Playstation VR, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are finally upon us, so we've taken a look at what each device has to offer.
Virtual reality has certainly made a mark in 2016, seeing the release of three flagship headsets and dozens of ambitious and experimental games for us to play. And the best part is, it's accessible to everyone. VR can now be played on mobile, console and high-end PCs.
Both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive have impressed since launching earlier this year, demonstrating their PC-based VR experiences for some time. Nows it's Sony's time to shine with PlayStation VR: a cheaper, and slightly less capable alternative.
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With that in mind, we've compared the Playstation VR to HTC's Vive headset to see how they stack up. How different will the console VR experience be to the PC one? Let's take a look.
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive Release Date – When are they coming out?
Both PlayStation VR and HTC Vive are now available to order worldwide, as are a selection of unique games for both headsets.
Order HTC Vive from Amazon.com for $799
Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive Price – How much will they cost?
Prior to Sony's launch event, there were reports that PSVR would come with a £360 price tag, thanks to a slip up by Swiss retailer Microspot which briefly listed the headset for 498 Swiss Francs.
There was even talk of Sony's offering costing more than the Oculus Rift, thanks to a Forbes report which listed the price as $1,125 Canadian dollars. That would work out to £550 – £50 more than the Oculus and only £140 cheaper than the HTC Vive.
At its press conference, Sony ended all speculation by revealing just how much you'll have to shell out for Playstation VR. The headset will cost you £349 in the UK and $399 in the US.
Considering you don't have to spend a lot of money upgrading or buying a new PC, as is the case with the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, that's a pretty decent price.
In terms of the Vive, HTC revealed in February that the Vive would go on sale for £689 in the UK, and $799 in the US. That's considerably more than Playstation VR, but it's important to remember all the extra stuff that comes with the Vive. You'll get the headset, two wireless controllers, two base stations, a link box, earbuds, Vive accessories, and three pre-bundled VR experiences.
The first of the bundled software is Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives. Set in a futuristic world where robots have replaced human jobs, you take on the role of a robot learning what it was like to work as a human in a variety of roles. The other, called Fantastic Contraption, involves building insane structures in fantastical locations.
Those who pre-order will also get Google's Tilt Brush painting experience which takes place in 3D space and allows you to paint with stars, light, fire, and move through your creations as if they were real.
What's more, HTC's VR tech is simply more advanced than Sony's, which is another reason for the higher price and a perfect segue into our section on specs...
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive – Specs
The HTC Vive features two 1,200 x 1,080 pixel OLED displays, making for a combined resolution of 2,160 x 1,200, and offers a 90Hz refresh rate. While the Playstation VR's one 5.7 inch 1,920 x 1,080 OLED display is smaller than the Vive's, it has a higher 120Hz refresh rate, which renders games at an impressive 120fps.
When it comes to field of view, the Vive offers 110 degrees, while PSVR features a slightly narrower 100 degrees. The difference will hardly be noticeable however.
Where the Vive really differs from PSVR is in the motion tracking department. HTC's headset comes fitted with a gyrosensor, accelerometer, and laser position sensors. What does that all mean? It means the Vive is the only VR headset which will let you get up and walk around within the virtual world.
The bundled Lighthouse bases emit lasers which track the sensors on the Vive and its controllers within a space of 15 x 15 feet. Within that defined space, you're free to roam around whichever VR experience you're playing – something which Sony's headset doesn't offer.
The Vive also comes with a front-facing camera which will allow you to see the real world while still wearing the headset. It also means we could see elements of the real world overlaid on the virtual one and vice versa– an exciting prospect for anyone looking forward to augmented reality.
As mentioned, PSVR won't come with the kind of tracking capabilities offered by the Vive, but it will be capable of tracking your head movement using a PS4 connected camera. The camera monitors LED lights on the side of the headset, which Sony says allows PSVR to be tracked up to 1,000 times per second. Combined with a sensor on the back of the headset, it means you'll be able to turn your head a full 360 degrees while in the virtual world.
What's more, you won't be plugging Playstation VR directly into your PS4 console. The headset comes with an additional box, packed with all the hardware required to run the 3D VR tech, which connects Playstation VR to the PS4. The box does allow you to output the VR events to your TV screen, so anyone watching can see how you're getting on with your virtual adventures.
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive – Design
HTC's second development kit – the HTC Vive Pre – was a big improvement over the original design.
The HTC Vive Pre headset is more compact and comes with an improved adjustable strap for greater stability and balance. The front of the headset features several indents where the 32 sensors sit, while PSVR has a distinctly smoother, and dare we say more modern, finish.
Sony's headset is also an altogether simpler affair in terms of design. The curved visor is held on by a strap that goes all the way around the head, and lacks the HTC's front to back, over the top of the head, strap. It's also lighter than the Vive and features LED lights around the edge of the visor which are used to track movement.
Both Sony and HTC have made their headsets wearable with glasses, while the latter has also added interchangeable foam inserts and nose pads to ensure the Vive sits comfortably on any face shape and works with a range of glasses styles.
There's also the aforementioned front-facing camera on the Vive, which will allow you to interact with the outside world without having to take off the headset.
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Both the Vive and Playstation VR are wired, but the Vive comes with considerably more cables, no doubt a result of having to run much more graphically intensive games across two separate screens as opposed to one.
Neither headset comes with built-in headphones either, meaning you're going to have to hook up your own if your want the full VR experience. The Vive and Playstation VR come with a built-in headphone jack, and the Vive ships with ear buds.
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive – Controllers
Of course, none of the above would matter without the ability to interact with the virtual environment. Sony, in its quest to provide the most accessible VR experience possible, has made sure you can use your regular DualShock 4 controller when using Playstation VR. That blue light on the back of the controller means the camera will be able to track its movement too.
Related: Best Playstation VR Games
Those hoping for a more immersive method will be glad to hear that you can also use the Playstation Move Batons – part of an attempt by Sony to develop a motion-control system which, until PSVR, seemed somewhat unsuccesful. Using the batons will allow you to control things using gestures.
The Vive on the other hand, comes with two wireless controllers. Featuring integrated rechargeable lithium ion polymer batteries and microUSB charging, the wireless controllers allow the system to interpret where your hands are and render them in the virtual world.
The controllers have a soft touch finish with textured buttons and grip pads. There's a multi-functional trackpad on each, as well as a “dual stage trigger” with HD haptic feedback.
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive Platforms – What are they compatible with?
It's no secret that you're going to need a pretty powerful PC to use the HTC Vive. The company has a neat tool on its website where you can check to make sure your PC has the hardware required.
In terms of PC system requirements for the Vive, HTC recommends the following:
- Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater
- Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
- 4GB+ RAM
HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer
- 1x USB 2.0 or greater port
- Windows 7 SP1 or newer
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive Games – What can I play?
Although both headsets are yet to arrive, there's already a slew of VR experiences and games for both – some of which we've been lucky enough to try out.
For Playstation VR, there's a mix of existing games which will be made compatible, and titles specifically developed for the headset. Among those we're most excited for, are London Heist – a shooter set in London which feels like a mash up between Time Crisis and The Getaway – and DriveClub for Playstation VR – a version of the popular racer tailored for VR.
Here's a full list of PSVR launch titles:
- PlayStation VR Worlds
- Batman Arkham VR
- Rez Infinite
- RIGS: Mechanized Combat League
- Hustle Kings VR
- Driveclub VR
- EVE Valkyrie
- EVE Gunjack
- Job Simulator
- Super Stardust Ultra VR
- The Assembly
- Tumble VR
- Until Dawn: Rush of Blood
- Harmonix Music VR
- Hatsune Miku: Project Diva X
- Here They Lie
- Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
- Loading Human
- Sports Bar VR
- Wayward Sky
Related: Best PC games
The Vive, which runs using Valve's Steam VR system, has numerous compatible titles. Steam's website has a list of all the games you'll be able to use with the headset, which will also come bundled with the three aforementioned VR experiences: Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, Fantastic Contraption, and Tilt Brush.
On top of that, there's one other game which has managed to pique our interest. See the video below for what is likely to become our favourite Vive game:
HTC and Valve are also working with developers to create non-gaming VR experiences, including Everest VR, which allows you to traverse the peak of Mount Everest.
Playstation VR vs HTC Vive – Verdict
Even though both these devices are VR headsets, there are crucial differences between the two.
There's obviously no clear winner overall, as it depends what you're looking for. When it comes to raw performance, the Vive is obviously the better of the two. But you'll need to part with some serious cash to get your hands on the headset and what's more, if your PC isn't up to scratch, you'll have to pay even more to upgrade it.
Playstation VR offers a much more accessible and affordable option. If you don't have a PS4, then you'll obviously need that before you rush out and buy Sony's headset. But even then, you're looking at a much smaller investment than is required to be able to run the Vive.
"PlayStation VR is simply the best virtual reality headset you can buy right now. It’s cheap while not compromising on performance and quality. The headset is simply stunning and incredibly comfortable to wear, and the games already available are some of the best VR experiences I’ve ever played." Click here for Brett Phipps' full review of PlayStation VR.
If money is no option, the HTC Vive is shaping up to be the best VR headset of 2016. Of course, we'll have to wait until the final versions of both arrive for a comprehensive comparison. But having the ability to move around within the virtual world makes a big difference to how immersive the experience feels.
"The HTC Vive’s far more immersive than the Oculus Rift – so much so that you forgive the pixelated screen and irritating software foibles. But if you plan to immerse yourself in a virtual world while sitting down, the Rift makes a lot more sense. It’s not as impressive, but it still offers a fantastic experience, if you can avoid the games that might make you reach for a bucket." Click here for our full review of HTC VIve by Evan Kypreos.
If however, you're looking for an affordable and easy option, the Playstation VR is unlikely to disappoint.