If you’re a non-gamer, the options for virtual reality headsets have been somewhat limited. The best of the best—Oculus Rift and HTC Vive—require powerful (and expensive) computers and are ideally suited to hardcore gamers. At the other end of the spectrum, smartphone-powered headsets like Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard offer subpar optics that can quickly strain the eye.
PlayStation VR, meanwhile, represents a happy middle ground, thanks to its 1080p OLED display and the fact it runs off a standard PlayStation 4 console. Until recently, PS VR was all about games and games alone. But a recent update and a gradual rollout of new apps means non-gaming content is growing and growing fast on PlayStation VR.
Late last week, PlayStation released an update to make PlayStation VR compatible with YouTube’s vast (and ever-growing) array of free 360-degree videos. This means you can hang with elephants on an African safari, go skydiving from the comfort of your couch, tap into live 360-degree broadcasts, or simply search “360 degree video” and see what part of the world you end up exploring.
Premium video apps
Beyond YouTube, you’ll now find handful of other video apps in the digital PlayStation storefront, including Jaunt, Within, and Littlstar VR. These apps offer access to hundreds of hours of “cinematic” quality VR content from professional filmmakers. Highlights include the Pure McCartney Experience, The Lion King, and the Rio Olympics.
The Martian VR Experience
The Martian VR Experience is a companion app to the 2015 film starring Matt Damon. It plunks you into the space boots of stranded astronaut Mark Watney as he struggles to survive on the surface of Mars. You’ll retrace and relive key moments from the film, blurring the line between game and movie as you navigate craters and experience cinematic storytelling from an entirely new perspective.