So, Switch or VR? That is the question…
To begin: A little about me
I’ll start by admitting up front that I currently don’t own either console. Although, I have played extensively on each with friends. I’ll also admit that I am a little biased, I’ve always been a fan of Sony’s products. Now, having said that, I’ve been looking to upgrade/expand my games collection. I’m, also, not so stuck in my ways that I wouldn’t take Nintendo’s newest creation into consideration. When I first watched the advert showing me that I’d be able to take my console anywhere, I was intrigued. Not enough to rush off and buy one but enough to think it worth investigating.
Now for the real stuff: Cost
The first thing to take into consideration is the initial cost of the console – on their initial release the two consoles cost about the same amount. This hasn’t changed a huge amount since, with the Switch retailing on average for $390.80 (£274.74) while the PlayStation’s VR headset retails on average for $380 (£267). With only a $14.24 (£10) difference between the two, you then need to take into consideration what does the console come with? For the most part, the Switch comes with a game, while the VR usually comes in a ‘starter pack’ meaning that it includes all of the additional bits of equipment and typically a game. (Shown below.) Meaning you get a little more ‘bang for your buck’.
The fact that the two consoles are pretty much on par for cost so far, it comes down to the games available. I like to know that straight away I’m going to not only have a choice of games but actually be able to afford more than one a month without breaking the bank. Nevertheless, even in this aspect, the pair are pretty equal. With most games costing between $19.21 (£13.49) and $85.44 (£59.99) depending on the quality. However, if you have a PlayStation online account then you can get a free PlayStation’s VR game every month. So again, the pair is equal. Consequently, it comes down to what kind of games are there? The short answer is a lot.
On the top, we have an example of two PlayStation’s VR games, The Deep and The Persistence. Each one offering a unique and immersive experience, The Deep allows you to explore the ocean from within a shark cage, which you can choose too gently drift deeper and deeper in the ocean, or you can go for more of a thrill and try shark diving. Meanwhile, The Persistence, not yet released, is a stealth horror game that involves navigating your ship while avoiding your mutated shipmate’s hell-bent on eating you.
The Switch offers a classic Nintendo experience with bright colors and cartoon style animated games like Super Mario Odyssey, bottom right. Which involves playing as Mario and Cappy as they set out on an adventure to save Princess Peach. The Switch also offers games like Arms, a battle style game in which players fight using a variety of extendable arms with unique powers. As always, the choice comes down to a personal preference for game styles. I find that PlayStation tends to offer a more varied gaming experience than Nintendo does.
The good, the bad and the ugly:
Okay, so now my favorite part…the pros and cons of each. As I’ve already mentioned my bias, I will start with the PlayStation’s VR.
- 3D experience both through it’s 5.7” screen and its audio
- Built-in Mic
- Precision control – including tracking and depth sensors within the camera and a variety of controllers
- Can ‘play together’ by projecting your screen onto the TV using mirror mode
- Can watch 3D movies
- VR Experiences
- Free games through PlayStation
- Usually only one player with the headset
- Difficulty in setting up the headset for optimal vision, especially if sharing
- If you don’t already have the additional equipment you’ll need the starter pack
- Not conveniently portable
- Quite bulky
To summarize, an incredible experience almost every time and easy to get lost in the game with a variety of games to choose from, you can also play with others either online or in your home. However, it’s quite a bulky piece making it harder to transport and I can’t stress enough how annoying it is to have to re-adjust the headset.
On to the Switch:
- Number of games available increasing
- Variety of modes to play in (TV, Tabletop, and Handheld)
- Multiplayer (comes with two controllers and you can connect up to 8 consoles)
- Interactive motion control
- Nintendo Labo (For kids)
- Controllers are uncomfortable and sometimes difficult to use
- Not a huge range of games
Again, to summarise, it’s easier to play with others and it’s transportable meaning you can play anytime, anywhere. Which is arguable considering the fact that if you’re at work you probably aren’t allowed to play video games. The interactive motion control makes it feel more like a classic Wii and the variety of modes means that even in a small apartment you can play. However, the controllers, without any additional pieces, are uncomfortable and sometimes difficult to use. Especially if you aren’t used to smaller controllers. But, Labo is coming! If you’re not sure what this is I recommend checking it out on Nintendo’s site.
Now that we’ve covered the most important parts, the question is which one should you buy?
For me it easily has to be the PlayStation’s VR, it’s generally better value for the money and not to sound like a broken record but it’s completely immersive. I’d much rather spend an hour in the evening totally lost in a new world than getting to spend an extra 30 minutes playing on the cramped bus during my commute to work.
Additionally, it’s just me playing (my housemate hates video games) so the annoyance of having to re-adjust the headset doesn’t really exist and I don’t have a huge need to take the headset with me anywhere. But, like I said everyone is an individual and something that I dislike about them may be what draws you to it. So go with your gut feeling and ask which do I see myself spending more time with?