Sunday 11 December 2016

Virtual Reality headsets compared

Mark O'Beirne

Published 16/03/2016 | 15:11

virtual reality
virtual reality

Virtual reality headsets are being pushed this year; we compare the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Galaxy Gear to see how they stack up.

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Now that PlayStation has revealed the price, release date, requirements and specs of the PlayStation VR, we have a clearer picture of how 2016 in virtual reality shapes up. But how do they compare? Let’s take a look at the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Samsung Gear VR to see how they shape up.

PlayStation VR

Price: €399.99

Release Date: October 2016

Content: 50 games between launch and end of 2016, including a special version of Star Wars Battlefront, PlayStation VR Worlds, Into the Deep, Danger Ball, Netflix

Requirements: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move

Includes:

Sony is the clear leader in the VR push thanks to the price point of the PlayStation VR and the fact that it works with a console that millions of people around the world already own. It’s still too expensive to expect to find one in every home, but it has possibly the greatest chance of introducing players to what virtual reality has to offer. Software is key here, so it’s reassuring that Sony said that 230 developers are working on virtual reality projects.

Samsung Gear VR

Price: €199

Release Date: November 2015

Content: Currently 185 apps available from the Oculus Store, including Netflix, Oculus Cinema, Herobound: First Steps, Ikarus, Dreadhalls, Esper and Proton Pulse.

Requirements: Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, or Note 5

The Samsung Gear VR was the first major headset to hit the market and it’s an impressive piece of kit. It excels when you want to immerse yourself in a virtual world or enjoy 360-degree videos, which could take off this year. It’s already being embraced in novel ways. Alton Towers and Six Flags are to open virtual reality roller coasters using the Gear VR and Sherry FitzGerald is using the headset to show off properties.

Oculus Rift

Price: €699

Release Date: March 2016

Content: 30 games at launch, including ADR1FT, Eve Valkyrie, Vanishing of Ethan Carter, Project CARS, Elite: Dangerous, and Euro Truck Simulator 2; and Oculus Cinema.

Requirements: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD R9 290 equivalent or greater, Intel i5-4590 CPU equivalent or greater, 8GB+ RAM, Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output, 3x USB 3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port, Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer

The Oculus Rift is perhaps the name most associated with virtual reality. It’s been in development for years and has drawn the attention of the likes of John Carmack (formerly of id Software) and Facebook, who felt it was worth the investment. It will launch with 30 games, which sets it off on the right foot, and hopefully it can keep this momentum going.

HTC Vive

Price: €899

Release Date: May 2016

Content: Titles at launch include Euro Truck Simulator 2, Surgeon Simulator 2013, Ark: Survival Evolved, Team Fortress 2, The Orange Box, and Elite Dangerous. A total of 30 titles showcased at Game Developers Conference, including E.V.E., Tiltbrush, Pool Nation, John Wick: The Impossible Task, Hover Junkers, Everest, and Altspace VR.

Requirements: Nvidia GeForce GTX 970, AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent, or greater; Intel i5-4590, AMD FX 8350 equivalent, or greater processor; 4GB+ RAM; HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2, or newer; 1x USB 2.0 or greater port; Windows 7 SP1 or newer

Includes: Vive headset, two wireless controllers, two base stations, link box, earbuds, Vive accessories, safety guide and warranty card. Limited Offer Free Content Bundle: Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush by Google.

The HTC Vive is certainly an anticipated headset; a massive 15,000 units were pre-ordered in less than 10 minutes of going online. It’s been developed in partnership with Valve, which could put it in a good position to get exclusive content or tap into the lucrative businesses that Valve has created. But with one of the highest retail prices and a demanding enough PC requirement, the Vive could face an uphill battle.

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