The Big Question: Oculus Rift Or HTC Vive

For the longest time the Oculus Rift really had ownership of the term VR, to the point where it was looking as though it would be the Hoover of Vacuum Cleaners, or the Kleenex of tissues — that product whose name is interchangeable with what it does. But now we have some competitors. None stronger than Valve's newly announced HTC Vive. Who do you think will win out? Will both products be able to co-exist?

I think it's probably difficult to say with any kind of authority at this point, but I will say this: the fact the HTC Vive headset has a solid release date is a strong point. We're still waiting for a proper release date for the Oculus Rift and it feels as though we've been waiting for a long, long time.

But the Rift has so much in its favour. It has the brand, it has Facebook behind it, it has an existing suite of software. It's a tricky one to call.


    Becaues PC vs Console and the console wars arent annoying enough, hey! lets add fanboyism to VR headsets too!

      Just wait until the Project Morpheus gets in the mix!

        Do you mean the 720p locked to 60hz crappy unworthy hmd. They already announced final specs which are worse than the current oculus which is already failry bad. Consoles need to leave forever you are holding all gaming and peripheral tech back!

          Uhm, did you maybe miss the news about the new Morpheus specs?
          Morpheus is now featuring Full HD OLED at 120Hz.

    This is all shaping up to be another 3D TV situation, too many companies racing to release to a completely untested market with a relatively small amount of content.

      Yeah, HTC's list of developers was rather uninspiring, and the stuff said developers are working on (the work simulator for example) even less so. The big unknowns at this point are whatever Valve is working on for HTC and whatever Sony's studios are going to pull out of the bag for the Morpheus.

    How are these things going to go with regards to heat and health issues?

    An Australian summer is a great time to sit back and binge on games, but yikes they are going to be literal eyesores for most of us!

    I'll just have to make sure the floaty I get for the pool is big and comfy enough so I don't fall out and electrocute myself.....

    Last edited 04/03/15 11:20 am

      Yeah, they'll need sweat vents in them or some sort of demister I'm guessing.

    I would've bought an Oculus Rift, but then Facebook bought them out, now I wouldn't touch it with a ten foot clown pole. I would definitely buy a Vive especially seeing as it was co-developed with Valve (although it's a very silly name). Definitely buying a Project Morpheus as well, but it looks like the Vive is out first, so I'll have to get my arse into gear and start building a decent PC.


      Facebook can shove it.
      Samsung can join them with their closed, exclusivity-dealing, locked-to-samsung-phones-only, content strangling practices.

      I'm still not even sure where VR gaming is heading. But I'd much prefer to attach to Valves wagon than any of the other companies. I'll take a more open approach any day.

        How is Oculus' any more closed than Valve's? I mean admittedly I say this as an Oculus backer as well as someone who generally distrusts Valve/doesn't want to go anywhere near Steam, but that said Oculus seem to have been pretty open with things from what I've been following.

          At this point it probably isn't, but we also still have no idea what Facebook's intentions actually are, or how it is going to integrate into it's service.
          I dislike Facebook on many levels, most importantly their philosophy of completely closed systems in general, and absolute control over what happens in their environment.

          By 'open' in the case of all of these VR headsets, I'm more wanting openness in the API which is used by developers to integrate VR into their games.
          What I would like to see is a common API [eg: openGL, directX, mantle for graphics output], which is effectively hardware agnostic.

          If every company has a different API, that's going to mean developers are going to have to choose which VR system they support, or put in extra work to support multiple. It also means gamers will miss out on certain titles in VR if it doesn't work on their headset.
          Imagine games only running on AMD or only nVidia GPUs....... that sounds pretty terrible.

          And samsung is already going down this path. Their gear watches only work on samsung devices, and their VR system will only work on samsung devices. That alienates a LOT of users, and is a pain in the arse for everyone!

          I'm curious as to why you distrust valve so much? Sure, I get that we effectively ARE putting a LOT of trust in them with out PC gaming libraries. But all relationships are built on trust, and have Valve done anything to suggest they aren't trustworthy?
          I am by no means a Valve fanboi, but they legitimately do act in a manner quite different to other
          large corporations.

          I'll give you a very relevant example.
          When Valve started their VR development, they actually had two teams working on it. One in VR and one in AR [augmented reality]. The AR team was lead by Jeri Ellsworth, who is a big name in the electronics/hacker/maker world. They had a working prototype system and were well into development when Valve made the decision to only pursue VR and drop their AR program. This meant the AR team were let go from Valve.

          Jerri then had a meeting with Gabe, went in to his office and said she wanted to take ownership of the AR tech that her and her team had spent the last year developing so that they could start their own company and continue it's development. Gabe said to her yes, the IP is yours, take it and good luck. He turned to his lawyers and said make it happen.

          Which other large company ever just gives away IP for nothing because it is the 'right' thing to do?

          [This isn't a friend of a friend story either, this was told directly by Jerri on the AmpHour podcast].

          Anyway, sorry, bit of a long winded read. But I suppose what I mean to say is I trust Valve a heck of a lot more than I trust Facebook [and Samsung], and that's why.

            I'm extremely distrustful of Facebook too, don't want to have anything to do with them but pretty much just see them in this as a financial backer who just wants to get their foot in the door. I'm more trusting of Palmer and Carmack, so long as they're on board I don't feel like there's too much to worry about. And from what I understand, Facebook's quite a big proponent of open-source.

            It has been a while since I was following things particularly closely, since lately most things have become a flood of people asking how to get a game to work with it or if they should buy one or other stuff that isn't interesting discussion. But I thought it seemed like they were gearing towards a kind of open standard and cross-compatibility with stuff, allowing other companies to use their gear with their SDK and things like that.

            I haven't really paid any attention to the Gear VR stuff since I'm not interested in mobile anything, but I don't particularly like Samsung anyway :P

            The Valve thing... eh, I guess it's more that I just don't have any reason to like them. No emotional attachment to any of their stuff, and Steam just goes entirely against how I like to deal with things. It started out years and years ago with people telling me how they couldn't play a game because they had to wait for hundreds and hundreds of megabytes worth of updates or whatever before they could play a game, and now just the idea of having to have (yet another) account just to play a game irks me, as does the idea that if I buy a game in a shop I can't play it without an internet connection and an account and some other client program installed on my computer (throw in all the complaints I hear from friends about the Steam client updating itself all the time and slowing things down, etc), and then there's the whole "all your eggs in one basket" deal where people lose access to all the games they've paid for because something or other's happened to their account... but I'm just old like that. I like the idea that I go into a shop, lay money down for a game, and that is the end of it. We part ways, there's no ongoing relationship. I gave the money and got a thing in return, and then I do whatever I want with it. I'm mainly a Nintendo guy, I've got the whole collector thing going on so I massively prefer physical copies over digital. I won't touch the eShop either, for a lot of the same reasons as Steam. Also I don't really like how Steam with its ridiculous sales has instilled this culture of "you want me to pay THAT much for a game??", where people will refuse to lay down what is actually a pretty reasonable amount of cash and practically *demand* that a game be made cheaper than a bag of plastic cutlery.

            When it comes to PC games (especially ones that will never have a physical release :P), I like Humble. Don't need an account, just pay down the money and download it. Plus you can be generous if you like, it's nice to help out smaller devs like that. Plus they take less of a cut than Valve do, which is also great. And I think distributing by torrent is pretty cool too, take some of the load off the servers.

            I am familiar with Jerri (been a while since I was trawling Hackaday though >.>) and the story behind CastAR, which I'd love to try out someday, and while it sounded pretty rough for the project to just suddenly get shut down like that it was pretty cool of Valve to let her take the AR stuff with her.

            So yeah, likewise long-winded rant but basically I've got my paranoia all sorted how I like it :P

    Poll should have a 'first to market' option
    I don't care who releases it, the price or anything like that.
    As long as it has the highest resolution and performs well I will buy the first to market device

      How are you enjoying your Betamax and HD-DVD players?

    Neither, thanks. :-)

      I'm with you. "neither" and "other" really needed to be options in the poll.

      So much this. The idea of VR as it stands now I find incredibly unappealing.

        Did any of you actually try a VR device? I personally bought the Gear VR since I already had the note 4. I had very low expectations and honestly just wanted to find out what the fuss was about, I thought worst case scenario I satisfy my curiosity and sell it back online, or use it as a personal movie watching device in bed.

        Boy was I wrong, I was floored by it, I ended up showing it to kids and adults in my family (even my grandma lol) EVERY single person that tried it on was giggling, laughing in excitement, and/or left in complete disbelief that something like this could actually exist, and every single person that tried it was asking me where they could buy one.

        This is not the "3D tv" gimmicky experience I thought it would be, it made me a believer in VR and not in my 30 years of life did I experience anything like it, its is lightyears away from the old VR sets of the mid 90's...

        You actually feel as if you got yourself instantly transported to some new place, the view feels perfect without borders around (except for the screendoor effect, but its minimal and your mind filters that out in a couple of minutes, just like it filters out our noses), you feel like you can actually touch everything around you, and what blew my mind the most is that everything is to actual scale a mountain looks as big as a mountain, it does not feel like just a picture of a mountain, it is HUGE, the sense of depth also feels just like it does in reality (not like those fake feeling effects on 3d TVs and cinemas).

    Are we still pretending VR isn't a fad that's going to die out in a couple of years after failing to bring anything interesting to the table?

      Now, c'mon, they said the same thing about Yo Ho Diablo & look how that turned out.

      You obviously have not tried it yet!

      It very well may be. But we'll never know until it's release and tried.

      Otherwise we would never have any new tech! [Many people said smartphones were a fad, too]

    I dunno, I think Morpheus should probably be considered part of this equation too.

    It's going to be interesting to see how this whole VR thing pans out. I'm no market analyst, but whoever is first to the general market is more or less going to define VR in people's minds and if it's done badly, VR is dead right then and there unless someone has a really good marketing team.

    I have oculus dev kit 1 and have used it since last year and before, but since facebook got it and made me sign up for the firmware, i think i'll try valves.
    And before i get flamed again for saying about the sign up, do some research.

      I'm not on facebook and have a DK2.

      I am curious about the signup thing, since I only had to sign up to the dev centre to get the SDK etc and that was long before Facebook had anything to do with it.

        Not signing up to facebook, i mean how it was originally as simple as installing openVR and playing, none of that buggy oculus runtime and no other details needed.
        Last time i said it i had swarms of down votes by people who had not even used it.

          What's openVR? I don't remember having to originally install anything, you just started up a game for it and it worked.

            OpenVR Is called SteamVr now. You used to install it on steam and launch and source game with the -VR start up command. It was so simple and easy.

    I'll be excited when one of them actually exists as a product rather than a concept. Must be getting close by now

    Have the Rift DK2, and my answer would be neither. So many problems to be solved yet to make it a consumer device, to be honest, Sony looks like they might get an actual consumer product out the door.
    Plus, if you think there is a shortage of games for your PS4 or XB1, then man, there is going to be a long wait for games developed properly for VR, with input systems that work, (that won't add another $500 in required peripherals).
    I'm super excited for VR, but nothing I have tried so far feels even close to being a mass market consumer product, it would be pushing it to even achieve the levels of, say, a gaming steering wheel.

      Ive got a DK2, and the resolution increase on the HTC Vive doesn't sound like it will counter my biggest problem, text/distance fidelity. I can hardly read text in Elite Dangerous, or TF2, or see enemies more than 50m away in HL2 as more than a vauge dot.

      It could be that their way of handling the lens distortion will make better use of the screen space available, but that remains to be seen which is ultimately better, Vive or CV1.

        I have the Gear VR, and I can tell you text reading is no problem at all on its resolution, I mean I read all the text info for apps on the app store great and any game/app that has text is super easy to read and I had zero problems with it. :) no worries there.

    I've been with Oculus since the kickstarter, so I'm sticking with them. Got no reason to change now.

    I'm using a Rift DK2 and I have to say that there are still too many problems that need to be solved first. Resolution is a big one, 1080 x 1920 is still too low, movement is another - being able to walk around and have the Rift recognise and pick up hand movements would do wonders for VR but content is the biggest factor.

    Outside of some niche genres like flight simulators and driving simulators VR generates far too much nausea and I don't think that will ever be completely removed. This seriously reduces the potential market for gaming. As for other content well build it and we will come I guess.

    Gonna wait this one out I think, let them iron the kinks out of the tech and produce a lightweight version in the future.

    But I'd probably put money on the Valve one winning out if they manage to make it compatible with all Steam games.

    I think Morpheus has more chance to succeed with the masses, more people will want to buy a device that works instantly on their ps4 compared to having to buy a beefy computer and then get the rift going. That being said though rift could find more markets related to non gaming which help push their product to being a standard. I still think microsofts AR route has the best chance of succeeding though as it shouldn't have all the issues VR has.

    Last edited 04/03/15 12:37 pm

    I think it will come down to how popular VR is outside of gaming. Valve is very much seen as a games company, whereas the general public in most cases have never heard of them. So then it will probably come down to HTC vs Facebook to the general populous and I am sure if that is the case facebook will win out.

    All I want is to play a horror game in VR....thats all I want, and I want it now!!!

    Last edited 04/03/15 12:38 pm

      After seeing the gun demo for morpheus I REALLY REALLY REALLY want a VR house of the dead and time crisis title.

    I've only used the Rift, and that was an uncalibrated 10 minute demo on the PAX show floor. I couldn't make a call either way.

    Yeah probably wont touch VR until Morpheus - I'm still interested at how they expect people to wear what is essentially a screen only centimeters from your face and lift it up without your eyes absolutely hating you after any more then a few minutes use.

    I'm a total brand-slut. I'll get whichever one is out first, try the next one when that comes out, and upgrade if it's better. *shrugs*

    Given the limitations of the platform (both in terms of hardware and getting stuff published), Sony would've been smarter letting Oculus & HTC get the ball rolling before jumping on board. Innovation will initially come from indies and the more adventurous larger developers. PS4 is not really the platform for either of those things. I'm glad they're releasing a headset, I just think it's a bit premature in terms of market viability.

    Those saying "Humbug! There's not gonna be any content!"; what do you people want? There's a fair bit of content around already, and we're still a good 10 months (at least) from any consumer products hitting the shelves. We don't even have specifications from any of the major players for what they'll be going to market with.

    I will vote HTC because I like the idea of 1080p per eye and the use of spatial detectors or control or something. However if the HTC ends up being way too pricy compared to the Rift then I will likely not get one.

    There should be a war on all this. VR should go the way Digital TV tuners did on windows. Have a standard like BDA and then it doesn't matter which headset you use, it's just up to personal preference on how much you want to spend, but the software doesn't care what device is connected.

    It has the brand,
    => a brand with no previous product, no customer base ? little to no value at all.

    it has Facebook behind it,
    => a company with no experience in the field and no strong synergie. Just deep pockets.

    it has an existing suite of software.
    => any of theme exclusive ?

    Aren't there like other 4 big players on this race now?

    To me I will go with whatever comes on the market first (most likely the vive), to be honest I am just so sick of waiting for oculus (for 3 years now!!), I mean REALLY sick of it, its all talk so far "just wait, its going to be awesome, trust us, want to buy a dev kit? we are not sure when the CV will be out, but it will be awesome... want a dev kit? you really shouldnt, CV will be way better, who knows what features it will have". errrrggghhh

    They wouldn't even give any info about their device or what quarter it will be released in, but other than being pissed off with Oculus :P I really like that you get to move around with vive, and their controller seems like a great idea (already drawing bows and holding swords and shields in skyrim in my mind lol)

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