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PC or console? Oculus Rift specs vs PS4 Project Morpheus specs

Can a console's virtual reality device measure up against a PC's?

On Tuesday announced Project Morpheus, its long rumoured VR headset for the PS4.

Obviously, all eyes were drawn to the Morpheus tech specs and how the headset would compare to the current virtual reality frontrunner, Oculus Rift.

Even the team at Oculus hope the PS4 virtual reality headset can measure up. Shortly before Morpheus was unveiled, the company's vice president of product Nate Mitchell told IGN: "We're really hopeful that they'll do it right. With anyone that's doing VR the main thing is just to do it right. What we don't want is for someone to rush an experience out the door and deliver something that's sub-par, that isn't that holy grail."

So, has Sony delivered? Here's the details on both devices in their most current form:

PS4 Project Morpheus Oculus Rift Crystal Cove
Display LCD OLED
Resolution per eye 960x1080p 960x1080p
Panel size 5 inch 5.6 inch
Internal motion sensors Accelerometer, 3-axis gyroscope 3-axis gyroscope, accelerometers, magnetometers
External motion sensors PlayStation 4 Camera External PC camera
Motion sensor speed 1000Hz 1000Hz
Field of View 90 degrees 90 degrees
Connection interface HDMI and USB USB, DVI and HDMI
Audio 3D audio, plus headphone jack support None
Controller compatibility PS Move, Dualshock 4 All PC controllers

(Obviously, it remains to be seen how significant these differences will be in practice. It's also worth bearing in mind that the current Oculus Rift unit is due to be replaced soon with an advanced 'Crystal Cove' edition, offering a higher resolution and a faster response rate.)

Resolution

The current developer version of the Oculus Rift offers a 1290x800 resolution, essentially giving each eye a 640x800 image. Morpheus, however, features a full 1080p (1980x1080) resolution, giving each eye a 960x1080 image. Morpheus clearly wins in that respect, then, but it's worth bearing in mind that the final consumer version of the Rift is also expected to be upgraded to 1980x1080, making this particular contest a dead heat, though Oculus says it could go further.

Field of view

The Morpheus has a horizontal field of view of 90 degrees, which is only slightly less than a human's field of view from their nose, if they don't move their eyes (which is roughly 95 degrees). The Rift's field of view is 110 degrees diagonal, which it is claimed is "more than 90 degrees horizontal". It seems that the difference here is negligible, with both devices almost covering the player's entire field of view. The Oculus may nudge it, though.

Tracking

The initial prototypes of the Oculus Rift had 125Hz tracking, which meant slightly sluggish response time (the higher the Hz, the quicker it responds to your movement and the more immersive it feels). This was upgraded to 250Hz, which greatly helped matters. It's said the latest kits feature 1000Hz though, which tracks head movement with near-perfect accuracy. According to Sony, Morpheus will also feature 1000Hz tracking. Should both companies deliver, this will be another draw.

Sensors

The Morpheus will track head movements using a built-in accelerometer and three-axis gyroscope. The Rift previously used a Hillcrest Labs tracker that used three-axis gyros to measure roll, pitch and yaw but the latest development kits feature an Adjacent Reality Tracker, which uses accelerometers, gyroscopes and magnometers, which should make it capable of absolute head orientation tracking. On paper then, the Rift may win out in terms of accuracy, but Sony also points out that the PS4 camera will help track Morpheus head movement too, much like it currently tracks the DualShock 4's light bar.

Audio

Here's the major difference at this early stage. The Oculus Rift has no audio capabilities, meaning players have to use headphones or a headset as well as the Rift to hear their in-game surroundings. The Morpheous, however, has built-in '3D audio', which Sony claims will offer "true spacial sound, synthesized by stimulating the human ear." Rift fans, however, will undoubtedly argue that by being able to choose their own headphones they'll be able to customise their sound to their liking.

Additional notes

At this stage there is little to separate both devices. The final consumer version of the Oculus Rift is still not ready, and the Morpheus may not even look like it does now by the time it's released, so there's still so much that can change for both companies.

One advantage the Rift does have is a big head-start: a large number of developers have already been tinkering with Oculus's headset for years now and have already produced some amazing new experiences. Valve is also stepping in as a major partner. Sony's big advantage is its ability to promote and market its device to a huge audience of console gamers, as well as support internal development of the device.

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