Seeing as how Pure PlayStation covers a lot of PSVR news, I figured I’d make my next feature piece about the peripheral. After all I haven’t discussed the virtual reality headset since my article on how the technology can be used for non-gaming things as well. Although this time the experience is mostly negative. You see anywhereVR is an app that allows a user to sit comfortably in lovely settings with complimentary music playing softly in the background. Also, you can connect your phone to the “adventure” so you can browse whatever is on your mobile device’s screen. Sounds pretty awesome right? A perfect getaway within your very home? Sadly, it’s not even close.
anywhereVR originally released last year for Japan and left many western audiences quite salty. Of course the PSVR was still relatively new to store shelves back then and anything for the device would be pretty exciting. It was advertised as a mini-vacation where you could browse the internet on your phone while in those aforementioned comfy settings. Us Americans only got Perfect VR which unfortunately, let us sit in a handful of locations brought to life with sub-par graphics. Not to mention the relaxing angle faded away after a few minutes of boredom. Luckily, in case you missed it (because the PlayStation Blog stopped doing its Store update posts) anywhereVR finally released stateside this past Tuesday.
My eagerness was only equaled by the feeling of my patience finally paying off. I hopped into the app once it finished downloading with glee and was immediately taken to a beautiful beach. It was enjoyable figuring out how things worked for all about two minutes before I started to get pissed. Turns out you only get two maps (that I’ve had the forbearance to sit through) to lounge around in with the other at the base of, what I believe to be, Mt. Fuji. On top of that there are only five tunes that play and only three are what I’d consider relaxing. Where’s the rest of the content you ask? Well, it’s hidden behind up to $57 of microtransactions.
That’s right, people thought that a change in scenery and a few more tracks were worth up to $57. Don’t want to buy everything then? Well, still be prepared to pony up four dollars for generic BGM pieces and ten dollars for simply ten other locations to visit. I understand making money where you can, but not overpricing it by like 50%. If I wanted to get everything in this title I’d have to spend virtually the same as a fully priced retail game. That’s just not going to happen like Chris Harding’s failure to bring down Horizon Zero Dawn with his low opinion.
“OK Kyle, you’re right as always. But isn’t it relaxing to be on a beach whenever you want and have the option to scroll through your phone enough?” That’s the same conclusion I actually came to as well. For a free app it wasn’t a bad deal overall. Just don’t expect to use your phone in any meaningful way that won’t piss you off. To actually connect your phone to anywhereVR you have to download an app to your mobile device. Then link it to the same internet, sync with the appropriate PS4, and then start “casting.” My first two attempts to connect the app with my PS4 failed for no other reason except for app problems.
When I finally got everything in place I discovered the phone scrolling was completely broken, laggy, and suffering from latency issues. When doing anything on my phone I got severe lag that prevented anyone except a robot from enjoying themselves. I tried scrolling through Facebook and Twitter respectively and failed to read anything other than every tenth post. Even just opening the windows screen brought about such a delay that all but crashed the app. Were these game breaking issues anything the Japanese had to deal with? If so how come after a year these problems still haven’t been fixed? There’s just no excuse this was ready for release.
anywhereVR was strangely one of the few Japanese, PSVR releases I was looking forward too. So believe me when I say it’s heartbreaking that the experience is such a goddamn mess. If the developer and publisher expect me to keep this thing on my XMB dashboard, then prices for additional content need to be heavily slashed and the phone connection option needs an even more severe overhaul. There’s no way in hell this thing should have been released and I certainly won’t be touching it until I see an update on my downloads screen.