News & Opinion

Playstation VR vs. Oculus Quest 2


We get it. You’ve been trapped in your house for months. You’ve tried to be good, wear your mask, stay away from gatherings, socially distance…blah blah blah. But enough already! You need to SEE people. To interact with something that isn’t yet another binge of a show you only barely like. You need something different! Something like the Oculus Quest 2 or the Playstation VR.

Virtual Reality might be just what you’re looking for. Yes, it is just more screens closer to your eyes, but it is such a different experience. You feel like you are there (at least that is what they tell you). It is 3D, it is immediate, and it feels more real.

While the promises of VR may be more smoke and mirrors than anything tangible, many people will be looking for something different this Christmas. With travel and social gatherings off the plate for many, VR is a Christmas gift that looks pretty enticing. So, which should you get?

Author’s Note: While the Playstation VR is getting long in the tooth (and the VR 2 has been rumored), it is the main competitor to Oculus. When the Playstation VR 2 is released, we’ll again compare.

Resolution – Winner: Oculus Quest 2

While the graphics on the Oculus Quest 2 are sometimes criticized for looking primitive, that isn’t because of the capabilities of the displays. The Oculus Quest 2 sports 1832×1920 pixels per eye while the Playstation VR has only 960×1080 pixels per eye. The Playstation uses the superior OLED display type while the Oculus has LCD displays. The Playstation has a 90hz refresh rate and the Oculus tops out at 70hz. In the end, the resolution is what tips it in favor of Oculus. The lower resolution of the Playstation VR means that some will experience screendoor effect while that is less likely with the Oculus Quest 2. Screendoor effect is when you can see the individual pixels.

Controllers and Tracking – Winner: Oculus Quest 2

The Playstation VR has the “ping-pong” controllers while the Oculus Quest 2 has the more traditional VR controllers (with the protective rings around the controls). While some have complained that the Oculus controls aren’t very ergonomic, nearly everyone agrees that the Playstation VR controllers are not as accurate as the Oculus. The Playstation VR requires not only the controllers but also a camera for accurate tracking. This means that if you move out of the view of the camera, you lose tracking completely (the camera tracks the balls on the controllers).

The Oculus Quest 2 controllers have universally been praised for accurate tracking. The Oculus Quest 2 even sports hand tracking without a controller, a feature that has mixed reviews. With the line of sight required by the Playstation VR, it’s controllers lose tracking far more often than the Oculus. The Oculus clearly fares better in the tracking and controller department.

Library – Winner: Playstation VR

By connecting to a Playstation, the VR headset has access to many more, and many more recognized, games than Oculus. The Oculus Quest 2 is restricted to games built specifically for the Oculus ecosystem. The Playstation has a library that is unlikely to be matched by Oculus at any time. With the gravitas of Sony, the Playstation VR gets access to games like Iron Man VR, something the Quest 2 can only dream.

Social – Winner: Playstation VR

Playing games isn’t always a solo experience. People like to play with their friends and family. The Playstation VR, by virtue of being connected to a Playstation console, has the ability to allow your friends/family see/hear what you are playing on your TV. Some games can add up to three players on controllers into your game playing on your TV.

The Oculus Quest 2 doesn’t have access to such social features. There are some games that allow someone on a phone to play with you while you are on the Quest 2, most “multiplayer” games require another Quest 2, account, and version of the game. There are developers experimenting with local multiplayer games, the Oculus Quest 2 has no way, out of the box, to track another Quest 2 in the same room.

Cost – Winner: Oculus Quest 2

Oculus Quest 2 and the Playstation VR headsets have comparable costs (depending on sales and other factors). Of course, in order to use the Playstation VR, you need a Playstation. It was launched with the PS4 in mind, but now that the PS5 has started shipping, Sony has made an adapter cable for the camera available for free. You just need to request one,

The Oculus Quest 2 is a standalone unit. This gives the clear advantage to the Oculus if all you want is VR. The fact is many people buy the Playstation console and then decide to add the VR adaptor later. They may not see the console as an additional cost (since they were going to buy one anyway). But if you are just interested in VR, the Oculus Quest 2 is the hands-down winner.

VR Experience – Winner: Tie

The question most people ask is which device offers the best experience. When looking at the Oculus Quest 2 and the Playstation VR, they are completely different animals. The Playstation VR is meant to be played while seated. There are wires that connect you to the console and a camera that needs to see the controllers in your hands. The Oculus Quest 2, on the other hand, is a standalone system with no wires to tether you to a spot. This gives you complete freedom of movement.

While many will claim that the Playstation VR has a better VR experience because of the power of the Playstation console, the Oculus can be plugged into a computer to access its power as well. You’ll need a fairly hefty computer, but it will work. In this case, if you are already dedicated to owning a Playstation, it makes sense that you’d prefer the Playstation VR. Most objective reviewers say that Oculus VR experience is overall better. In the end, both are pretty cool.

Conclusion

We’re not here to tell you whether the Oculus Quest 2 or Playstation VR is the best for you. That’s a decision only you can make. You’ll hear some people arguing for one VR solution over the other for a variety of reasons. One of the common ones is that the Playstation VR is for “hardcore gamers” and the Oculus Quest 2 is for “casuals.” They are usually referring to access to games that they like. The fact is that the two VR solutions can be for either type of player. What it really comes down to is that they want you to buy what they bought. They see others buying anything else as a personal attack.

Ignore these people.

Look at both, look at how they are used, look at how much they cost, and make the decision for yourself. Heck, if you already have a Playstation, buy them both! Try them out and decide which one you like the best. Tell us what decision you made and why in the comments!

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