The top VR Headset - Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, PlayStation VR comparison, and more

Oculus Rift

Oculus was the first company to truly design VR systems, so when it comes to experience in the field, they're the top guy (Remember, they're also the developers of the Samsung Gear VR). Their multi-billion Dollar acquisition by Facebook could have only bolstered this, making them equal parts grass-roots and big-leagues. They've also partnered with Microsoft to some degree (Xbox controller sold with the bundle and more) which could mean some interesting exclusive content, and even an Xbox port in the future.

Price and Release date

The Rift started shipping on March 25th, but has seen some insane order volumes, which means all new orders are expected to be shipped in August (that was not a typo). The Rift also seems to only be available through the Oculus website, with other retailers either showing the item as unavailable or at insane prices. There are however some cool Alienware + Rift bundles available from various retailers.

Hardware and included Items
  • Rift Headset
  • Sensor
  • Remote (left most item in the picture - not to be mistaken with the Oculus Touch(
  • Cables
  • Xbox One controller
  • Lucky's Tale

Of important note however, the Oculus Touch - the device’s cool VR controller (somewhat similar, but likely better than, the Vive controllers) will not be released with the Rift itself. It is also likely that these bad boys will have a selling price of their own, seeing as they aren’t mentioned in the actual list of accessories.

Specs and Prerequisites

The headset has a 2160x1200 resolution that produces 233 million pixels per second with a 90Hz refresh rate, and a 110° field of view.

You will likely need quite a decent gaming PC to handle this hardware, and would require a USB slot and an HDMI/Display Port to connect it to your device. A GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 GPU or higher would be a good idea, as well as a top end i5 CPU, or preferably an i7.

Game and Software Library

The Oculus game and software library is quite extensive, and considering the five developmental kids that were released before the consumer version, this is only expected. The Oculus Home, the rift's launch device, offers a variety of games and software.

The Oculus Share, Rift's main app store, also has over a thousand applications. Do note however, that most of these are user created content, and for most VR games you'll need to go to third party websites or stores.

In an interesting twist however, it seems SteamVR is accessible with a Rift headset, and while not all Steam games work on it, many certainly do. The level of cross-device play still remains to be seen.

 Bonuses
  • Quite a bit cheaper than Vive
  • Older customer base, which means more apps
  • Microsoft partnership
  • Oculus Touch (when it actually comes out)
Short and Sweet Summary

Oculus Rift is in many ways the big dog in the gaming VR market at the moment. Don't let their Kickstarter origins fool you, with Facebook and (to some extent) Microsoft involved with them, they are the heavy hitters. Their biggest advantage is the fact that they started the VR craze, and so have both the experience and the loyal customer base that go with it. Their biggest disadvantage is the fact that their relatively new to the gaming market, and lack Sony and Valve's vast library of games.

Published Apr. 27th 2016
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