I check the PSVR’s HDCP status.
So, it’s not the most perfect solution. Especially when it comes to focusing. The PC treats PSVR as a virtual desktop, moving the screen around as you move your head. That tracking still worked whether the game was being played in a windowed dragged onto the VR screen (as was the case with The Talos Principle), or games that would select the PSVR as an exclusive fullscreen monitor (like DOOM and F1 2016).
The trick is that the centre of your view is always locked to wherever you’re currently looking, which means any HUD elements or items in the corners of the virtual screen will always be out of focus. Some coders and modders might find a way to work around that later on, and I don’t have a copy of Virtual Desktop to see what the experience is like there.
There’s no sound either, probably because the PSVR is using a proprietary format that was designed for the 3D positioning. From my understanding, the audio is sent in multiple streams and then encoded on the fly by the processing unit so the audio sounds like it is coming from the right place.
So that doesn’t work either. But on the flipside, you don’t need a PlayStation camera, a DS4 controller, or the Move controllers to get this going. It doesAnd it doesn’t just work with the PC, but other consoles too:
— 九絵あいす（カプチーノ風味） (@chirnoice) October 13, 2016
There’s also a Reddit thread about a user who got Forza Horizon 3 going on their Xbox One. Like the PC, the PSVR reverts to “cinematic mode” when used with other consoles. That’s more or less just a virtual screen that moves around.
So it’s not perfect. But hey! It’s nice to know that the PSVR isn’t just limited to your console. I’m not sure how many games you’d really want to play on other platforms when you can’t move around and keep everything in focus, but the fact that it works is pretty cool.