Why PlayStation VR is the Best Bet for Most Gamers in 2016


We’ve been hearing about the upcoming virtual reality revolution for years. But now that we have details about all three of the major VR headsets launching in 2016 — the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR — we finally have enough information to do an apples-to-apples comparison. And once you do, it becomes clear that PlayStation VR is the best choice for most gamers, at least for now.

Price

The biggest factor by far is the price. These VR headsets represent new technology that costs a ton of money to develop and produce. Here’s the pricing breakdown for the headsets.

  • Oculus Rift: $600
  • HTC Vive: $800
  • PlayStation VR: $400

Based strictly on the price of the hardware, PlayStation VR is the most appealing headset compared to the others. When you add in a few other factors, the gap widens even further. Buying a gaming PC powerful enough to run a Vive or Rift costs about $900. All you need to use PlayStation VR is a PlayStation 4, which costs only $350, and a PlayStation Camera that costs $60. For those counting at home, here’s the total cost for all three VR devices and the hardware needed to run them.

  • Oculus Rift: $1,500
  • HTC Vive: $1,700
  • PlayStation VR: $810

If you can stomach spending hundreds of dollars to play VR games, the PlayStation VR is by far the most affordable way to do so. And since the PS4 has been flying off the shelf since it came out, 36 million gamers already have the console, meaning VR would “only” cost them an additional $460.

Some PC gamers have computers capable of powering the Rift and Vive, but most will either have to upgrade their machines or buy new ones.

The downside

The drawback for PlayStation VR is that it’s not as powerful as the competition, which means the virtual reality experience won’t be as good as what you’ll get from the other headsets. The Vive in particular looks fantastic, thanks to the room-scale tracking sensors that come with it. It seems that VR is an area where you get what you pay for. But if the experience of playing PlayStation VR is good enough to impress players, and it saves you hundreds of dollars, I’d imagine most people will take it.

Games

The big question is what the VR experience will be like on PlayStation VR. You can watch the sizzle reel above to get you an idea of what’s in the pipeline. Sony says about 50 games will be out by the end of the year, and that 230 developers are making content for the device, including Electronic Arts bringing Star Wars: Battlefront exclusively to the platform.

Lots of competition

All this said, there’s going to be lots of competition for your gaming bucks this year, with a slate of big games launching throughout the year and, if the rumors are true, a new console from Nintendo. Also, the Rift and Vive will launch months ahead of PlayStation VR, giving them a slight advantage. Most gamers will have to pick and choose what hardware and software they buy this year, and it’s still uncertain whether VR will even catch on with the gaming masses. It could end up being a fad, like 3D televisions.

But if any VR headset is set up to succeed in 2016, it’s PlayStation VR.

Follow Chris on Twitter @_chrislreed
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