Presently, we have two of the best virtual reality headsets in existence, Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive that was created in partnership with PC gaming giant Valve. The Oculus Rift has been more popular while the Vive delivers a more immersive virtual reality experience so far. However, gamers will have to make a take a big decision next year while choosing between these two VR headsets.
According to HTC and Valve, the Steam-VR powered handset will be released in the first quarter of 2016 and will be ready to reach consumers. That is also the same time that Oculus has targeted for the release of their Rift VR headset. There will also be a string of development kits along with new additions.
When it was originally released, it was reported that the handset would be purchasable by the end of the year. At the moment, HTC will have limited quantity of developer systems and community with consumer headsets that will be released before the end of this year. However, there will not be wider shipments for the average buyers until 2016 comes around.
As a result, if you are planning to get or give the new headset as a Christmas present, it’s time to be disappointed. The Vive, announced by Valve and HTC release is being pushed back to 2016. There will be a limited quantity of devices available but the rush for wider consumption of these devices is being pushed back to the first quarter of 2016.
As a result, this creates a huge three-way battle among the three large players in Virtual Reality at the moment. These are Sony, Oculus and HTC/Valve. There is one more option and that is the Samsung Gear VR, which is a collaboration of Samsung with Oculus. According to reports, this will be great in conjunction with high-end cellphones from the Korean tech giant.
The market analysts were expecting such a delay but HTC and Valve has decided not to discuss about this matter. However, this move results in a veritable slugfest among these top-end manufacturers. The Rift will come at the same time as the Vive. At the same time, Sony PlayStation 4’s VR headset known as Project Morpheus is scheduled to start shipping in the first half of the year. It is being predicted that by the end of 2016, there should be 12.2 million Virtual Reality headsets in homes around the world.
Piper Jaffray analyst Travis Jakel reported that Rift sales are expected to come at 3.6 million while Gear VR has the potential to reach 5 million. Sony Morpheus has been predicted to sell 1.4 million units while has been predicted to sell 2.1 million units. Each of these systems has their own advantages and this should make the battle quite interesting. Oculus also comes with Facebook behind it and as a result, they could be subsidized for mass production.
At the same time, HTC Vive is closely associated with the greatest PC Gaming Platform Valve. At the same time, the Morpheus headset from Sony has been designed for consumption by console gamers and this further ensures that players receive a consistent experience without having to rely on the graphics and processing power of their PCs. At the same time, neither of these systems has been priced but it is expected that these devices should be priced around $400-$500 range.
In the meantime, Time Machine was launched for an early access through Steam recently. This is also the first virtual reality title that has been released through Early Access and furthermore, this is also being marketed towards gamers around the world with Oculus Rift Development Kit 2.