Two years ago, I was able to get a hold of an Oculus VR DK2 unit. At that point the VR we all know and were all super curious about was still taking their drunken baby steps forward, but like any proud parent the seemingly bad graphics, latency and it’s nausea inducing combination did not sway me from seeing it’s potential.
Now with a few years under their belts Oculus is looking to deliver it’s commercial units into the waiting arms of an undisclosed amount of fans and early adopters. But, Oculus is not alone, with Valve and HTC collaborating on the HTC Vive / Steam VR, and the (headset formally know as Project Morpheus) Playstation VR hot on the trail will 2016 be hailed as the Year of VR?
There is no shortage of VR related articles on news sites like Polygon, CNET and GameSpot, so I will spare you the details and share out my favorites.
First: HTC Vive Vs. Oculus Rift: How Do The VR Headsets Compare by Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Alec Meer
This article is great, because right from square one Alec does not mince words in making the reader believe that this is an authoritative “Should I buy……” article but one solely based on numbers on papers. He also shares that the winner in this fight will need to bring the experience, not just a bunch of high end specs.
Here are the high level notes:
Oculus Rift Specs:
Oculus unlike the Vive only needs a desktop positional tracking sensor, is bundled with a Xbox One controller and wireless adaptor. It comes bundled, with some Oculus software and games like Eve: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale. The much praised Oculus Touch controllers are no where to be seen and will be sold later on, although a date has not been announced. The total package is priced at $599 before tax and shipping.
HTC Vive / Steam VR:
The HTC Vive is really leaning hard on positional tracking to immerse the player into a virtual experience, which means getting off your ass and getting “into the game”. The Vive’s motion detection not only includes gyroscopes, and a front positional tracking, it also has two “Lighthouse” base stations to track the player’s body using laser tracking, in a 15′ x 15′ space. This headset also includes a front facing camera for potential Augmented Reality scenarios. The Vive is packaged with some “move-like” controllers and is theorized to cost more than the Oculus due to hardware costs for the room tracking components,
but we will have to wait until Feb 29th to find out more.
We were given the pricing a bit early, and it looks like the HTC Vive is attempting to remain very competitive in pricing. With an increased array of hardware, the Vive sits at $799. Although this is a very competitive price complete with touch controls, room sensors, the headset and 2 packaged games, it may still be outside most folks gaming budgets.
The Vive also has some pretty high specs much like the Rift. Product specs can be found at http://www.htcvive.com/us/product-optimized/.
The Facebook backed Oculus, and the Valve backed HTC Vive are really fighting for your attention, but as discussed on the Talkingship, The Captain’s Log podcast, could the price be limiting to the general public? I know my time with the DK2, and with my Gear VR have been great conversation starters, but do they have the power to sustain player interest making them worth the money? I guess we will find out this year, and I am really looking forward to it.
This article can be found here:
Lastly: The VR Games we can’t wait to play in 2016 by Gizmag’s Will Shanklin
This article is very “surfaced level” and is more of a reaction to the buzz behind some of the press video, leaked trailers and really consumer level marketing. However I really like that he links video and sites in his articles. So if you are interested in VR but do not know what is coming, check it out.
Article can be found here: