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PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift: What's the difference?



2016 is almost certainly the year of virtual reality, with all three of the major headsets now out in the wild. Here we look at two of the biggest contenders for your cash, the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift.

For many, choosing between these two VR headsets is obvious. If you're a PS4 owner, PlayStation VR is for you. If you're a PC gamer, meanwhile, the Oculus Rift is the obvious first choice.

That being said, many people will be on the fence wondering which one they should invest in. Also, it's useful to know how the two differ, especially given the considerable difference in price.

We've compiled all the major differences between PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift to help you decide which is right for you.

Video: Trusted Explains – What is VR? Everything you need to know

PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift – Design

Neither of these VR devices are pretty, and let's not beat around the bush here – you will look like a berk using both.

Now that we've got that out of the way, in the grand scheme of VR headsets, both at least feel like finished products. The final version of the Oculus Rift is light and comfortable, with a reinforced strap and a smooth plastic body.

It still isn't the prettiest thing in the world, but who really cares? Not us.

Related: Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive


The PlayStation VR, by contrast, is arguably the best-looking and friendliest of all the main VR headsets. It's got a swooping moulded black and white plastic body with funky glowing lights (which do have a practical purpose) and a design that spreads the load onto the front of your head.

It's not subtle, but at least it looks vaguely futuristic rather than like an instrument of torture. Moreover, the PlayStation VR is more likely to suit glasses wearers due to the way it places most of the weight on your forehead rather than relying on the 'ski mask' design of the Rift.

On the downside, the Rift is lighter at 470g and has built-in headphones, whereas the PlayStation VR is 610g and you still need to wear headphones or earphones.

PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift – Specs

Unlike the smartphone-friendly quasi-VR experiences we've had to date, both the PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift employ fixed displays. No smartphone adaptors here.

The PlayStation VR has a 5.7-inch Full HD OLED with an equivalent resolution of 960 x 1,080 for each eye and a 100-degree field of view. That doesn't match up well to the Oculus Rift, which features a 1,080 x 1,200 display for each eye.

It seems the PlayStation VR has the edge on refresh rate, with 120Hz topping the Oculus Rift's stated 90Hz, but you probably shouldn't read too much into this just yet.


One extra piece of information to note on the hardware provision front: The PlayStation VR comes with an extra box for handling the interface between the headset and your PS4 console. This can also be hooked up to your TV with an HDMI cable, so other people can see what you're seeing rather than just laughing at your awkward gestures.

PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift – Compatibility

Here's where the PlayStation VR really has an advantage. It works with the humble PS4, which is the most popular home console of its generation, and a relatively affordable one at that.

The only other thing you need in addition is a PlayStation Camera, which sets you back around £40 separately, but which will probably be bundled in with the PlayStation VR. This is the reason for those external lights – the Camera uses them for tracking your head movement.

The Oculus Rift, by contrast, requires a monster PC to run. Who has a monster PC in this day and age? Hardcore PC gamers, graphic designers... nope, that's all we've got.

What's more, buying a new monster PC isn't cheap, even if you build your own. Here's the kind of PC rig you'll need in order to run the Oculus Rift:

Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater

Processor: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater

Memory: 8GB RAM

Output: Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output

Input: 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port

Operating System: Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

That's some serious power and our experience so far is you should exceed these specs to get a totally smooth experience. A minimum of an Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti is what we'd go for, but read our Best Gaming PC: Ultimate PC building guide for more help there.

PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift – Controllers

The PlayStation VR utilises a pair of Sony's Move controllers, one in each hand, which are tracked by that PlayStation Camera. You thought they'd forgotten about them since the launch of the PS4, didn't you?

Naturally, some more traditional games will also make use of the PS4 DualShock 4 controller, which every PlayStation VR user will already have.


The Oculus Rift has its own pair of VR controllers, and these have the benefit of having been specifically created with VR in mind. Like the headset, they look more than a little odd. But also like the headset, that matters not a jot when you get to using them.

Our early experiences with the Oculus Controller(s) has been universally positive, with a degree of immersion and nuance that no other VR rival can match. In particular, we love how the controls fall naturally under your fingers, so it really feels like you're reaching out and grabbing objects in the more immersive demos we tried.

Oculus controller

One major downside: they're optional extras and aren't currently available. Oculus has confirmed the Oculus Touch controllers will be available later this year for £189.99. A steep asking price for a couple of peripherals.

PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift – Games

It's the software that will really determine whether the second age of VR is more of a success than the first.

PlayStation VR, of course, has the full might of Sony's first-party studios and a bunch of amenable third-party PlayStation developers to call upon.

There's PlayStation VR Worlds from London Studios. This collection of impressive minigames has you shooting up gangsters in London, diving with sharks and flying through space. It's a fantastic way to showcase your fancy new headset.

Playroom VR and Driveclub are two more interesting PlayStation VR games, the latter of which seems to be a jerry-rigged version of the PS4 original.

vr worlds

Of course, the Oculus Rift team has managed to assemble a formidable network of supporting developers itself. Naturally, it has virtually the entire PC development community behind it (even Valve, which has its own VR headset in the HTC Vive), but it also has support from traditional console developers. Take Edge of Nowhere, an Oculus exclusive third-person adventure from Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank, Sunset Overdrive).

Then there's Eve Valkyrie, an immersive space combat game, and Conker-like platformer Lucky's Tale, among others.

Eve Valkyrie 9

PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift – Price and Release date

Oculus Rift is already available and will set you back £499.

Buy Now: Oculus Rift at Amazon.com from $599.99

Best Deals for Oculus VR Oculus Rift

Meanwhile, PlayStation VR is available at the price of £349, or $399. That makes it much cheaper than the Oculus, and even cheaper than the HTC Vive. You will need to buy a Playstation 4 Camera too, unless you already have one, which costs about £40.

Buy Now: PlayStation VR at Amazon.com from $399.99

Best Deals for Sony PlayStation VR

Related: Best PlayStation VR Games


PlayStation VR vs Oculus Rift – Summary

We've reviewed both headsets, and, they're pretty damn impressive for a variety of awesome reasons. Check out our thoughts below.

"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.

"The Oculus Rift is a triumph for every tech head – this isn’t just a step towards the future, it is an almighty leap. It's by no means perfect, but it's already fulfilling a healthy fraction of its ultimate potential." Check out our full review of Oculus Rift.


March 16, 2016, 6:39 am

Oculus Rift for high end gaming VR best of the best.....PS VR if you want a good cheaper version, that will give you a good experience with VR and a lot games. Its like choosing between a PC and a console, some people will spend the money for the best experience, some people will spend less to get a good enough experience. Both look good though.


March 16, 2016, 9:51 am

Sony's looks better? wow, super subjective. I suppose if you're into the whole pink-fluorescent-lights-under-your-pimped-Fiat-Cinquecento then yeah, perhaps Sony's aesthetic approach would appeal to you. I think there are a lot of people who would argue that Oculus has the look locked down, myself included. Funk off with your "funky lights".


March 16, 2016, 12:37 pm

The resolution is a major aspect here. Anybody whos used VR would tell you that with as little as a 2K screen, pixels are very prominent, let alone a 1080p screen. Interested to see the clarity of the PSVR with the low res screen.

Sean Lowe

May 28, 2016, 7:04 pm

What a stupid comment, unless you own both you cannot comment!

David Napoleon

July 13, 2016, 12:07 am

I have the consumer Rift, and it is stunning. I also had to build a separate high-end system from scratch to run it. You can get away with spending close to $800 and build it yourself and find cheap windows 10 keys online with a google search and ebay parts. I spent about $1,700 because I wanted my rig to be about 5 years future-proof. When I think of the PS VR, I think of Nintendo Wi graphics vs Xbox 360. I guess you can make a cartoonish game with low end specs and perform pretty good, but you cannot beat a platform with hardware muscle.

David Napoleon

July 13, 2016, 12:41 am

I think his comment was fine. And I can comment because I have 11 game consoles dating back to the Atari and built many gaming computers, as well as having the Oculus Rift CV1. All the best technology are made from scratch on a PC, consoles have to wait for the tech to be older and more affordable to be profitable, which is why the PS VR falls short in the specs, but it shows in the price tag also so it's fine. The PS VR is something I would consider giving my 8yr old son for his birthday, a decent experience that's light on the wallet. Save the big toys for the big boys.

Alex Noble

August 10, 2016, 5:51 am

I agree, the PSVR looks like something from the Jetsons. It's like a feature from the home of the future, an early vision of what VR might look like. The Rift looks more like a finished product, with a very clean, understated design that draws as little attention as possible. It's still much more aesthetically pleasing than both the PSVR and the HTC Vive.

Sean Lowe

October 7, 2016, 10:10 pm

Funny reading the reviews? best option for mainstream VR.

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