The PC vs. Console war has been ongoing forever. You can find people defending either platform–even if they seem unbiased, everyone seems to have some opinion on which is better. With the release of both console and PC VR, it seems like things aren’t going to end.
Some argue that PC is more powerful and thus the immersion and graphical fidelity creates the best gaming experience, while others argue that console gaming provides a more relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. In some cases, console just simply has more players than PC does–in some categories, whereas the PC market dominates console playerbases with games like WoW and League of legends that have millions of players.
Then there are things like the Steam Link that attempt to merge the divide or even new devices like the GPD Win which provide portable (although very expensive) PC gaming solutions.
My point is that the PC vs. console war is very similar to the current VR war going on right now. We have HTC Vive enthusiasts, Oculus Rift defenders, and PlayStation VR consumers and each experience feels different in the same way that PC and Console do.
For now, we can lump the Oculus with the Vive for now, even if they are drastically different VR headsets, but let’s take a look at how the PC VR systems compare to the PlayStation VR, and how this war might evolve from VR’s impact. Will VR continue on the console war–and most importantly, who can win?
PC Virtual Reality
People love PCs because they have power and control. You can use multiple gaming platforms, turn up the full graphics power, customize and reuse components, buy cheaper games, pirate games, and use them for non-gaming purposes. The only thing is that to have a seriously good PC; you will need to spend some money–around twice the amount of a console.
The HTC Vive and Oculus share a lot of these similarities, they represent PC–mainly in the gaming market, but we’ve even seen some additional applications like the ability to paint in a game like Tilt Brush from Google. I know that we can see growth in this category as well, as creators start to take advantage of the VR headsets unique capabilities in modeling programs, or other 3D forms of creation that VR can assist with. Personally, I think that the HTC Vive is the best VR headset (here’s why).
To sum it up, PC VR in a lot of ways has much more growth potential than console VR–but that doesn’t mean it’ll win the war.
Console Virtual Reality
PlayStation VR is a different story–one that mirrors the console itself. Whereas the Vive looks more like a PC price at $799, the PS VR retails for only $399. Already, both PC and Console VR is separating an audience based on their budget. However, like PC and console, both devices are aimed at different markets.
Whereas the HTC Vive has full room sensing and extremely accurate tracking as well as specific VR controllers, the PlayStation VR is content to use the original PS4 Move controllers and the PlayStation camera to cement the VR experience with the PS VR headset. However, this means again, that the cost of entry is much lower.
Also, you can now get a PlayStation Slim for $299, whereas a VR compatible PC could cost upwards of $1000. If you think about the consumer market, this puts PC VR at a HUGE disadvantage–and it might be the most important reason why we are starting to see PS VR take leaps and bounds that PC VR hasn’t yet.
Some other reasons why the PS VR might be more successful are less obvious. The PS VR is super sexy–with bright LED lighting that the other headsets lack. It looks more futuristic and modern, and less like a black box. The PS VR also has some cool exclusives that catch people’s attention, like Batman VR, whereas the PC VR market doesn’t have a similar title.
Already, we can start seeing some issues arise. The PC versions of VR seem better from a technical point, as in the case of PC itself, but PS VR has some definite advantages shared with the console side of the war. PS VR is very easy to set up in the living room, share with friends, and just “hook up.” A lot of people don’t understand why people play consoles, but the same reasons apply.
PlayStation VR Wins?
These combined reasons are why the PS VR might be making a HUGE impact on the PC vs. Console war itself. According to some reports, the PlayStation VR is in a position to surpass the combined sales of the Vive and Oculus Rift based on analysis of a survey from GfK’s October consumer panel survey.
“Early UK sales of PlayStation VR indicate it is already approaching the combined installed base of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Initial PlayStation VR game sales are also positive with eight or nine boxed releases featuring in the Official UK Top 40 games chart (week ending Saturday 15th October 2016).”
Some theorized that PC and gaming consoles might eventually come to some blur. One day consoles match PC power, and vice versa (electronics get so cheap that power and space are not a limitation)–and that still might be the case, but for now, it looks the companies behind VR wants these markets–PC and Console, to continue to be separated.
But for now, due to the lower price point, friendly appearance, exclusive titles, the PS VR might have given “console” an edge in the PC vs. Console War.