Oculus Rift available for pre-order: How does it compare?

Alex Kidman 7 January 2016 NEWS

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Oculus has opened up pre-orders for its Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, but it won’t be the only competitor in the VR space.

Oculus has been building hype for its Oculus Rift headset all the way back to its wildly successful Kickstarter, but for the most part it’s been developers and the desperately keen who have opted to purchase an Oculus developer kit, with the promise of 2016 commercial availability.

Oculus has announced that it has opened up global pre-orders for the Oculus Rift headset. The Rift has a base US price of $US599, but that figure doesn’t take any sales tax into consideration. Inform Oculus that you’re shipping to Australia and the figure rises to $US649.

That’s actually something of a minor discount when you consider that US list prices never list sales taxes. The inclusion of a 10% GST should raise that price to around $US659. At current exchange rates, the $US649 asking price equates to around $920 not including shipping costs. The Oculus Rift is expected to ship in May, and comes with the Oculus Rift headset, an Oculus Remote, Xbox One controller and two games: EVE: Valkyrie and Lucky’s Tale. Pre-ordering an Oculus Rift will also secure you a space to order the Oculus Touch controller, due out later this year.

Oculus does advise that you'll need a fairly hefty Windows PC to properly operate the Oculus Rift, Its pre-order page advised you to run a PC compatibility check prior to ordering to ensure that your current PC rig is up to scratch.

Oculus also assisted Samsung with its Gear VR headset, which uses a Samsung Galaxy phone as its primary screen and processing platform, but that’s a slightly cheaper prospect if you’ve already got a compatible Galaxy phone at $159. It does need a phone that typically costs around $1,000 (or more), so there’s not so much price difference if you don’t already have a Galaxy phone, and in a comparative sense the experiences that an Android device will deliver in the long term are likely to be limited compared to those on a full PC-backed platform.

Samsung Gear VR 3

Samsung Gear VR 3 from Samsung

Play games, watch movies and look at photos all in glorious virtual reality with the latest Samsung Gear VR.

View details

VR in 2016 won’t be an exclusively Oculus centric world, however, with HTC’s Vive, developed in partnership with Valve and Sony’s Playstation VR also set to launch this year. Neither competing platform has announced exact availability or pricing for their respective platforms at this time. Here is how the three contenders compare based on currently available information on each offering:

Playstation VR Oculus Rift HTC Vive
Produced by Sony Computer Entertainment Oculus VR HTC and Valve
Release Date Q2 2016 May 2016 TBC
Price TBC $US649 TBC
Display Resolution 1920 x 1080 (960 x 1080 per eye) 2160 x 1200 (1080 x 1200 per eye) 2160 x 1200 (1080 x 1200 per eye)
Screen Technology OLED OLED OLED
Refresh Rate (Hz) 120 90 90
Maximum Frame-Rate 120 frames-per-second TBC 90 frames-per-second
Field of View 100-degrees 110-degrees or more 110-degrees or more
Integrated Audio No Yes No
Head Tracking 360-degree head tracking Constellation - 360-Degree head tracking system using infrared Lighthouse - 2 base stations emitting pulsed laser - gyro sensor and accelerometer
Body Tracking No No Yes, via laser position sensors over a 15-foot by 15-foot area
Format PS4 PC PC
Operating System PlayStation Network Oculus Home SteamVR
Controller PlayStation Move or DualShock Xbox One Controller or Oculus Touch 2 x SteamVR controllers (one for each hand)
Required Equipment PlayStation 4 or PlayStation Vita Intel i5-4590 Processor or better; 8GB or more RAM; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 or AMD R9 290 or better, HMDI 1.3 video output, 3x USB3.0 ports plus 1x USB 2.0 port, Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or better TBC
Bundled With TBC Oculus Remote, Xbox controller, EVE: Valkyrie, Lucky's Tale Steam, Body tracking sensors that hang on your wall
Launch Titles 50+ 9 TBC
Weight TBC < 380g TBC
Audio Technology New PlayStation 3D Audio Engine Visisonics RealSpace 3D Audio NA
Virtual Reality Store TBC Yes TBC
Games Highlights Sony's first and second-party studios are making dedicated product for the device. There is also strong indie support on the PS4. PlayStation VR can operate in tandem with the PS4, which means multiplayer can occur where up to four people use a TV screen and a fifth uses VR. Strongly supported by indie developers; 20 Oculus funded second-party games in development; can stream Xbox One games to a virtual screen Has the backing of Valve (Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead, Counter-Strike) and will be integrated into Steam distibution network. Supported by popular, multformat middleware Unreal Engine 4.

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