The Top 3 Virtual Reality Headsets Meg July 8, 2015 Lifestyle, Retail It’s only been three years since Oculus first announced the Rift. Since then, virtual reality has been transformed from a gimmick into one of the most exciting new technologies. Today, the market is becoming increasingly crowded, despite the major players not releasing their headsets until late 2015 at the earliest. Are you struggling to keep up with the latest developments in VR? Here’s a brief overview of the top three headsets to look out for. Oculus Rift The Oculus Rift started the VR hype back in 2012, yet three years later, we’re still waiting for a consumer release. Though Facebook bought it, Oculus hasn’t been idle during that time. The headset is almost unrecognizable from the original, with improved resolution, latency and sound. Oculus has also (finally) announced a release window of Q1 2016. A year ago, the Rift was the clear front runner in the VR race. A procession of major companies have since entered the market though, and many are wondering how the Rift can compete. The latest version, named Crescent Bay, is an excellent headset with a high resolution and accurate head tracking. But the lack of a great input device, no existing gaming ecosystem and slow development could hurt Oculus in the long run. In the company’s latest announcement, CEO Brendan Iribe told reporters that the consumer headset, plus a new computer that meets the minimum requirements, won’t cost more than $1,500. While this doesn’t sound unreasonable for both the Rift and a high-end PC, it’ll be interesting to see whether the Oculus can gain traction at this price. Sony’s Project Morpheus The Project Morpheus was first announced in 2014, but, like the Rift, has been upgraded extensively since then. It runs at 120 frames per second for buttery-smooth visuals, and is a lot more comfortable to wear than the Rift. The fact that Sony already has an excellent input device — the Move controller — is a major advantage over Oculus. Unlike the Vive and Rift, Project Morpheus doesn’t run on PCs. It’s only available for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the headset, including that it’s a comfortable device with a large 5.7 OLED screen — a shame that only Playstation users will be able to play with it. The upside is that Sony can launch the device into an existing ecosystem with plenty of great games. This reduces the risk of buying one, and could make Project Morpheus a big hit when it’s released in early 2016. HTC Vive If I had to bet on what would be the most commercially successful VR headset, I would put my money on the Vive. The Vive is a collaboration between HTC and gaming giant Valve. It’s fair to say that the device caused quite a stir when it was announced in March 2015 — and for good reason. According to many industry experts, the Vive provides the greatest immersion of all current headsets. It also allows for movement in a full 360-degree plane. This is due to 37 sensors reporting every move to two infrared cameras. In my opinion, HTC and Valve are best positioned to dominate the market. The device is technically superior — although that can change quickly — and it’ll be integrated with the established Steam platform. The big question is how much the Vive will cost when it’s released later this year. It’s unlikely to be cheap. But for those who want the ultimate VR experience it’s almost certainly going to be an essential purchase.