I'm excited about VR headsets. I bought the original PSVR, and I bought the second generation with the better breakout box. I've got an Oculus Quest, and I'm excited about the Apple AR/VR headset too. But the big battle is going to be between Sony's PSVR 2 and the Meta (formerly Facebook) Oculus Quest 3, two flagship headsets with very different views of what VR could and should be. So which one is likely to be the best VR headset?
PSVR 2 vs Oculus Quest 3: rumored price and release date
All the signs indicate a late-2022 release for the PSVR 2, but with COVID once again wreaking havoc in tech factories it's very hard to be certain of that right now. Prices won't be revealed for some time yet, but the current PSVR cost £349 / $399 / AU$549.95 when it was launched back in 2016.
It's a similar story with the Quest 3, which is expected to be revealed at Meta's Connect event in 2023 but again, that may shift. The Quest 2 was £299 / $299 / AU$479.
PSVR 2 vs Oculus Quest 3: rumored design and specs
The PSVR 2 will be a lot less hassle than the current generation, with a single USB-C connection, but the Quest will be completely wireless – something that makes a big difference in smaller spaces like ours, where cables are a trip hazard in VR. The odd-looking PSVR 2 controllers are similar to those of the current Quest, and the display will deliver 4K via two 2,000 x 2,040 OLEDs at up to 120Hz.
The Quest 3 is also going for small OLEDs, and may be the first headset with the most recent uOLED display. Some rumours have suggested the headset will be capable of full body tracking; others say the controllers will have built-in infra-red cameras.
The biggest difference here is that the Quest does all its processing in the headset, whereas the PSVR can always take advantage of all the oomph inside the PS5. It's highly unlikely that the Quest will have anything close to the same gaming horsepower, although it should be connectable to a PC.
PSVR 2 vs Oculus Quest 3: what's the big idea?
If you'll pardon the pun, these headsets have different focuses. Sony wants you to buy the PSVR 2 so it can sell you a whole bunch of games, and the headset's priority is clearly gaming: Sony says it's encouraging triple-A franchise developers to create games for the headset, and the first confirmed launch title is a spin-off from the blockbuster Horizon: Forbidden West.
Meta, the company formerly known as Facebook, has grander plans. While the Meta Quest 3 should be primarily marketed as a gaming headset, Meta sees VR as your gateway to the "metaverse", a kind of on-your-face-book or Mark Zuckerberg Matrix where you won't just play games but work and socialise too, generating lots and lots of data for Facebook to monetise. That means the Quest 3 is potentially the more interesting device if you want to do more than gaming, but it also raises questions about data security and even safety. Meta's VR space, Horizon Worlds, had barely launched this year before Meta admitted that it was having to take action against VR sexual harassment.
PSVR 2 vs Oculus Quest 3: early verdict
For me, right now considering what we know, the PSVR 2 is the headset I'm most excited about. I love gaming in VR, but I'd love it a lot more if it wasn't very blocky and didn't require a big breakout box under my TV. I'm really hoping it'll deliver some truly next-gen VR gaming experiences: the combination of PS5 horsepower and 4K OLED displays is something I can't wait to play with.
The Oculus Quest 3, though, remains a possibility for me. I've got history with Oculus Quest headsets and, if the specs and ecosystem can deliver, I might be tempted. Right now though I just don't know enough about the Quest 3 to get excited.