Sony PlayStation VR vs HTC Vive: Which VR headset is worth the money?

It's not all about Oculus, y'know
Sony PlayStation VR vs HTC Vive

Oculus Rift is VR's lucky charm, the headset that the whole industry is counting on. But you do have two other options: Playstation VR and HTC Vive.

Both HTC and Sony's headsets offer different games and controls compared to the Rift but of course, one is still tethered to the PC and the other to a console.

We've already put both head to head with Oculus' headset in our Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive and Oculus Rift vs PlayStation VR but, for good measure, lets see how Sony's futuristic looking PS4 accessory stacks up to HTC and Valve's hardware.

Sony PlayStation VR vs HTC Vive: Design and comfort

Sony's PlayStation VR headset has a bit of futuristic flair to its design and is much more likely to elicit gasps of envy from your mates when they come round to check out your new virtual reality wares. It's not all cosmetic though - Sony has stuck some of the device's tech in a helmet-style section above the actual goggles.

This helps to distribute the weight relatively evenly around your head and not all on your poor nose and cheeks, something HTC's Vive has suffered from. It's not something that is an issue when you first slide a headset on but for 15 minute+ sessions, comfort is crucial.

As for the matte black plastic, the Vive is less of a bulky black box than it looks. Both the PlayStation VR and Vive can be used if you wear glasses, both require separate headphones and Sony's headset has a quick release button to make it easier to get it on and off.

In general, these two have got the upper hand over the Rift in terms of comfort. The notches for the glasses-wearers on Vive and the adjustable quick release on PS VR make for a very comfy time in VR. You get a bit sweatier with Vive on though since you're moving much more, and for some, it may start to feel a tad heavy. We didn't really notice it in our review, and we'll have to spend more time with PS VR on to full judge just how snug it is.

HTC Vive vs Sony PlayStation VR: Display

The current PlayStation VR specs stand at one 5.7-inch 1920 x 1080 OLED display inside the headset. It features RGB subpixels and is split to deliver a 960 x 1080 picture to each eye.

The Vive offers two OLED displays with a total resolution of 2160 x 1200 and a 90Hz refresh rate – which is apparently 233 million pixels a second and the minimum spec to keep you from spewing everywhere.

The Vive also has a slightly wider viewing angle of 110 degrees horizontally to the PlayStation VR's 100 degrees. Still as ever with tech specs, it's swings and roundabouts here.

Read this: How Sundance's VR works bring our bodies into the picture

Sony's 120Hz refresh rate bests HTC's. Even though early games won't run at 120 FPS, Sony's tweaks means everything should look smooth and in theory, help to reduce motion sickness.

One final note: in our demos, we've found the display of the PlayStation VR has a small gap at the bottom of the headset. Whether you're into that depends on whether you find being able to see your body/feet reassuring. The Vive achieves this quick glance at your real surroundings via a front facing camera and its chaperone feature.

In general, we haven't felt particularly sick playing on either device thanks to the upgraded specs. It's really dependent on which game you're playing.

HTC Vive vs Sony PlayStation VR: Tracking and controls

Sony's PlayStation Camera tracks the nine (very cool looking) LED sensors around the headset (up from six originally) 1,000 times a second and the set up can track the back of your head, not just the front.

That means you can look behind you in a VR environment. PlayStation VR also has its own 3D spatial sound engine, no surprise given Sony's expertise in this area, so expect to see high profile games taking advantage of this.

As for controls, some seated games use DualShock 4 controllers which are spatially aware so you can hack at an object in one 'hand' while wielding a sword in the other. Other titles can be played with PlayStation Move controllers and even utilize outside peripherals to turn them into VR guns. The studio behind the game Farpoint created its own gun in partnership with Sony, calling it the PS VR Aim Controller.

The Vive setup uses Valve's Lighthouse tech to track your head and hand movements around a 15 x 15 foot space via two basestations that are placed in corners of the room. The Vive headset and two wireless controllers have 70 sensors between them and there's more scope to play while standing up and moving around, if you have enough space in your house/flat.

HTC hasn't put as much of an emphasis on spatial sound as Oculus and Sony but the Vive headset supports 3D, directional sound so the option for devs is there to use it. Surprisingly, the sound is still very good despite the tiny earbuds you get in the box. You can of course swap them out for any other pair of cans - which we highly recommend as you'll get a more immersive experience.

Sony PlayStation VR vs HTC Vive: Games

There's big names like Sony exclusive Gran Turismo, CCP Games' space shooter EVE: Valkyrie, Crytek's Robinson: The Journey and Ubisoft's Eagle Flight demo as well as remakes and spin offs including Rez Infinite and Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin.

Earlier this year, E3 revealed even more where we can expect Batman Arkham VR, Resident Evil VII Biohazard, Final Fantasy XV and many more.

Essentially, Sony's got a tantalising line-up and there's something for everyone as well as the stuff Sony's own Studio is producing like London Heist. However there will be a few titles that will leave us waiting into early 2017.

Read this: The best Sony PlayStation VR games

On the HTC Vive side, we've enjoyed seeing the roster of games steadily grow. In fact, there are so many now we can hardly keep up. There are 400 announced titles and about 200 on Steam alone.

Many make use of the room scale tracking from Hover Junkers to Job Simulator,Elite: Dangerous and tons more. There's a good mix of traditional shooters and family friendly fare to puzzlers and lots of horror games to keep you on your toes.

HTC Vive vs Sony PlayStation VR: Price and release date

The HTC Vive headset costs a pretty penny at $799 which is a good $200 more expensive than an Oculus Rift but it does include two controllers, the Lighthouse base stations, some ear buds plus copies of a few games.

The Sony PS VR launches 13 October, but at the much more accessible price of $399. You can choose to get the headset alone or in a bundle with the PlayStation Eye camera and Move controllers. A game disc with demos will also be part of the package.

Additionally, Sony recently revealed that its packing a new console - the PS4 Pro - might be better suited to run the VR headset. Granted, if you're gaming on the regular PS4, Sony notes it should still work fine but on the Pro, you'll get higher frame rates and enhanced world detail among other graphic changes. Upgrading the console will cost you $399 and you can pick one up 10 November.

Sony PlayStation VR vs HTC Vive: Initial verdict

Your PlayStation VR versus Vive decision will largely depend on whether you have a PS4, a PC and - in the case of both - which one you want to use to game in VR. In the less likely scenario that you are willing to spend a lot of money on a whole new system, here's some thoughts based on multiple PS VR demos and our time at home with the Vive.

Vive is worth a look if you think you can put down the cash for a PC to run the games since you'll get the most out of room scale tracking. There are more and more experiences added daily as well and while a lot are demos or shorter titles, you still have plenty of options to choose from now.

But if you feel like you're better off VR gaming on the couch, as you would normally for console playing, the PS VR is obviously the more affordable option. You'll get lots of games to with about 50 titles launching and more on the way.

With PS VR, you also don't have to shuffle your house around to make room for the Sony headset - just your entertainment system area for the singular camera. However that means there's no real work out while playing the games. Vive makes you move around more including walking, ducking and swinging your arms around. With PlayStation VR, it'll probably just be the latter plus sitting, turning around to look at things and occasionally just standing - similar to Rift's experience.

When it comes down to it, it's really a matter of convenience and cost - what are you willing to sacrifice for VR?


  • BeWarey says:


    Sony PlayStation VR v HTC Vive: Games

    Sony comfortably wins this round. Its slate of both original and reworked VR titles is genuinely exciting and the full list got a boost with a bunch of new PS4 titles in December."

    What? I don't think you've quite understood. The Vive will have similar support to the Rift when it comes to games. That means a catalog of hundreds of games, if not thousands, immediately at launch. Not just posterboys like Elite Dangerous, but classics including Half-Life 2, BioShock and Minecraft.

    I was already playing Minecraft on a Rift in 2014, so I'm surprised to see this isn't common knowledge. Maybe it's just known to those of us with first-hand experience, eh? ;)

    • daa says:

      what they are saying is they have better games.

  • Chevy2 says:

    is PlayStation Viva going to be adappatel toe ps3 th

  • jakeypooh says:

    Can you use the HTC Vive on ps4?

    • Radeon9 says:

      I don't think that will be the case. If anything, the Playstation VR will be made available to use on PC since the playstation vr has usb connections. If Sony doesn't do it, a pc mod will. I feel safer with the playstation VR> My original thoughts were that the playstation vr didn't have 360, but now that it does, I definitely want the playstation one instead.

  • peterledwith says:

    I demoed the htc vr whale encounter recently. OUTSTANDING. As much as I would love to own one I do not have £2000 to splash out on one. My question is this....will the playstation vr look as good as the htc? The immersion was awesome on the htc. Mobile vr is pathetic in comparison but will playstation vr be much better since you are paying less than half the price. Will whale encounter be on playstation vr?

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