PlayStation VR vs. Oculus Rift vs. HTC Vive: Display Tech, Tracking And More Comparisons

Find out how each headset sizes up to each other.

Posted By | On 20th, Mar. 2016 Under Article, Editorials

With the announcement of PlayStation VR’s price and release month, the stage has been set for one of the bigger battles in hardware history. Then again, Oculus VR and HTC/Valve pretty much fired the first shots on dating their respective devices. GDC 2016 was all about Sony’s push in the war but what should you know about each headset? Naturally, they’ll have different games (and a whole lot of similar ones) but what differentiates the hardware? Which is better at immersing you in the realm of virtual reality? And which is most likely to hurt your bank balance? Let’s take a look at the top 3 VR headset contenders and find out.

Display Tech

In terms of display technology, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are pretty much even. They both feature OLED screens with a 2160×1200 resolution, making for 1080×1200 resolution in each eye with 90 Hz refresh rate. The field of view is 110 degrees as well – it’s the aspect ratio in which they differ the most. The HTC Vive has a 9:5 aspect ratio as compared to the Oculus Rift’s traditional 16:9 aspect ratio.

The PlayStation VR has a refresh rate of 90 to 120 Hz, making it potentially higher than both of its competitors depending on the game, but it falls short in other areas. The OLED display has a 1080p resolution with 960×1080 resolution in each eye and a 100 degree field of view. Oh well – at least Sony mandated that no PlayStation VR title can drop below 60 FPS. There’s that.

PlayStation VR

Tracking Tech

Perhaps one of the most important features of a VR headset is the tracking it employs. Once again, the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift impress the most in this category.

Weighing 555 grams, the Vive’s headset has 32 sensors in the helmet with more than 70 sensors together with the touch controller. These sensors – your traditional accelerometer, laser position sensors and MEMS gyroscope – work with the Lighthouse system’s bases – that sweep the room with light lasers to pick up objects via photosensors, providing operation in a 15 by 15 feet room and precision up to less than a millimetre. Even more interesting is the fact that the cameras on the front can identify objects in the room and a feed is displayed to the user in order to avoid running into said objects.

Meanwhile, the Oculus Rift weighs about 470 grams and uses a USB IR LED sensor which offers six degrees of freedom (3 axis rotational tracking + 3 axis positional tracking). It is capable of operating in a 5 by 11 feet space. The Constellation technology employed is a rather interesting positional system that uses external IR sensors to track the headset and promises a sub-millimetre of accuracy with pretty much no lag. The IR LED sensor covers the room in question and creates a 3D space around the user, allowing them to walk around and stand up while using Rift. Integrated headphones are provided for a 3D audio effect depending on one’s rotation and position.

By comparison, the PlayStation VR handles its tracking through the PlayStation Camera, providing an operating space of 10 by 10 feet. The headset itself contains 9 LEDs which are tracked by the Camera for 360 degree head movement while a 3D audio effect is in place through its 3.5 mm headphone jack. Like the Oculus Rift, the PlayStation VR makes use of six degrees of freedom for its tracking.

PlayStation Move


There’s really not too much to say here about the controllers involved. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift both come with their standard handheld controllers, the latter powered by another IR LED system. Rift is also capable of supporting the Xbox One controller. The PlayStation VR supports either PlayStation Move, Sony’s motion-controller, or a DualShock 4.

System Requirements

Of course, here’s where things get dicey for the Vive and Rift. Both headsets require some fairly powerful PC configurations to use effectively.

The HTC Vive requires an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU with 4 GB of RAM and either an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 GPU. The Oculus Rift isn’t much better – it needs Intel i5-4590 or equivalent, 8 GB RAM or higher and either an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 or better. The above components alone cost a few hundred dollars, not counting the cost of a monitor and, oh, the rest of your PC.

In comparison, the PlayStation VR only really requires a PlayStation 4. Considering the more than 36 million PlayStation 4 consoles out there, not to mention the relative cost compared to a great PC, it would seem as though PlayStation VR is more accessible to your average consumer. The PlayStation 4’s overall hardware set-up – namely a custom AMD octa-core CPU and 8 GB GDDR5 RAM – may not be as powerful as most modern PCs but it’s proven capable of delivering visually arresting experiences. We’ll see how that pans out in the games over the coming year.

Oculus Rift_01


Leaving aside the cost of the PC and the PlayStation 4 required for these VR headsets, they have their own individual costs. The HTC Vive will cost $799 and comes with the base stations, controllers, headset, ear buds and free games like Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush. It releases on April 15th. Valve showcased The Lab at GDC 2016 as a sort of collection of VR demos that players could fool around with on release like space shooter Xortex and tower defense title Longbow. No word on that demo for Portal VR but there’s still Star Wars: Trials on Tatooine VR.

Oculus Rift will cost $599 and comes with the headset, sensor, remote, Xbox One controller and two free games with EVE Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale.  It’s out on March 28th. Future titles that have us excited for the potential of the headset include Adr1ft and Chronos though there are a fair number of games that will be out on PlayStation VR as well like Robinson: The Journey.

The PlayStation VR will retail for $399 but you need to spend money on the PlayStation Camera and PlayStation Move to use it effectively. There will be a bundle retailing for $499 with the headset, Move and Camera along with a game. Thus far, Sony said it’s tracking some 50 titles for release by 2016 end and some 230 developers creating content. We haven’t been too impressed with games like The Modern Zombie Taxi Co. but Rez Infinite and Star Wars Battlefront VR are enough to get us hyped.

Which VR headset looks like the best option to you? Let us know in the comments below.

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  • Bull Proodhead

    You forgot to talk about screendoor effect. Apparently PS4 has the best screen type to tackle this issue. I’ll probably be sticking to my Gear though for now.

    • Lamanuwa

      True, the author seems to be completely unaware of the whole Pentile Vs RGB thing.

    • Bonnie Knudson

      When I looked at the draft of 5975 dollars, I have faith that brother of my friend was like really generating cash in his free time with his PC…upy His aunt’s neighbor has done this for only 11 months and by now repaid the loan on their home and bought a new Car.

      For Details Click Here

    • Truth™ PSVR 960×1080®

      RGB screen won’t help lower resolution games overcome screen door effect 🙂

    • Lamanuwa
    • Gamez Rule

      OLED RGB Screen = PSVR / OLED Pentile Screen = Vive & Rift

      ♦NOTE: OLED RGB Screen is better than OLED Pentile Screen.

      120 FPS = PSVR / 90 FPS = Vive & Rift

      ♦NOTE: 120 FPS is better than 90 FPS ( no matter how it is made )

      100° field of view = PSVR / 110° field of view = Vive & Rift

      ♦NOTE: The wider a field of view used in VR the worse *Screen Door Effect* takes place.

      1920 x 1080 = PSVR / 2160 X 1200 = Vine & Rift

      ( 960 x RGB x 1080 Per eye = PSVR ) / ( 1080 x 1200 Per eye = Vine & Rift )

      ♦NOTE:Pentile OLED inflates the resolution on paper, the effective resolution can be 66% less than the listed resolution. *This making the pentile display less resolution than PSVRs 1080 display. ( PSVR also has a higher *SubPixel screen* than both Vive & Rift.)

      PSVR is cheaper to buy, more available to buy within stores, only needs a basic PS4 system to use, More support via game developers, more support via movie apps ( netflix ), allows playing non-PS4 games in VR, etc ect.

  • Robert


    • Truth™ PSVR 960×1080®

      Nintendoes what Sonydon’t

    • Jason Mounce

      Anti-Sony shrills are so easy to spot in the wild. It’s easier than bird watching, that’s for sure.

    • Truth™ PSVR 960×1080®
    • Jason Mounce

      Hard to be a ‘Sony Shrill’ when my main platform is PC m8.

      Not a g8 b8 m8.

    • Are you kidding me? How about the innovative Sony Vaio computers with the first chiclet keyboards, graphics switching and thinnest notebook before Mac Air came along? How about the Sony HMZ headset which came out way before Oculus Rift? How about the Sony Walkman and Discman? How about the AIBO robot? Sony did alot of things, maybe not the very first ones but the first ones to do them well

    • Jason Mounce

      I hope you really don’t believe in that hilariously stupid image, right? Right? I know Nintendo fanboys are stubborn, but I’ll have a glimmer of hope that you can be persuaded to not side with ignorance, now allow me to tell you what that image means from top to bottom.

      1) Playstation Move controllers were shown BEFORE the Wii Controllers were. Know why/how? Sony’s Move controllers had existed during PS2’s generation and were in prototype form and were shown being used to demo a few games on the PS2’s Eye in around 2003-2004. Just google it up, “ps2 eyetoy move controller” and you’ll see the 2nd link leads to a video to show, Sony was first in the move controllers, just Sony didn’t feel it was a ready product during those stages. tl;dr Sony revealed the Move controller before Nintendo showed the existence of their Wii motes. Sony did it before them.

      2) What, did Mario Kart invent Kart games and all other Kart-like Non-realistic racing games just instantly become a Mario Kart clone? Let alone, 2008 wouldn’t have obviously been the first Super Mario Kart and Mario Kart 64, which I played endlessly – but the image implies ‘Nintendo invented Gokarts in games’. It’d be like saying Doom invented FPS. People use that phrase satirically for a reason. Granted, many games are more or less clones of Mario Karts success in how it ‘PLAYS’ but that does not inherently mean that any Kart-game = instant clone or instant rip off just because someone did it first genre-wise. Just as not every FPS is not a clone of Doom or Wolfenstein 3D

      3) Again, Nintendo didn’t invent sidescrollers, to imply that anyone who makes a side-scroller besides Nintendo should get ridiculed is hilariously idiotic. LBP was fun, Mario is somewhat still fun, if not getting tiring and old.

      4) I’m assuming that’s PSVita and a PS3, but you DO know that PSP also had Remote View with PS3? As even Wikipedia states, connectivity via remote play has existed with Sony as a design and concept since 2006. If you honestly think Wii U invented or showed a screen/pad/peripheral to Console/monitor/tv connectivity first? Then I again laugh at you.

      5) Suddenly Sega is on the list? You think Sega invented that? I bet you any money Star Trek designed it first. lmao. Either way, failure-designs or broken hardware or ‘ideas that are too early to work’ should not really count. If you think Sega has dibs on having Goggles/head-mounting display because they tried and failed it first, that’d be like saying anyone who makes a Glove-design for VR copies Nintendos failed Powerglove.

      Now I know what you’ll say, I just must be a Playstation fanboy for ‘defending Sony’ – Yeah, am sure you could use those ad hominems if it makes you sleep better at night, but at the end of the day, I know I’m right, and I’d rather correct stupid people and tell them why they’re wrong without any political agendas to it. People spread misinformation every day, and if I can use my knowledge to correct them? I will. Most Nintendo fanboys are always blatantly ignorant of these simple facts that Nintendo isn’t the overlord of innovation as they praise them to be.

  • Clemency77

    whoa whoa, not too much to say about the controllers? The fact that Vive is the only one that comes with motion controllers (and highly praised ones at that) is a HUGE difference. Both Rift and Sony’s must be separately purchased, and the Rift’s have no release date or set price (nor have been independently tested). You also didn’t mention room scale at all. Pretty much the two game-changing things the Vive does that the others don’t were left out of this article.

    • Clemency77

      The Rift COMES WITH an Xbox One controller. Both headsets are capable of supporting it.

    • Robert

      Oculus Rift comes with 2 free games unlike PSVR a demo of minigames

    • Clemency77

      Vive comes with 3 free games + The Lab! Hyped!

    • OkinKun

      Both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are capable of ROUGHLY the SAME Room-scale VR quality.
      This has been proven beyond a doubt now, and developers are going to be support room-scale on BOTH, once Touch is released in ~6 months.
      Stop spreading Vive-fanboy oculus-hater misinformation.

  • OkinKun

    Umm.. This line “The HTC Vive has a 9:5 aspect ratio as compared to the Oculus Rift’s traditional 16:9 aspect ratio.”
    Is based on totally nothing.. That has no basis in reality. a 16:9 ratio would NEVER fit right inside a VR headset, that didn’t look like Geordie’s visor..

    Neither Oculus nor HTC has ever given aspect ratio numbers like that.

  • DougP

    Narrated in the video – “HTC Valve” ?
    Makes me wonder how much the person has researched & what they know about the products.


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