Last weekend HTC announced their price point for their new Vive headset to the tune of eighthundred United States dollars. This comes after Oculus announced a $600 price point for its Rift unit. The higher price comes as no surprise when the contents of the packages are looked at, the Vive ships with two room sensors as well as two handheld sensors and two games (the same amount in the Oculus kit). The main advantage of the Vive is its bigger movement area.
Interactive experiences are made that bit more realist with this inclusion of an area which the user can move around in. The area itself is a 15ft x 15ft area compared to the Oculus’ 5ft x 11ft. The Oculus is instead going primarily for a more sit down feel with its titles and hardware more in line with traditional games. The controllers as well are built to satisfy different needs with the Vive’s two controllers (one for each hand) adding to the more movement based experience where as the Oculus attempts a much more traditional gaming atmosphere with a focus on sitting down with its packaged Xbox One controller. What’s also interesting to look at is who is packing each of the headsets, with Facebook acquiring Oculus last year and HTC partnering with gaming heavyweight Valve. The significance of these partnerships can’t be understated.
HTC has already included phone calling as a key feature of its device and Facebook will probably look at bringing its social media platform to the Rift. That’s not all though, with Valve’s backing it’s quite likely we will see a lot more exclusive titles from the company with Portal, TF2 and other big IPs at Valve’s disposal. Not only this but the gaming giants distribution platform, Steam, could also have an impact on sales of the unit with its integration with the Steam controller and influence on both developers and the market to produce titles for delivery on the Vive. It will be interesting to see how many games come through as cross-platforming titles.
With the two differences focuses varying hugely it could make for a very small overlap of titles, making the choice of platform all the more important. Again another key factor in where developers choose to take their titles is dependant upon the ease of developing games for certain platforms which again brings in the question of their focus.
In terms of specifications, both have gone for almost identical requirements. The GPU and CPU minimum requirements are identical at GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 for GPU and Intel i5-4590 processor for a CPU but the Vive also features support for an AMD FX 8350. The big setback for the Rift is with RAM and USB ports. The Rift requires 8GB of RAM (and by extension a 64-bit system) whereas the Vive only needs 4GB. The Rift requires a huge four USB ports, three of which must be 3.0. Likewise the Vive requires only one 2.0 ports.
It isn’t all in the Vive’s favour however as the unit needs a 1.3 HDMI input as opposed to the Rift’s need for only a 1.2. That being said the Vive does offer 1.2 DisplayPort support. Only the coming months will tell who is going to come out on top of this battle with the Rift set to ship March 28th and the Vive around April.