When will Sony patch the PSVR & PS4 PRO?

The Playstation VR has been available since October 13, 2016. The PS4 PRO has been available since November 10, 2016. Neither platform has received a meaningful firmware update since launch, and both seem to have an astronomical number of issues.

I don’t own a Vive or Oculus Rift, so when the PSVR works correctly it is, for me, one of the most breathtaking gaming experiences I’ve had. But those instances where it works flawlessly are ephemeral. The PSVR view drifts over time as you play. Some games, like Thumper, are much worse about it than others. Motion controllers often lose calibration through the course of a single play session and begin jittering around the screen.

Players have been troubleshooting the hardware themselves on forums like /r/PSVR, coming up with massive lists of potential fixes. This results in a multi-step process just to start using the PSVR each time you play. First, it’s recommended that users fully reboot their consoles. Then, they should lay the PSVR headset on a flat surface and turn it on, waiting for 10 seconds before touching it. At this point they may as well run the calibration while they’re going to all this effort. Finally, they can put on the headset, grab a controller, and hope for the best.

The best for me is often great for 20-30 minutes or so before the issues start creeping in. Motion controls start acting strangely, the headset view pops in and out, and everything is almost always tilted slightly to one side. The fact that most of my issues don’t exist initially, that the PS Camera can be shown to lag after some time, and that the console needs to be rebooted fully, indicates to me that the PSVR platform has some serious software issues. Whether they are memory leaks that harm performance, or something more complicated, I don’t know. The point is that there is no fix yet, and very little from Sony addressing these issues directly.

The PS4 PRO isn’t much better, and its problems likely affect more people. The PSVR is a niche device for a small, but growing audience. The PS4 PRO is the next model of PS4, flat out. It is a mass market device, whether you have a 4K TV or not. Yet for all that, the /r/PS4Pro forum discussion is almost entirely dedicated to troubleshooting, rather than the improvements to the games, which themselves are often very hard to pinpoint.

For myself, the PS4 PRO suffers from constant blackouts. The handshake between the TV and console is lost, and the screen goes dark for 3-5 seconds. This can happen once a night, or several times in a row. Worse yet, it can happen within PSVR, when using the PSVR with the PS4 PRO.

Sony failed to update the PSVR’s processing unit to current HDMI standards, which means that you lose HDR support when you combine PSVR and PS4 PRO. That alone is a staggering oversight that punishes Sony’s most dedicated users. Imagine putting down $400USD for a PS4 PRO, $500USD for PSVR, and $1000+USD for a 4K+HDR TV, only to find out that they don’t play nice. That’s a reality for a lot of people right now.

That’s not the only conflict between the PSVR and PS4 PRO either. When using the PS4 rest mode, the two units don’t seem to talk to each other properly. When the console is put to sleep, the processing unit may stay on. At first I didn’t think much of it, assuming that eventually the issue would be fixed. Now, my processing unit’s fan is running very loudly. Did Sony put a cheap fan in the PSVR, then fail to polish their software in such a way that the fan would get overworked and start failing after only a couple of months? I hope not, but I’m a support call away from figuring that out.

I really appreciate the graphics benefits of the PS4 PRO, and the experience of PSVR is often incredible. I’m even willing to suck up a certain about of early adopter punishment while Sony irons out the kinks on these devices. The problem is that we really have no idea if these issues will ever be fixed, if they can be, or if Sony has shipped faulty hardware that needs to be replaced. In the meantime, I’d recommend treading lightly with these platforms, especially if you’re looking to buy soon.


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