Choosing to spend on Samsung or Sony

My wife and I used to frequent San Diego Comic-Con but a couple of years ago she stopped coming with me. It went from being something we expensed from our shared accounts to one that I expense out of my own. The convention is a pricey affair and one of the impacts of paying for it from my personal funds is that I have less money to spend on virtual reality and other tech. Last month there was a new Gear 360 camera that I really desire. There was also a new Gear VR (which didn’t interest me) and a Gear VR controller (which did). This week is the Sony Aim Wireless VR Controller for PSVR. Those are the three goodies that have my attention. I made myself wait until all three were released and reviewed before deciding which one to get. Last night I visited Best Buy and made my purchase.

Photo courtesy of Samsung

I already own a couple of 360 cameras. I started shooting “photospheres” back when it was an Android only thing and they could only be shared on Google+. When the Ricoh Theta came to market I bought one. Ditto the Theta S. When Samsung got in the business with the Gear 360 I had to have one of those. And, now, ditto the Gear 360 2017 model. The thing is the new Gear 360 doesn’t check all the boxes for me. It has better stitching, better color balance, and upgraded video resolution. It’s got a lot of desirable upgrades, but the camera resolution is basically the same. My primary use case is as a camera on a tripod or monopod. I read the reviews and watched the sample videos and I’ve really done my homework. Ultimately I’ve decided to pass on this one. Maybe something better comes along later this year or maybe the 2018 version is where it’s at.

Photo courtesy of Samsung

Back in January I wrote that my Gear VR is gathering dust. Ever since I got the PSVR the Gear has seemed paltry. It currently lives behind the passenger seat of my truck. Every now and then I’ll watch a video or something in it on my lunch hour. When the news of the controller broke I immediately thought this would change my relationship with the headset. I already own a wireless joystick that’s Gear compatible but that lives at home, where I use it to play Lode Runner or old console emulators on my phone. Plus, the joystick is something of a bother to connect to my phone. There is a ton more Gear content than there is PSVR content, and it’s cheaper content. Every week there is something new whereas the PSVR has been on a lull. These are valid reasons to me why I should own the Gear VR controller and have it live alongside of my headset and use it all the time. I was able to tamp down my desires for the 360 camera pretty easily, but the Gear VR controller has lived in my consciousness for the past month.

Photo courtesy of Sony Interactive Entertainment

A couple of days ago the game Farpoint released for PSVR. It’s the first game compatible with the new PSVR gun – the Aim Controller – and you can buy the game and the gun bundled together. I’m not much into shooting games and I’m not much into first-person shooters. I want the Aim Controller mostly because I tried the John Wick Experience (a first-person shooter) at the IMAX VR theater and really enjoyed it. If I can capture that experience at home then I’m sold. The thing is, not being a shooter type of guy, it doesn’t make sense for this to be the purchase. The game and gun bundle costs more than the Gear VR controller and I know I’ll enjoy the Gear content while I’m not sure about Farpoint.

In the end I bought the Aim Controller for PSVR. I decided based upon a couple of things. The first is the game pipeline. There’s already a second game released that uses the gun (Dick Wilde) with support coming soon to an existing game (The Brookhaven Experiment). Both of these titles appeal to me. There are a few other games coming later this year that will make use of the Aim Controller, too. My concern with not buying the gun is fear of missing out when those new games arrive. Even if they’re all shooters and I’m not a shooter guy I know I’ll want to at least try them. Further, I’m familiar enough with both Gear and PSVR to know that hand controller for the Gear won’t really get me to haul the goggles out from behind the seat. It will take a killer app for that to happen. I feel bad about saying that, too, because Gear was my first headset. It’s what sold me on VR. That demo in my local Best Buy was magical. I’ve since found the greater magic to happen on my PlayStation. As much as I want to experience all the things, given limited money and limited time I choose to spend mine under the goggles with Sony for now.