The three major virtual reality devices currently on the market — Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR — are all in a constant struggle to innovate their hardware in order to remain competitive with each other. Each of them is built and designed toward distinct understandings of how virtual reality is and how it can be most profitably implemented. That being said, they are all still dealing with similar structural limitations based on the cutting-edge nature of the technologies.

To keep users and potential consumers up to date with the latest developments from the three VR giants, we’ll break down how they innovating to compete with their rivals developments.

TPCast

The long wires and cables connecting the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift to the computers they rely on have stood out as a weakness in the devices. As technology has increasingly moved away from clunky hardware toward streamlined and unobstructive experiences, the hardware intensive nature of these VR technologies seems like an unwelcome step backward.

The TPCast is the first major innovation in the sphere to address this problem. It functions as both a wireless receiver and a battery pack. It operates by relaying information from the computer to the device, without compromising the integrity of the visual experience. This means it promises no lags or hitches in the streaming. And most importantly, there are no wires snaking around the living room to give the user a nagging reminder of the real-world, which thereby shatters the immersion. The battery pack aspect will be offered in two sizes: 90-120 minutes and 5 hours.

The TPCast is set for release in the second quarter of 2017 for $250 and is exclusively for the HTC Vive.

PlayStation VR Aim

Whereas HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are looking at VR as a multifunctional platform for entertainment, art, and enterprises; PlayStation VR is squarely intended for entertainment, and, specifically, gaming. To make the gameplay even better, they’ve announced the VR Aim. It is set to be released on May 16th for $79.

It is a motion controller that is shaped like the skeletal frame of a gun. The back hand operates the trigger while the front hand has access to several buttons and joy-stick. In-game it will be cast as whatever weapon applies to the given scenario. For users, this should provide a massive boost to immersion as they will be holding what feels like a gun and will see it move before them as its moves in real-life. It promises to introduce a whole new degree of simple and intuitive depth to virtual reality game development.

Oculus Rift Touch

The Oculus Rift initially shipped with an Xbox One controller. The controller was familiar with most users and allowed a gentle introduction into the new, unfamiliar world of 360° virtual reality. HTC Vive threw this for loop, however, when they announced and released their VR device would ship with motion controllers. Instantly, Oculus Rift’s Xbox controllers seemed like inadequate and antiquated approach to a new, robust technology.

Oculus has responded with the Touch. If they were initially late to the party, they made sure to make up for it by truly bringing the party. Whereas the HTC Vive controllers can at times feel clunky, the Touch is impressively intuitive. One of its standout features is its ability to accurately gauge how your finger is gesturing by the presence or lack thereof of certain fingers on the controller. This means that if you’re holding the controller as you would for a gun, the in-game visualization matches. If, one the other hand (so to speak),  you want to gesture a thumbs-up, the lack of pressure on certain parts of the controller is noted and reflected in-game.

Unfortunately, the quality of the Touch is offset by the fact it must be bought separately from the Rift itself at a cost of $99. The HTC Vive motion controllers, on the other hand, are included as part of the bundle.

Deluxe Audio Strap

In the same way that Oculus played catch up to Vive with the motion controllers, Vive is now attempting to catch up with Oculus in regards to the audio experience. The Oculus Rift launched with the audio component included in the hardware. For users, this was not only convenient but comfortable as the design had included it to be part of the structure from the get-go.

HTC Vive, however, was launched without it. Consumers had to plug their own headphones into the device. This resulted in several complications. Many users don’t own high-end headphones and as such, the audio aspect — which is integral for convincing immersion — suffered. If users did have high-end headphones that happened to be on the larger side, then it was very uncomfortable to wear both them and the HTC Vive.


To solve this issue, HTC Vive has announced their Deluxe Audio Strap. Set for release in June 2017, it will go for $99. They will be able to integrate with the actual device, allowing for a comfortable design and fit. HTC Vive has confirmed that both the Deluxe Audio Strap and TPCast will be able to use in conjunction.

https://i0.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Oculus-1.jpg?fit=1024%2C576&ssl=1https://i0.wp.com/geekcrunch.reviews/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/Oculus-1.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1Neil LewisTechDeluxe Audio Strap,HTC Vive,Oculus Rift,PlayStation VR,TPCast,VR Devices,Xbox controllersThe three major virtual reality devices currently on the market — Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR — are all in a constant struggle to innovate their hardware in order to remain competitive with each other. Each of them is built and designed toward distinct understandings of how...From A Geek to a Geek