The Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive Battle
There’s no denying that the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift were the two most anticipated virtual reality systems of 2016, but how can you decide which is the better device? Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so choosing just one as the superior machine can be tricky.
To understand how each device differs from the other and what these systems mean for the world of virtual reality at home, we first need to consider their main points of difference. The selection of games, price range, capabilities, controllers, and comfort are all important things to factor in.
Oculus Rift launches with 30 games available, a number that’s expected to reach over 100 by the end of 2016. When purchasing the Rift, most are bundled with both Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie, which promises to be two of their biggest titles. Eve: Valkyrie especially puts the 360-degree views to good use as you captain a spaceship around the galaxy, battling enemies.
While there are some great titles available on the Rift, gamers are somewhat limited in how they interact with the virtual environments. HTC Vive allows players to move around the area thanks to room-scale VR, where Rift gamers are confined to their seats.
An area of defeat for the HTC Vive is its game selection. Although there were 50 titles available at launch, none of these were exclusive to the Vive and all are already available on PC. The Rift will have a lot more options available by the end of the year, and with a greater range of genres. However, both systems are treated to new updates and games regularly so hopefully developers can continue to work on this.
The Rift currently retails at $599, which includes the headset, sensor, remote, and Xbox One controller. This price is before shipping and doesn’t include the necessary PC required to operate it.
HTC Vive is retailing for $799, making it $200 more than the Rift. However, with two custom controllers attached you can almost justify the extra money. This system also requires a PC connection to use, which can add another thousand dollars or so to the cost.
Both systems can be found in bundles, so users are able to purchase the system along with a virtual reality ready computer. Although it adds to the cost significantly, it ensures that the correct specs are being met.
The main difference with the capabilities of the Rift and Vive come down to their headsets. The tracking systems in each are operated in very different ways, making for a completely unique experience.
Vive relies on two base stations with a range of sensors on the front which means users can enjoy room-scale VR, allowing them to work in a space and perform a range of movements.
The Rift, however, only has a single sensor that’s placed on a desk, meaning you need to remain seated at all times or stand briefly to look around when gaming. This alone has justified for many their purchase of the HTC Vive, as it adds even further to the immersive capabilities of this system.
One of the biggest areas of difference for the Rift and Vive are its controllers. Vive features motion controllers which allow the gamer to reach out and touch their virtual surroundings. You can use them to grab objects and perform gestures to interact with characters and menus in the games.
While Oculus Rift had plans to launch their own Touch controllers, this isn’t the case yet. The Rift relies on old-fashioned Xbox One controllers which take away from the immersion factor quite a bit. Rift owners will need to purchase the new controllers once they’re launched, so they’ll need to further factor this into the price range.
While some might think that the technology and capabilities of their virtual reality device are what matters most, comfort is quite a big factor when it comes to something you have strapped to your head for hours.
While both have adjustable head straps, the Vive is a lot heavier than the Rift. Due to the room-scale VR capabilities, this system has a few additional cables coming from the goggles making it a lot bulkier.
As the design on the Vive is a little front-heavy, many users have reported that it can create a strain on your face after some use. The Oculus is definitely designed more for comfort, mainly thanks to its lightness that allows it to be worn without pressing into your face.
Side effects have been stated with both systems, so there’s no obvious winner in this area. After use, some people have reported feelings of nausea, dizziness, eye strain, and disorientation. However, these are not unique to these systems and have been a common complaint with virtual reality devices for years.
For an extra couple of hundred dollars, it seems that the HTC Vive is the clear winner in terms of capabilities. While the Rift does provide an amazing experience for gamers and movie watchers, the slight areas of difference which set the Vive apart make all of the difference.
Once HTC can perfect the comfort of the Vive and make it less bulky, as well as increasing the selection of games and making some exclusive titles, it would be the obvious choice without a doubt. However, comfort is extremely important to gamers especially, so this may sway their decision somewhat.
As developers constantly update technologies and systems there’s no telling if the Rift can come out on top in the next generation model. Provided these companies listen to the suggestions of their customers and work to make their systems more immersive for the user, each could offer amazing things in the years to come.