Oculus Rift DK2 vs Project Morpheus: Head to head

I had an opportunity to try Playstation's new Project Morpheus VR headset back to back with the Oculus Rift DK2 this week at GDC 2014. Both were running the Eve: Valkyrie Demo so it was a great chance to see how they stacked up.

I've been developing for the Oculus DK1 for 6 months now and am comfortable doing zero-G barrel rolls in a virtual spaceship, so I got a good view of how the hardware stacks up without getting distracted by the experience. You've seen the tech specs so I'm going to focus on my own impressions.

Sony: Project Morpheus

After rushing the Expo floor doors for a pass, which subsequently had me line up again 7 hours later for a chance to try the Morpheus, we finally got in the drivers seat. The headset itself felt like a bit more of an awkward contraption compared to the Ski-Goggle like Oculus, with plastic loops and hidden straps holding it in place. Once on your head, it was quite comfortable, although had rubber interior eye cups rather then the Oculus's foam. The first thing I noticed was the field of view, which doesn't quite cover your whole field of vision horizontally. The screen resolution was as sharp as the DK2 Rift, but there was noticeably more of a delay (and subsequent pixel blurring) then on the DK2. Interestingly enough, it was running a variation of the Eve: Valkyries demo. Little things were different, such as the position of the pilots hands, suggesting a different version of the demo. Some things are hard to quantify but I felt like I had to focus a little bit harder to track moving targets and pick ships out of debris fields. This is likely due to the higher latency and noticeable pixel blurring. Overall it was still an exhilarating experience, especially because it featured more ships (seemed like 16) giving you a real taste of how amazing large scale multiplayer space combat will be.

Oculus Rift Developer Kit v2

As soon as we finished, we ran over the the Oculus booth to see how they stack up. The DK2 felt noticeably more solid. The headset itself is sleek, light and comfortable. with no moving parts to adjust (aside from the strap). I can't stress enough how much of a difference the positional head tracking & fast pixel switching contributes of the DK2 kit makes you feel grounded in the VR space. Tracking was rock solid and responsive, even to doing the developer VR dance of trying to shake the tracking. Latency was very low and the delay from your head moving to the screen responding is negligible. It was an incredibly solid experience and I felt like I could have sat there all day.

Breakdown

Comparatively, the DK2 felt much more solid. The headset itself felt more like a finished product compared to the Morpheus, which felt more like a prototype. To be fair, it is the first version of their headset. It feels comparable to a Rift DK1 Dev kit but with HD resolution. In short, the DK2 Rift won the day, beating out the Morpheus in nearly every category. The only thing I would say is the Morpheus resolution may be slightly sharper, probably due to its smaller field of view of the same size screen.

Final Thoughts

Really though, we (the developers and consumers) are the real winners. Both technologies are a huge step forward compared to anything thats existed before. With some healthy competition in the VR headset market, expect both technologies to continue to improve. Overall, its an exciting time in games, and the experience of piloting a space fighter in a large scale battle in immersive VR is an amazing experience that I can't wait to experience again.