Sony Vs Oculus or should we say Sony VS Facebook….
VR has had it’s place in the world for decades the first unit we ever used was at an old arcade in a Butlins holiday park. The ‘Game’ was a simulator of a space station where a stick controller was used to fire at red squares. To be honest those machines meant you spent your entire time looking at the floor due to the sheer weight of the headwear.
Now we’re in the 21st century Oculus came first with the rift, a crowd funded piece of hardware which caught the attention of every gamer be it positive or negative, they had us talking. Facebook bought Oculus and will now be funding the rift which we believe can only be a good thing to have such a large company backing future tech. Oculus have said that gaming is still the aim of the Rift but facebook undoubtedly wish to place a social stamp on VR . Talk of Virtual Chatrooms and coffee shops where the person will socialise digitally sounds crazy to us as going outside is not actually that scary. We’ll see where this goes over the coming months.
Project Morpheus is Sony’s offering which has been under wraps for sometime and is a big release for Playstation. This is a piece of kit that will be gaming orientated from the start built around the PS4 and from what we can tell has been in development for years, this gives Sony a massive advantage on the Rift. It has the experience but also the hardware to pair it with and a library of games that is ever growing and will have unrivalled support from developers that Sony nurture.
|PS4 Project Morpheus||Oculus Rift Crystal Cove|
|Resolution per eye||960x1080p||960x1080p|
|Panel size||5 inch||5.6 inch|
|Internal motion sensors||Accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope||3-axis gyroscope, accelerometers, magnetometers|
|External motion sensors||PlayStation 4 Camera||External PC camera|
|Motion sensor speed||1000Hz||1000Hz|
|Field of View||90 degrees||100 degrees|
|Connection interface||HDMI and USB||USB, DVI and HDMI|
|Audio||3D audio, plus headphone jack support||None|
|Controller compatibility||PS Move, Dualshock 4||All PC controllers|
Courtesy of CVG Uk
The specs above speak for themselves but the most interesting are the difference in screen technologies. LCD vs OLED from previous experience OLED is far superior in quality but this will also increase cost compared to the cheaper yet older LCD. What is not mentioned above is that the Rift has Low persistence technology to cut motion blur and judder and stop the feeling of motion sickness that many get using this type of hardware.
Courtesy of Oculus Rift
The image above describes in better detail than we could in words how this technology works, basically it allows your brain to deal with the movement effect instead of the hardware showing you the movement effect. Project Morpheus has not released any details on any technology relating to this but that’s not to say they are not working on something similar.
Both headsets are fairly matched at this marker but Sony does pull a rabbit out of the hat and offer 360 degree head tracking compared to the Rift’s front facing LED array. Oculus will use their own camera to track the headset and this is currently included in the development kit, our only worry with this approach is how the device will cope when your not facing the camera. Gyroscopes and accelerometers can help in this endeavour and will eliminate ‘Tilt drift error’. The magnetometer is in place to correct ‘Yaw drift error’ and works very much like a compass further stabilising your experience. These sensors are very impressive on paper but part of us still want them to incorporate the LED array around the rear band to increase it’s accuracy.
Project Morpheus will use the PlayStation 4 3D camera and its blue lights surround the headset to offer full 360 motion tracking. This on paper sounds very promising and replaces the need for the magnetometer. With an accelerometer and 3 axis gyroscope backing it all up it seems that it is a much more fluid way of tracking your movements accurately.
Oculus Rift development kits are PC based only and are for that purpose alone….developing games. We will have to see what Oculus have planned and whether they will release across all platforms thus challenging Project Morpheus on it’s own turf. This would be a very brave move but could offer consumers better price points across both headsets.
Project Morpheus is to be a PS4 exclusive. This is not to say that Sony won’t try and market this as a wearable Cinema as they have made similar headsets in previous years.
This is where the virtual world will become interesting.
Imagine sitting in the driving seat of a Lamborghini Aventador on the start line of the nurburgring looking down at the steering wheel and being able to see every little detail of the cockpit and interior (front and back) of such a beautiful supercar. Hitting turns and not looking out of the windscreen but looking through your drivers side window as you perfectly drift through a hairpin, this is where it will matter on how it changes our perception and gameplay. How it immerses us, the player in our worlds, our games.
Oculus Rift’s confirmed and planned games are available here.
Project Morpheus currently only has Project Cars confirmed but PlayStation assures us that many games are currently in development.
There is still a lot of information to come on Project Morpheus not to mention a release date and the Oculus Rift has development kits being released at the pricey sum of $350. Oculus seems to have the upper hand at the moment using superior screens and motion blur technology but we must remember that Project Morpheus is still not a product and still in development giving Sony the chance to upgrade it’s headset at it’s discretion.
The technology is exciting and it has the gaming world buzzing with advantages and disadvantages of the headset experience. The main issue players have though is, as always, PRICE. If these headsets come into the consumer market priced the same as a next gen console then we have a problem. We appreciate you are in fact purchasing a 3D tracking television but the stigma tied to VR is very real and players want an affordable experience.
Oculus will release ahead of Sony in our opinion but will have a greater audience and more dedicated type of PC gamer to impress and with the ever growing ‘upgradeability’ of Gaming Rigs will mean constant updates will be required. The Oculus also has the ability of cross platform usability which could tip the odds in their favour as long as they can provide a solid experience to all.
In no way are we saying that Sony have it easy, we are predominantly PlayStation fans here at FV:Review HQ and the hardcore PlayStation fans will want perfection but with the PS4 hardware being standard it does mean they can concentrate a lot more of their resources on developing fantastic games using this exciting technology.
These headsets could change the way games are designed and played forever given that, we , the players, give them a chance and not shoot down their endeavours as we did the virtual reality machines of old.
Written by David W Howells