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PlayStation VR supports room-scale experiences, clearing the way for Vive ports

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You'll have room to move, which is great news!

Sony has released many details about the $399 Playstation VR during the 2016 Game Developer's Conference, but one of the most interesting aspects of the hardware is just how large the tracking area becomes with the required $60 PlayStation 4 camera.

This slide from the company's GDC presentation yesterday, seem above, shows how much room you have to move while wearing the PlayStation VR headset.

"It's very important to clearly define the play space the player is going to be playing in ... we want to make sure that your play area is kind of a sacred space, because you're going to be flailing around, jumping, having fun," Chris Norden, senior staff engineer at Sony said during the talk. "And the developer should have complete freedom to choose how they want to define the play space. So if you want to have a smaller area, if you want to be seated, if you want to be standing, if you want to have people move around that's great."

You'll be given a visual indicator and warning when you begin to get close to the boundaries of your virtual space, as shown in the slide below:

sony slide vr

So the PlayStation VR isn't just a seated or standing experience; you'll have some room to move. "We want [developers] to have the freedom to do what they want to do, and we have games that explore the entire range of that," Norden continued.

So you'll be able to stand to use the PlayStation VR, and move around in an area that's roughly 1.9 by 2.4 meters, or 5.7 by 7.2 feet. That's plenty of space to take a few steps in any direction and would allow most, if not all, Vive developers to port their experiences to the PlayStation VR. At least in terms of movement space required.

For reference, Ben Kuchera's current Vive Pre testing space is three by three meters, shown below:

Vive Pre space 2

That space is larger than the tracking area of the PlayStation VR, but it's rare that Ben uses most of that space during actual play. Many games also offer options for smaller spaces or standing options; developers are already thinking ahead about supporting players without the space for "true" room-scale VR or platforms like PlayStation VR that offer smaller tracking spaces.

This is all good news for VR enthusiasts. While the PlayStation 4 may not be able to match the power of high-end gaming PCs running Vive or Rift games, the tracking area is plenty large enough to match the requirements of almost all existing Vive titles.