Oculus Rift is perhaps the poster child of virtual reality, but it is definitely not the only option. In a previous article, we discussed HTC Vive vs Oculus Rift. This time, we are going to take a look at the comparisons between HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Both offer different games and control compared to Oculus Rift. But they are still there to give you amazing VR experiences.
HTC Vive is actually developed by two giants, HTC and Valve Corporation. Because it is developed by Valve, we wouldn’t be surprised by the fact that it gets native support from Steam. Meanwhile, PlayStation VR is obviously designed to work with the PS4 console, though the headset can also work on PC and Xbox One with sub-optimal performance. So, if you are interested in getting a VR headset, which is the VR product that you should choose?
Design and Comfort
If you wear eyeglasses, don’t worry; both HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are usable with eyeglasses. In addition, both also require separate earphones. PlayStation VR appears a bit more futuristic, and it is very likely to cause envy gasps from your friends when they come to see your new VR headset. Its sophistication is just as great as its look; Sony has implemented some nice adjustments around the goggles to make the weight distribute more evenly around the head. The headset fits snugly around the head, and there is a quick release button to get it on and off easily. Unlike HTC Vive, PlayStation VR is primarily a seated experience.
On the other hand, HTC Vive is a tad less bulky. However, it does not distribute the weight like PlayStation VR. You can feel that the weight is concentrated in front of your face. Although this is not a big deal, it is not exactly comfortable, especially after fifteen minutes or so. However, eyeglass wearers may find it more comfortable because of the notches on the goggles. With HTC Vive, you will be moving around more, so it can be pretty sweaty.
Honestly, both HTC Vive and PlayStation VR are very similar in terms of display quality, so you don’t need to worry so much about this. Still, let’s elaborate a little bit further and see what display technologies and features that they use.
PlayStation VR is armed with a 5.7” OLED display in the headset. It has the 1920 x 1080 resolution, split into two 960 x 1080 pictures for each if your eyes. It supports RGB subpixels to enhance the sharpness and detail, making images more vivid and lifelike. In addition, it has a refresh rate of 120 Hz. While most games don’t run at 120 FPS, the tweak ensures that everything will look smooth. This feature, in theory, should be able to help reduce motion sickness.
On the other hand, HTC Vive comes with two OLED displays that provide a total resolution of 2160 x 1200. The refresh rate is 90 Hz. That is the minimum spec to prevent motion sickness. Compared to PlayStation VR, it can give you a slightly wider viewing angle, which is 110 degrees horizontally as opposed to 100 degrees.
But perhaps the most distinctive feature of HTC Vive is the front-facing camera. With the front camera, it allows you to see the real world without having to take down your VR headset. That is very convenient, for example, to see where you put your mobile phone and give a quick reply to your friend’s message telling him that you are currently busy fighting a dragon to save a poor city. PlayStation VR does not have such front camera, so you will need to slide up the headset in order to see your real-world surroundings.
Tracking and Control
PlayStation VR is primarily a seated experience. You don’t move around much. Even so, the headset is armed with nine LED sensors that are tracked by the PlayStation Camera. It can even track the back of your head, allowing you to look behind in a VR environment if needed. The system has its own 3D spatial sound engine that only works with wired stereo headphones. Although the DualShock 4 controllers are spatially aware, you really should use the PlayStation Move controllers for the best control.
HTC Vive does not put much of an emphasis on spatial sound, but it certainly supports 3D directional sound. So, the options are there for the devs to use. The sound is surprisingly good. Nevertheless, HTC Vive is packed with Valve’s Lighthouses that track your head and hand movements. In total, the headset and two controllers have 70 sensors. That’s more than enough number to track whether you are currently standing up or crouching down or moving around. With HTC Vive, you can enjoy full body motion and actually move around in your games.
Since PlayStation VR is relatively newer, its library is understandably still small. But it has a pretty decent lineup. There are Arkham VR, Robinson: The Journey, The London Heist, and Rez Infinite. But the titles that thrill you the most are probably Resident Evil VII: Biohazard and Gran Turismo Sport. Both are coming for PlayStation VR.
If you are a PC gamer, it is an almost absolute possibility that you have a Steam account. Thus, Steam’s native support for HTC Vive is a huge plus. So far, there are already so many games available for HTC Vive, and the number is just going to grow up even more. Many titles make good use of the room-scale tracking capability, such as Job Simulator, Hover Junkers, and Elite: Dangerous. But there are also Wii Sports-like games for the more casual users. Other notable titles that are coming exclusively for HTC Vive are Bethesda’s Skyrim, Fallout 4, and Doom.
HTC Vive is expensive at $799. Its price tag is even higher than Oculus Rift’s. On the good side, it comes readily with everything for the complete VR experience. But don’t forget that you need a PC that is powerful enough to run it in the first place.
PlayStation VR is available at a more accessible price – $399. However, you may want to buy it along with the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move controllers. Well, don’t forget that you need a PS4 to use it.
In general, PlayStation VR can be an excellent entry point to the VR world if your budget is limited – provided that you already have PS4 in the first place. Though it does not give as much body motion control, it definitely makes gaming even more exciting. However, if you want to get the fullest VR experience, you should choose HTC Vive, which brings full body motion experience. Not to mention Steam’s native support and the fact that there are already many titles for use with the headset.