Virtual reality is the next level of gaming and PlayStation VR is the first kit to take this technology to the masses.

While other systems have needed high-end personal computers to run or have offered basic experiences as attachments to smartphones, Sony delivers a quality set-up that can be enjoyed in living rooms through its PS4 games console that millions of players already own.

PlayStation VR has sold more than two million units in the 14 months since it first came out and is likely to feature on many gamers’ Christmas lists this year.

If you’re buying one or looking to give one, here are a few observations on it you might find useful:

So many cables

Unpacking the VR kit if a moment of joy. It’s like playing pass the parcel as you unpeel the various layers and then there it is – your beautifully sleek black and white headset that looks like it’s been hand-delivered by the future.

But before you get to virtual reality, you first need to experience some plain old reality as it dawns on you just how many cables the VR system comes with. A cable from the headset connects to another cable which then connects to the processor unit. Cables from the processor unit then connect to your PlayStation, TV and power socket. Then of course there’s the camera needed for the PSVR that also needs to connect to your PS4.

Everything is very simple to set up as it’s just a case of slotting things into the right holes and pressing the right buttons - just beware there are a LOT of wires involved so you’ll want to be careful if you have small children or pets running around in your living room.

News Shopper: Sony's PlayStation VR kit

True immersion

If the moment you get your VR headset out the box is joyful, it’s nothing compared to the feeling of putting the headset on for the first time and hooking up to the virtual world. It’s jaw-droppingly, awe-inspiringly, mind-bogglingly fantastic.

It’s extremely hard to put into words the sensation of being instantly transported to another universe. You know you’re still in your living room but suddenly everything in front of you, behind you, to the sides, above and below you is different and yet looks real.

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I started gentle with Ocean Descent in VR Worlds which is a non-interactive experience that sends you on a short underwater adventure. Sitting there watching the aquatic wildlife swimming around was incredibly immersive and provided the first of many wow moments. I just wanted to reach out and touch the animals but of course I couldn’t – instead when I reached out all I touched was my armchair and coffee table.

Fortunately, I've not been afflicted by VR sickness which can affect some players in a similar way to motion sickness. You might want to check before you buy to make sure the amazing immersion isn’t going to be too much for your stomach or head.

Limited library

Either Sony needs to pull its finger out with more first-party games or it needs to chivvy up third-party developers. Despite PSVR being out for more than a year now, the range of titles available for it is weak. Quantity is on the low side and the overall quality is questionable too.

Much of what’s available so far is either little more than a tech demo or an additional mission bolted on to an existing game. The experiences on offer tend to be very brief and basic, such as David Attenborough’s First Life which is interesting but comes in at a measly 11 minutes for the £5 entry price.

It makes me fear that VR could go the same way as other much-heralded Sony hardware in the past such as the Vita handheld console which has as good as been killed off due there not being a steady flow of strong games to play on it.

Fortunately, there are some very good things to play on VR, albeit a limited selection. RIGS is an excellent futuristic sports-cum-combat game that’s a lot of fun, while Fruit Ninja goes to another level in the transfer from touchscreen to VR as you slice through bananas and watermelons with your sword. Battlezone (below) is a tank game that combines striking neon visuals with a whole lot of action. Then there’s Superhot, where first-person shooter meets puzzle game with the tagline ‘Time moves only when you move’.

News Shopper: Battlezone for PlayStation VR

Even those aforementioned brief or bolted-on experiences can be great. Getting to be a superhero in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Batman: Arkham or flying the X-Wing mission in Star Wras Battlefront are blasts of pure nerd-vana.

Dust off those old peripherals

Sony’s habit of releasing gaming tech with bags of potential and then letting it die off extends beyond the Vita. It did pretty much the same thing with the Move controller and PlayStation Camera during the PS3’s days. While its excellent little handheld is unlikely to ever get much love again, the two accessories mentioned have at least made a comeback with Sony’s VR.

News Shopper: PlayStation VR starter bundle including VR Worlds and camera

You can buy a new and slightly nicer looking camera for the VR kit or you can dig out your old one if you’ve still got it. The same goes for the long-forgotten and seemingly abandoned motion controller which has been brought out of premature retirement to enhance some of the games on VR.

If you’re not a fan of waving a wand, you can make do with the standard DualShock 4 controller for most games but you will without exception need a camera to run the VR system. Fortunately my kit, which came courtesy of online marketplace, had a camera included. It also had the five-in-one games collection VR Worlds, the highlight of which is the gritty and sweary shooter London Heist which is like a Danny Dyer gangster movie in which you’re the lead (like many other VR games, it’s far too short but good fun). This starter bundle, which sells for just under £300, is much better than the launch pack that comprised just the headset, requiring accessories to be bought separately and had no games included.

News Shopper: PlayStation VR starter bundle including VR Worlds and camera

Not a space eater

Before I got my VR kit I was worried I wouldn’t have the space required to fully enjoy it in my relatively small living room. Luckily it hasn’t been a problem.

The recommendation is for an area 10 feet deep by six feet wide. It turns out this isn’t really as big as I first thought, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t been 10 feet back from my camera and TV when I’ve been in VR – seven or eight feet maybe.

Another good thing about the PlayStation VR is you can mostly play it while sitting down. A lot of the games focus on head movements or hand gestures in a fairly restricted way, which reduces the need for a big wide open space for you to move around in, along with the dangers to people around you from flailing arms.

Overall verdict

When I first looked at getting PSVR last year shortly after it came out, a very honest and candid Game employee told me I should wait. He told me it was too early to properly recommend buying it due to the shortage of games, the demo-like nature of a lot of the software that was available at the time and how the technology would need time to be improved. He said it was a fun toy but wasn’t yet ready to be a new era in gaming.

I took them as wise words and held back from purchasing.

Fast-forward a year and I think what I was told still holds true now. The PSVR offering hasn’t really changed much and there has only been a small number of games for it that could be classed as ‘essential’ at a stretch.

It will take a couple more years to know if Sony’s VR is a hit or miss, and whether it will join the list of tried but failed products. It feels like a bit of a stand-off at the moment – where there needs to be more to it, such as better games, to make it a better proposition but then perhaps it needs to be embraced more by gamers to spark the development it needs.

But while PlayStation VR isn’t currently a must-have gadget, it’s still one hell of a toy that has a lot going for it in terms of affordability, accessibility and capability – strapping the headset on and transporting to the amazing world you’ll find in virtual reality will give your Christmas a real wow factor. There are some truly special moments to enjoy that previously just weren’t possible through a games console – to that end, the future has arrived.