PlayStation VR is one of the most expensive console peripherals ever released, even if one could argue it’s affordable as a VR solution. That puts it in an awkward place in terms of value propositions, but Sony has at least a partial solution to the problem: They are throwing free software at buyers.
It’s a weird situation. Players in general rarely expect demos of any kind outside of a beta here and there for the bigger online games, and bundles with software included usually happen later in the lifecycle of consoles and hardware. But Sony is bucking these trends by including a physical demo disc inside every PlayStation VR box. An actual demo disc! A physical one you can hold in your hand!
The disc features demos of a wide variety of VR games, including DriveClub VR, PlayStation VR Worlds, Rigs: Mechanized Combat League, Tumble VR, Battlezone, Eve: Valkyrie, Wayward Sky and Headmaster, among others. There are an astounding 21 demos included, and you can also download the contents of the demo disc for free through the PlayStation Store if something happens to your physical copy.
That demo disc is good for hours of experimentation and play, even if you pick up nothing else with the hardware. It’s a tremendous collection of some of the best experiences from the PlayStation VR’s library.
All PlayStation VR players also get a free download of The Playroom VR, a collection of six somewhat thin but enjoyable virtual reality games. Many of the games in the collection even take advantage of PlayStation VR’s social screen, allowing other players to play with or against the player in the virtual reality headset. Want to make your VR session social or involve your kids or partner? This is an easy way to do so.
The games in The Playroom VR are easy to pick up and surprisingly enjoyable.
This is all great stuff, and already seems pretty generous, but the $500 PlayStation VR bundle also comes with a copy of PlayStation VR Worlds, which itself includes a wide variety of games and experiences. We’ve seen some of this content — like the shark encounter and London Heist — at press events before, but the final disc includes much more content than we expected, including shooting galleries and multiple undersea experiences.
There’s also a fun VR breakout-style game included called Danger Ball, and a version of street luge that’s fun, but can be a bit hard on the stomach. VR Worlds is being sold for $39.99 on its own, and it justifies the price. There’s even a fun science fiction game called Scavenger’s Odyssey included that I don’t remember seeing in any previews. It’s a pretty well-rounded collection of experiences and some of them, like Ocean Descent, are perfect for demoing the hardware to friends and family. You can just enjoy the scenery and the short story without worrying about holding a controller or interacting. It feels like a ride, and is welcoming to new players.
The fact that Worlds being included with the $499.99 PlayStation VR bundle is yet another reason the $399.99 bundle seems like a bum deal, which is kind of a weird move. If you already own the camera and the Move controllers, you’re a pretty hardcore Sony fan. Give these people the free game as well!
What’s striking is that Sony is willing to throw you a lot of content for buying the hardware, and new players will have hours upon hours of stuff to play through and try before they need to buy another game. This is also important because so many of the people who buy the PlayStation VR may have never tried virtual reality before; this sampler of content is a great way to allow them to try a number of different experiences of varying intensity so they can figure out what they like, as well as what they’d like to avoid.
The demo disc even gives you the ability to purchase any of the games directly from the PlayStation Network if you find something you really like. My tiny bit of advice? Give Bound and Headmaster and shot. I’m afraid those two games may be overlooked, and they’re very effective in VR.
This amount of free content is a nice touch when you’re spending $400 to $500 on new hardware, and I encourage new players to dig in and try a bit of everything. It’s a buffet! Even if you don’t think you’ll like something, give it a shot. Sony deserves some major kudos for including such an impressive amount of free content for early adopters, and the fact so much of it is good is just icing on the cake.