In 2016, VR finally lived up to its promise with the release of the Oculus Rift. While the Rift (and the computer you needed to power it) were still stupendously expensive, both the technology and pricing fell within reach of enthusiasts.
Roll on to 2021 and now most mid-range computers can handle VR without issue. VR headsets themselves are now many times cheaper than before as well. For a long time, the Sony PlayStation VR was the most affordable way to experience premium VR games, but things have changed. The mainstream darling is the Oculus Quest 2, but which one is better for you to buy?
Cost of Ownership
One of the main reasons people are comparing the Oculus Quest vs PSVR is because of their similar cost. Both the Oculus Quest 2 and PSVR should set you back around $299. There is another model of Quest 2 headset that costs more than this, but the only difference is a larger internal storage capacity,
The problem is that the headset price by itself doesn’t tell the whole story. The most important fact to consider here is that the Quest 2 is a completely standalone system. Once you spend your $299, you have everything you need to start playing, apart from the cost of software titles of course.
The PSVR requires a PS4 or PS5 console to work. If you already own a compatible console, then you’ve already spent the money and it doesn’t have to be added to the total cost of ownership. If you don’t own a PS4, PS4 Pro or PS5 you need to consider that cost in addition to PSVR. That makes the PSVR far more expensive than a Quest 2.
One of the strongest points in favor of the PSVR is its library of exclusive games. If you want to experience Resident Evil 7, Wipeout, Gran Turismo Sport, Ace Combat 7 or Iron Man in VR there’s only one headset in town – PSVR.
That being said, the Oculus Quest is well-known for having a carefully-curated library of quality exclusive games and experiences. It comes down to personal preferences and which titles appeal to you most. It’s also worth noting that the Quest headsets have access to the full PC VR catalogue as well, assuming you have the computer to drive them. We’ll discuss how that works below.
The Oculus Quest is one of the most versatile VR headsets you can buy. Out of the box, it’s a complete standalone system you can use anywhere. It can play curated Quest titles, selected Oculus Go and Gear VR titles, and a wealth of non-Oculus approved apps and games through SideQuest.
If you own a powerful gaming PC, you can connect the Quest to your computer using a USB cable and use it to play Oculus Rift and SteamVR titles such as Half Life Alyx using a feature known as Oculus Link. This means you can invest in a Quest 2 today and should you get a gaming PC down the line, your VR horizons will expand.
The PSVR, on the other hand, is limited to PS4 PSVR titles. While hacks to use it with a PC are available, it loses its full depth-tracking capabilities. In other words, the headset can track the rotation of your head, but it can’t tell where your head is positioned in 3D space. This drastically limits what the headset can do.
There’s really no gentle way to put this, but the PSVR system uses very obsolete technology. Sony made some very smart choices by repurposing existing PlayStation hardware for PSVR, which helps keep the costs down. However, that means it really offers a very old-school experience compared to the Oculus Quest.
The PSVR makes use of the PlayStation Move controllers for motion control. These devices were originally designed for the PlayStation 3, with relatively basic motion sensors and camera tracking using the PS4 camera.
That same camera is also responsible for external tracking of the headset itself. The modern standard for headsets such as the Quest is so-called “inside-out” tracking. Here, cameras onboard the headset calculate your head’s position based on how the room appears to move relative to your headset. This is much more elegant and allows for room-scale experiences without any accessories.
The display resolution, audio and haptic controllers for the Quest are several generations more advanced than the PSVR, making it hard to recommend that anyone opt for the older system at current prices.
The PSVR pioneered the halo-strap headband design which has since been copied by various other VR headset brands. Sadly, the Oculus Quest 2 is not one of them. While the Quest 2 does offer a better level of comfort than the Quest 1, neither headset is as comfortable to wear as the PSVR.
The PSVR also makes it easy to flip up the headset to quickly dip into the real world, look around and chat to other people. The Quest has a nifty pass-through mode that quickly lets you see through the onboard cameras, but it’s not quite as convenient.
Most VR play sessions are relatively short. The Quest 2 only offers about 2.5 hours of play at a time, but if you want to have long sessions of VR play the PSVR is the better choice. This is perfect if you want to lose track of time doing laps in Gran Turismo Sport VR.
Privacy and Platform Considerations
While the Quest 2 seems the better choice compared to the PSVR in virtually every category, there is one area of significant concern. FaceBook, which owns Oculus, has decided that a FaceBook account is mandatory for all Quest 2 owners. Without it you can’t use the device. You may not mind this requirement if you’re already a FaceBook user, but for many potential buyers that’s a serious issue.
With PSVR, on the other hand, you are not required to be a PlayStation Network subscriber. You’re not even required to have an internet connection. Strictly-speaking, you can simply hook up the PSVR, pop in a game disc and play your games in complete privacy.
Oculus Quest Vs PSVR: The Final Verdict
It should come as no surprise that we think the Oculus Quest 2 is the better choice compared to the PSVR. However, that’s not really the PSVR’s fault. After all, it was an amazing product at the time of its launch and the most affordable premium VR solution for years.
While the PSVR actually works with the PS5 using a free camera adapter, Sony is undoubtedly working on a modernized successor. While we don’t know much about the PSVR2, we have no doubt that it will feature modern VR technology and give the Oculus Quest a run for its money.
If you want to get into VR right now, we recommend the Oculus Quest 2. If you have your heart set on console-based VR, we recommend waiting for the PSVR2 (slated for 2022 at the earliest) unless you really want to play a specific PSVR-exclusive title.