How to Use PSVR For PC?
Do you play virtual reality (VR) games on Steam? If you do, then it’s essential to have a headset that can give you a fully immersive experience. There are several VR headsets to choose from, but we argue that the PlayStation VR is the one to get. And despite its name, you can definitely use the PSVR on PC.
What is PlayStation VR on PC
While it’s not the best way to experience PC-powered VR games and experiences, there is a way that you can use your PlayStation VR headset on your PC, sans Motion controllers. You won’t be able to play room-scale games, but you should be able to enjoy Standing VR games that offer keyboard and mouse/controller support.
Either way, it’s worth a go, especially if one of your favourite games has VR support. Here’s how to set up and use PlayStation VR on your PC.
PlayStation VR Features
- Mirroring mode
- 3D audio processing
- 90Hz to a 120Hz refresh rate
- OLED display
- Cinematic mode
- 4K and HDR support
- 100-degree field of view
- 1920xRGBx1080 panel resolution
- Six-axis motion sensing system
- Supports multiple ports
To use a PSVR HMD to play VR games on your PC, you’ll need a gaming computer that has a free HDMI port. The PSVR’s resolution is much lower than the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive HMDs, but don’t expect to play VR games on a budget GPU: Your system must be able to maintain 120fps at 1080p to play games properly on the PSVR headset.
The setup also requires a free USB port. I’ve read suggestions that you need a USB 3.0 port, but the Trinus PSVR software doesn’t include documentation, and the setup diagram doesn’t specify what kind of USB port to use. In fact, I was forced to use a USB 2.0 port, as the PC didn’t detect the PSVR in any of my test system’s USB 3.0 ports.
Before plugging the PSVR hardware into the computer, you must install the Trinus PSVR application. The software is available as a free trial to let you get a feel for what playing with the PSVR on your PC is like.
- Operating System: 64-Bit Microsoft Windows 7 OS or later
- RAM: At least 8GB
- Graphics Card: At least NVIDIA GTX 980 or its AMD equivalent
- Storage type: PCIe NVMe Solid-state drive (SSD)
Trinus PSVR Setup Process
Once you have the Trinus PSVR software installed, fire it up and click on the “How To” tab. Here you’ll find a wiring diagram that provides a visual reference that shows how you should wire the headset. You must plug the headset into the processor box and plug the processor box into the PC via USB and HDMI. You can leave the extra HDMI port on the processor box empty, or you can plug in an optional display. Finally, plug in power for the process box.
Once the hardware is plugged in, click on the “Set Up” tab for explanations of the two modes of use. Trinus PSVR includes two distinct modes for two different use cases. You can opt to run Trinus PSVR in Mouse Mode, which allows you to play games meant for standard displays inside the HMD. Mouse Mode is designed for games that offer side-by-side (SBS) rendering. Most games don’t offer SBS rendering, but some notable titles, such as Doom 3 and Crysis offer that option. For games that don’t offer native SBS rendering, the Trinus PSVR includes an option to force SBS, but it doesn’t add 3D depth. Trinus PSVR is also compatible with third-party tools which convert traditional games for VR, such as Vireio Perception, TriDef, or VorpX.
With Mouse Mode, you can use your PSVR to play a tremendous library of content that was never actually meant for VR in the first place. That option may work for many gamers, but people that often suffer from motion sickness would likely have trouble with such a solution.
Trinus PSVR also offers a SteamVR Mode, which gives you access to Steam’s growing library of proper VR content. Steam has a limited selection of seated VR games, so eventually, you’ll want a motion controller solution, but Trinus PSVR gives you access to the same content that OSVR users enjoy.
The Trinus PSVR installer should install the Trinus PSVR SteamVR driver. You can verify that the driver is installed by checking the SteamVR folder located in C:Program Files (x86)Steamsteamappscommon. If the driver is missing, there’s an install button in the Trinus PSVR software.
After you’ve verified the driver is installed correctly, click on the “Main” tab to choose the mode you wish to use. The main page also allows you to adjust the rotation scale and IPD. Here you’ll find a drop-down box that allows you to specify which display is the PSVR.
The main page is also where you find the buttons that turn the processor box on and start the PSVR headset. The PSVR’s processor box doesn’t turn on when you hook it up to a PC, but the Trinus PSVR software can send a signal to the box to initialize VR Mode. Once the processor box is on, you can press the start button to send a signal to the headset to start. The start button in the software launches service that accesses the headset. You must still press the power button on the headset to turn on the display and tracking lights.
If the PSVR turns on correctly, you still have a couple of steps to take care of. First off, go into the display settings and make sure that you’re PSVR is configured as an extended display. The PSVR HMD is unsurprisingly not supported natively by your graphics driver, so Direct Mode is not available. Ensure that the display is set for 1080p while you’re in the display settings.
Now you can proceed to launch SteamVR, which should identify the HMD as a Vive. Follow the procedure to configure SteamVR for Standing Only experiences to calibrate the orientation sensors and the height of the person using the PSVR.
Trinus PSVR is experimental, beta software, so don’t expect a walk in the park. I ran into several problems trying to get the PSVR to work with SteamVR that left me scratching my head.
For example, if you’ve ever dabbled with PSVRFramework, which is a similar piece of software, you may run into trouble. Make sure you remove all remnants of the PSVRFramework before installing Trinus PSVR. I didn’t run into this problem, as I’ve yet to play with PSVRFramework, but several people on Reddit have.
A problem I did run into involves my desktop display. Trinus PSVR doesn’t play nice with 4K displays. The first time I fired up Trinus PSVR with SteamVR, the SteamVR compositor showed up on my 4K display, but not the headset display. I pressed the Windows key + left arrow to move the compositor window to the headset to the PSVR window, only to experience the compositor window lock up in the headset.
Thinking the problem may be due to display scaling, I set the 4K display to 100% scaling and tried again, but it was no use. I had better luck—this time it didn’t crash the software–but the display IPD was so bad that I could see the replicated images overlapping each other. I reached out to the developer for suggestions and was told to change the desktop display to 1080p so that it matches the display in the PSVR headset. Suddenly I remembered the days of tinkering with the Oculus DK1 and all the nightmares it brought with it.
With the desktop monitor set to 1920×1080, SteamVR worked, and the IPD calibration lined up correctly. Finally, we were off to the races.
Head Tracking Not Working
Trinus PSVR offers an experimental head-tracking option, but in my experience, it doesn’t work well. You can configure a webcam to work with Trinus PSVR, which then tracks the LED markers on the PSVR headset. Theoretically, a webcam should be able to track the headset. After all, the PlayStation Eye that Sony used with the Move controllers for the PS3 isn’t much different than a standard webcam. The people behind Trinus PSVR have their work cut out for them, though. I tried this option out and found tracking wasn’t any better with the camera.
More To Test
So far, I’ve managed to get the PSVR working on my PC, and I fired up a couple of games on it. My preliminary testing was done with the trial version of Trinus PSVR, but I plan to purchase a copy and explore the possibilities further. I’m also on the hunt for a couple of PlayStation Eye cameras to play around with Move support.
Trinus PSVR is paving the way to making the PSVR the best value VR option, not just because it’s more affordable than the Rift and Vive, but also because it has the potential to access the widest range of content. Software like this, while not ready for mainstream, will go a long way to foster a rich community of VR enthusiasts.