Jed Ashforth helped design the first Playstation VR. He shares his thoughts on PSVR 2 in a 7,000-word review.
Jed Ashforth, according to his Linkedin profile, worked at Sony for nearly 12 years, is a founding member of the Playstation VR project, and played a core role in identifying and realizing many aspects of the PSVR user experience on both hardware and software fronts. In 2017, Ashforth left Sony to start an XR consulting firm.
In March, Ashforth published a two-part article reflecting his thoughts on Playstation VR 2, which can be read as an extremely detailed review of the user experience. They're not a final verdict, though.
A final assessment is impossible, Ashforth says, as the software underlying the experiences will continue to be updated and lead to a better user experience down the road.
Ashforth explains Sony's controversial audio solution
For Ashforth, Playstation VR 2 is "(mostly) a fantastic step forward, but not without some niggles and annoyances."
He says the fit of the headset is a "mixed bag" and wished, that the messaging and education around the fitting would have been better, considering the much smaller sweet spot and the manual adjustment of the headset, which at times can feels like a "three-handed job".
He compares VR headsets to cars, an analogy that is particularly true of the Playstation VR 2."It’s kind of like getting a new car, where your ‘perfect’ seat settings need dialing in a little more precisely over your early trips, and you keep squirting your screen spray every time you try to flash your lights," Ashforth writes.
Sony's controversial decision to forgo integrated speakers is something Ashforth finds "kind of sensible." He explains the omission as follows: "Sony know their initial user base is core gamers, and our internal stats had always shown a significant take-up of audio headsets by core gamers. We did surveys, everyone wanted the headset to support their own cans or wireless buds."
He adds: "Sony’s latest Pulse audio headset is clearly designed to fill this need and Sony won’t mind supporting more sales there."
His verdict: Impressive, despite some niggles
In the second part of his article, Ashforth goes into more detail about the onboarding experience, the passthrough mode and the headset haptics, which he calls "another great addition to the hardware." Which, by the way, Sony researched during the development of the first Playstation VR to reduce motion sickness symptoms.
The VR headset is expensive, he said, but it delivers on that price point.
"Aside from a couple of niggles and wrinkles, though, the experience out of the box is hugely compelling and impressive, even for a serious PC VR-head like myself," Ashforth writes at the end. "There's so many improvements over PSVR1 that the migrant fanbase from that platform will feel like they've made a more-than-generational leap in the capabilities of the device, the controllers, and the overall user experience it offers."
Ashforth has much more to say about PSVR 2. You can find the link to his articles in the sources below.