Which is the best VR headset? Prices, specs & release date comparison | PCGamesN

Which is the best VR headset? Prices, specs & release date comparison

PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR was the last of the big three VR HMD manufacturers to blink by announcing its $399 pricing at GDC 2016, following announcements from Oculus and HTC/Valve that the Rift and Vive will cost $599 and $799, respectively. On the surface that seems like a striking disparity in pricing that puts the PlayStation VR streets ahead and has the unfortunate PC user paying a huge premium

Whichever headset you go for, you'll still want to be playing the best VR games on PC.

But it doesn't tell the whole story - that $399 pricing Sony announced doesn't include the required camera (sold separately for an adiitional $59.99) or Move controllers. The more expensive Vive, however, includes two haptic controllers and three games. The Oculus Rift, priced between the two, does include a tracking camera and Xbox controller, but not haptic controllers - they're available later down the line, priced separately.

The messaging's already getting confusing, then, and none of these headsets are even commercially available yet. To clear up the confusion, let's look at exactly what you get with each headset for the stated price, and whether it really does cost more to buy into VR on PC. 

 HTC Vive

HTC Vive

Price: $799

Included: headset, 2 x controllers, 2 x infrared base stations, 3 games

Controllers: motion-tracking haptic hand controllers

Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, front-facing camera, laser sensor

Resolution: 2160 x 1200

Field of view: 110 degrees

Refresh rate: 90Hz

Release date: April 2016

The Vive's launch lineup has been announced, and contains no exclusives. "I don't think a customer ever thinks a platform-exclusive game is a good thing," says Valve's Chet Faliszek on the matter. Here's the full list so far:

  • #SelfieTennis
  • Adventure Time
  • Altspace
  • Arizona Sunshine
  • Audioshield
  • The Brookhaven Experiment
  • Budget Cuts
  • Cloudlands Minigolf
  • Elite: Dangerous
  • Envelope Eve
  • Everest
  • Fantastic Contraption
  • Final Approach
  • GiantCop
  • HoverJunkers
  • Job Simulator
  • John Wick: The Impossible Task
  • La Peri
  • Marble Mountain
  • Modbox
  • Pool Nation
  • Raw Data
  • Roadside
  • Space Pirate Trainer
  • The Gallery: Call of the Starseed
  • The Lab
  • The Rose and I
  • The Wave
  • Thunderbird
  • Tilt Brush
  • Time Machine
  • Universe Sandbox 2
  • Unreal Editor
  • Unseen Diplomacy
  • Vanishing Realms: Rite of Steel
  • VirZoom
  • Waltz of the Wizard

Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift

Price: $599

Included: headset, 1 x Xbox controller, sensor, remote, 2 games

Controllers: Xbox One controller. Haptic hand controllers due for release later in 2016, sold separately

Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer

Resolution: 2160 x 1200

Field of view: 110 degrees

Refresh rate: 90Hz

Release date: 28 March 2016

The Oculus Rift launch line-up has also been revealed, with each game receiving a 'comfort' rating, ranging from 'comfortable' to 'intense'.

Oculus Rift games

PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR

Price: $399

Included: headset (camera sold separately for $59.99)

Controllers: PS Move controller, DualShock 4, both sold separately

Sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope

Resolution: 1920 x 1080

Field of view: 100 degrees

Refresh rate: 120Hz

Release date: October 2016

When you lay the specs of each VR headset out like that, it becomes clear why their prices differ. PlayStation VR is a barebones package compared to Vive, which offers literally all you'll need. Oculus fits somewhere in the middle.

There are also the bundled games to consider, with Eve: Valkyrie and Lucky's Tale arriving with the Rift and Vive offering three titles in its own bundle - Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush. Admittedly they're not big hitters, but they offer more for the money. PlayStation VR by contrast offers no bundled games.

It's Sony's decision not to include the required camera that really sticks out against the approaches of their competitors, though. Pricing the PlayStation VR this way gives Sony clear space between their product and the Rift, but it's a bit of a sneaky move. 

So are we being screwed on PC? Should be be jealous of the PlayStation VR? In reality, it looks like Sony's is the less advanced HMD of the three, built with fewer sensors and offering a slightly smaller resolution. It's a mirror image of the console/PC market disparity, really. It's cheaper to buy into the former, and it benefits from being a walled garden that its platform holder can control to benefit the end user experience, but the latter has the benefit of higher specs (for a price) and open development.

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Anakhoresis avatarDustyGerkin avatarBelimawr avatarRealo Foxtrot: Kitten avatarPhil Iwaniuk avatar
Anakhoresis Avatar
2 Years ago

Don't forget OSVR: http://www.osvr.org/

Cheaper at $300, and while it may not have the same specs as OR or the Vive, last I heard it was at least better than the OR devkit v2, so it's not bad.

DustyGerkin Avatar
2 Years ago

The lack of a controller with the Sony VR is not surprising as you'll have at least one with your console already. By the time you've added on your extras it's not much cheaper than the Oculus.

Wonder if it'll work on a pc? Now that would get loads shifted.

Belimawr Avatar
2 Years ago

likely not, the PS3 was originally designed for network computing (basically they could add a box to improve performance, like is happening now with laptops and graphics cards) so likely they brought forward that tech and put it in the processor unit for the PSVR making it dependant on the box and the PS4 working in tandem.

as for the extras, the tracker bar on the DS4 can work as a move controller, the move controllers can be picked up fairly cheap now and the camera can also be picked up for a small amount.

the main advantage of this even if you work on the top end of the day the price of a PS4, the PSVR and the controllers/camera you will still have a cheaper VR ready system than you can build with either the Vive or OR since they rely on a minimum requirement of a GTX970 meaning to get ideal performance your probably looking at considerably more to break into PC VR for the foreseeable future.

Belimawr Avatar
2 Years ago

I know you are a PC site, but you couldn't get more biased if you had ignored half the information (like you did) IGN actually gives a much better comparison.


also not including a DS4 with the PSVR is a given considering if you have the PS4 you have the console so it would be wasted money forcing you to buy another DS4, the PC versions need to give some form of controller as VR doesn't work well with a keyboard and mouse.

Phil Iwaniuk Avatar
2 Years ago

The additional categories mentioned in that IGN piece are weight, connections and audio - I'm curious as to why you'd think those omissions would indicate any degree of bias towards or against a particular headset?

Belimawr Avatar
2 Years ago

well built in audio would be something that needs mentioning. not to mention the omission of the magnetometer. not to mention PS eye head tracking. meaning it basically has the same sensors as the others, since they are only using a chip from a mobile phone for all the sensors sony likely has just took a unit straight out of the Xperia phones, to be fair if it was stripped down I would put money on the headset basically being an Xperia phone, the Rift can basically have all it's internals replaced by most modern Samsung flagship phones and the Vive coming from HTC will also likely be tech pulled straight from the phones. so really other than screen quality there is likely little difference, there definitely isn't one in the sensor units since all the headsets have the same exact same level of sensors, despite this being one of the key points for a difference at the end.

it's the same as it says a DS4 isn't included that implies a level of disbelief that they wouldn't give you a controller to use it on the PS4 because everyone knows when you buy a PS4 it comes with no controllers. so really stating no DS4 is just making an issue that doesn't exist in the real world, it would be like complaining your graphics card didn't come with a keyboard and mouse, it's just placing a flaw that doesn't exist other than to colour opinion.

Realo Foxtrot: Kitten Avatar
2 Years ago

I worked out the prices in a bit more detail for the UK here: https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comments/4akrv4/differences_in_cost_uk_prices/