The spawn of virtual reality in the world of entertainment has seen profound success, but questions have arisen surrounding its use outside the world of entertainment, and its integration into mainstream social media. While mobile virtual reality has seen affordable VR break into the mobile technology market with resounding success, one fact stands out: the cost of producing virtual reality devices far outweighs the profit from sales…
While the uncertainty of the field certainly makes investors wary, several pieces of VR gear have noticeably gained traction and subsequently held their ground. The technology we’re speaking of has made headlines through its light use in social media, and its more prominent use in the world of immersive gaming/entertainment.
Two such pieces of VR technology are the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. Both have their pros and cons, all of which play an integral part in their successes and shortcomings. Let’s spend some time to review each headset to get a better understanding of how they compare.
A notable comparison, to begin with, would be the price of the two sets. While the HTC Vive sits firmly at $800.00 (now $599), you’ll find that the price of the Oculus Rift was recently lowered from $800.00 to $399.00. Be warned – the price drop was largely due to its competitors, HTC and Sony, outpacing them in sales.
We’ll next talk about the feel of the handsets of the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. The handsets of the Oculus Rift are well designed with a smooth, ergonomic feel. While they’re designed in a spherical manner that looks odd at first glance, they certainly don’t feel odd. They’re also conveniently designed with buttons to aid in web browsing. Regarding the HTC Vive, it doesn’t compare. The hand controls are cylindrical and rather unnatural, albeit easy to use.
When comparing the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift, it’s important to take note of the tracking area. The tracking area is the area that your headset will be picked up by its sensors, while you’re playing a game. This is an important feature to look at, since a greater tracking area means greater freedom of personal movement. The Oculus Rift boasts an impressive tracking area of 8.2 by 8.2 feet, when used with three sensors. The HTC Vive’s maximum tracking area usurps that of the Rift by clocking in at 11.5 by 11.5 feet.
The overall mobility of the devices is another comparison worth discussing. The HTC Vive can be conveniently plugged into a backpack-like, wearable device that makes playing games with it both wireless and convenient. On the other hand, the Oculus Rift doesn’t feature anything like this, with a wired connection necessary from the headset to whatever gaming platform you’re playing it on.
The display of the two devices is relatively the same; with each headset offering a 2160 x 1200 resolution with a 90 Hz refresh rate. Both of these specs are quite impressive.
The verdict: The HTC Vive slightly edges out the Oculus Rift. While the Rift is vastly more affordable with hand controls that feel and look better, the Vive has a vastly larger tracking area while offering a truly wireless VR experience.
Both the HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift represent admirable leaps in virtual reality technology. We’ll probably see leaps and bounds as far as the development of VR is concerned for the world of entertainment, in the next few years. Microsoft is already talking about the launch of a VR headset to accompany the Xbox.
Then, there’s the question of VR and its relation to mainstream use. We’ll certainly see VR break into the professional world, but will the costs of its production decrease? Only time will tell. For now, we have to stick with the affordable options, designed primarily for immersive gaming and entertainment.
edit for breaking news related to VR: Palmer Luckey, Co Founder of Oculus is leaving Facebook. No reason has been given or if it was voluntary.
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