Sony will enter the virtual reality race today as its PlayStation VR headset goes on sale in the UK.

The headset plugs into existing PlayStation 4 consoles to enable wearers to experience deep sea dives into shark-infested waters as well as become comic book hero Batman in new games set to launch alongside the system.

Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive headsets both launched earlier this year, but both also require a high-powered gaming laptop, which can cost more than £1,500. This is in addition to headset costs of £549 for the Rift and £749 for Vive.

It has been suggested that PlayStation VR’s price of £349 and its quick connection to a PS4 console could see it move ahead of its rivals in the VR market.

Several major gaming franchises have already been confirmed as working on VR versions of popular titles – the next Resident Evil game will have its own full VR alternative, while the Star Wars Battlefront series is also due to expand to the headset.

Competition in the sector will also come from budget headsets powered by smartphones.

Samsung’s Gear VR is available for less than £100, while Google is set to launch its Daydream headset later this year for £69. Both devices are wireless and require only a compatible smartphone to work.

Last week entertainment giant IMAX announced plans to enter the virtual reality space by revealing it will open a pilot scheme in Manchester later this year involving VR “pods” with headsets that will drop consumers into the middle of movie scenes.

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