With the recent release of the Oculus Quest, gamers finally have an easy all-in option when it comes to playing virtual reality content of a very high standard.
However, a lot of players (myself included) have managed to get their virtual reality fix through the PlayStation VR – Sony’s first foray into virtual reality technology and a headset that is considered to be one of the most successful on the market. All you need to run it is a PlayStation 4 and the PlayStation Camera, which is a heck of a lot cheaper than the powerful PCs that headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive require.
With the promise of a better resolution and the fact that you don’t need any external cameras or wires though, Oculus Quest seems like it could be a much more effective and convenient option when compared to PlayStation VR. I’ve spent an extensive amount of time with both headsets and compared what I think are their most important aspects.
There’ll be no overly technical jargon here, but just one gamer’s opinion on what headset is better: Oculus Quest or PlayStation VR.
Comfort: PlayStation VR
It has been known for some time that the PlayStation VR headset is the most comfortable available, and that hasn’t changed with the release of Oculus Quest. Rather than having a slider that allows you to position the headset with finesse like PlayStation VR does, the Oculus Quest instead wedges itself against your face with a bit of pressure. Unless you’re bald, you might feel it pulling on your hair a little too, so that’s something to consider when you’re initially putting it on.
That’s not to say it’s completely uncomfortable by any means, and once you do hit the sweet spot it can stay quite comfortable for extended play sessions – it’s just simply not as comfortable as PlayStation VR and is a heck of a lot weightier. It is worth mentioning that the Oculus Quest doesn’t have wires dangling down your side or on the floor to potentially trip over like the PlayStation VR does, but it’s still clear that Sony’s headset comes out on top here.
Visuals: Oculus Quest
One of the mains comparisons between PlayStation VR and Oculus Quest comes down to what’s better: the higher refresh rate of PlayStation VR or the higher resolution of Oculus Quest. Well, I’ve played a good few titles that are available on both platforms, and I have to say that I found that the Oculus Quest’s improved resolution made a heck of a lot more of a difference than a higher refresh rate did.
Not only are the landscapes you look across over a distance or the objects you hold in your hand a lot more clear, but the overall presentation of each game just feels a lot more clean. There was a significant improvement between games like Creed II: Rise to Glory, Beat Saber, and Rec Room where the Oculus Quest’s visuals were just a lot nicer to look at.
That’s not to say PlayStation VR looked ugly by any stretch of the imagination, with some impressive visuals to be seen across its catalogue of games. It was just guilty of being a little blurry and featuring jagged edges at times, which is something you experience a lot less of in the newer Oculus Quest.
Games: PlayStation VR
Now this is one area where the PlayStation VR’s age works to its advantage – it has been out for over two years after all, so naturally it’s going to have a wider selection of games available in its library. With well over three-hundred games and experiences available on the platform right now, it eclipses Oculus Quest’s selection of around sixty.
The PlayStation VR has more prolific exclusives too, with things like Astro Bot, Resident Evil VII, WipeOut Omega Collection, Bravo Team and Blood and Truth standing out as some truly stellar releases. In fairness, the Oculus Quest has some great exclusive too – Robo Recall: Unplugged, Journey of the Gods and Vader Immortal are all fantastic – but there’s no denying that the PlayStation VR’s selection is larger and offers a bit more variety.
The same goes for the third-party releases, with titles like Skyrim VR, DOOM VFR, and Borderlands 2 VR proving to be hits on PlayStation VR. There are also a ton of indie games that offer high quality and often unique experiences, with titles like Red Matter, Falcon Age, Ghost Giant, and The Persistence really setting the bar high. Of course, a lot of these titles could eventually make their way to the Oculus Quest, but as of right now they’re not there.
I’m sure when Oculus Quest has been out for a year or so it’ll boast an impressive catalogue of titles, but as of right now there’s no denying that PlayStation VR comes out on top.
Controllers: Oculus Quest
I’ll be honest; despite trying out the Oculus Rift headset a fair few times, this was actually my first experience with Oculus Touch controllers, and wow, I was impressed. Not only do they feel comfortable to use with the dual analogue sticks, but the button placements felt perfect across every game I tried. I just REALLY like them (even if the battery cover had a tendency of sliding off during use).
The thing is though, the PlayStation VR didn’t really set the bar high with the PlayStation Move controllers anyway. Now don’t get me wrong, they’ve worked well across plenty of games and I’ve never found myself playing a title where they were utilised in an awful and unplayable way, but their lack of analogue sticks has been a MASSIVE hindrance in games that offer free movement. Sure, there are workarounds that utilise the face buttons, but the Move controllers are simple nowhere near as comfortable as the Oculus Touch controllers.
When it comes down to it, Sony really need to come up with a new controller for PlayStation VR. The PlayStation Move wasn’t even designed from the ground up for use with PlayStation VR, so naturally it’s not going to perfect for a lot of games. The Oculus Touch controllers, though? Brilliant.
Tracking: Oculus Quest
Want to know what makes the Oculus Touch controllers even better? The fact that you can move around 360-degrees when using them, with the Oculus Quest not requiring an external camera to track your movements but instead doing it all automatically via… uh… ‘magic’. On a serious note, it’s so refreshing being able to just turn yourself around physically in a first-person title as opposed to by pressing a button like in PlayStation VR releases, whilst being able to quickly aim behind you in shooters certainly felt a lot more stylish too. Best of all, not once did I ever lose tracking across the hours I spent playing on the Oculus Quest – it’s really impressive.
Tracking has been an issue in a lot of PlayStation VR releases, with the player expected to set the external PlayStation Camera up perfectly to be able to see the lights on both the Move controllers and the headset itself. Even then, it’s rarely 100% perfect – in a lot of games if you look at your in-game hands, you’ll often see their stuttering slightly. I didn’t have any of that in Oculus Quest, which when combined with the 360-degree movement made for a much more intuitive and enjoyable experience.
That’s not to say that the tracking in PlayStation VR doesn’t work though, because I’ve played plenty of games where it’s been close to perfect. It just doesn’t offer the freedom and precision that you get with the Oculus Quest. It’s worth noting that the Oculus Quest features on-board cameras that allow you to see what’s going on around you whilst using the headset too, which I think is something that’s essential for all future virtual reality headsets.
Price: Oculus Quest
So when it comes to price there’s one main thing to consider: do you already own a PlayStation 4? Back in January this year Sony announced they had sold over ninety-million of the consoles, so there’s a good chance you do. If that is the case, it’s going to be cheaper to buy PlayStation VR – bundles that include the required PlayStation Camera and some games are available at around the £220-£230 mark (and are even cheaper during a sale), whilst the optional (but essential in my opinion) PlayStation Move controllers can be bought in a pack of two for around £80. It comes to around £300 to get a virtual reality setup in place, which isn’t all that bad – it’s even better if you manage to get them in a sale.
If you don’t own a PlayStation 4 already though, you can go all in on the Oculus Quest for just £400 for the 64gb model along with two Oculus Touch controllers. All you’ll need is a smart phone to set everything up on the app, which is something I’m sure most people own these days anyway. That’s cheaper than it would be to buy a PlayStation 4 and everything you need for PlayStation VR, making Oculus Quest the cheaper option.
As mentioned though, it comes down to what you already own. With just £100 difference if you do own a PlayStation 4 already though, I have to admit that I’d probably still be tempted to go for the Oculus Quest if cost wasn’t an issue…
Conclusion: Oculus Quest Wins
The Oculus Quest comes out on top against the PlayStation VR in almost all facets of its design, but it is not necessarily a runaway victory. Whilst there is no doubting that the Oculus Quest has better visuals, some players may find that the comfort of the PlayStation VR is more important. It’s all well and good having great controllers too, but with a somewhat limited library of games available right now you may find yourself waiting some time before you really get to use them.
Still, for both die-hard virtual reality fans and casuals to the hardware, there is simply no denying that the Oculus Quest is the better headset. Between the higher resolution, the great controllers, the perfect tracking and 360-degree movement, and the fact you don’t need wires or external cameras to get it running, it’s simply one of the most impressive pieces of kit available in the virtual reality market right now. Oculus really have something special on their hands here and I can’t wait to play more games on it in the future.
An Oculus Quest headset was provided to us on loan by Hill+Knowlton Strategies to create this article, but it in no way influenced our opinion.