Content is king. That’s the truism we’ve come to learn from decades of hardware success stories and near-equal amounts of failures. Virtual reality (VR) may yet be waiting to find its ‘killer app’, but there’s still plenty to be excited about. A swathe of videogames, 360 degree videos, healthcare and education applications are already available for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but which is the head-mounted display (HMD) that will offer the most content that appeals to you?
Hacks and mods aside, the Oculus Rift has access to content via Oculus VR’s proprietary storefront, Oculus Home, as well as Steam. HTC Vive has Steam and the lesser-used Viveport, but of course not every title is available for both HMDs. There’s free content, demo content and paid content; Early Access and experimental content; ‘experiences’ and videogames. All of which combined makes a compelling argument for each format.
Free Games for Oculus Rift
VRFocus has previously offered up a guide to the best free Oculus Rift videogames; however this was published prior to the launch of Robo Recall. Epic Games’ robot-smashing first-person shooter (FPS) has taken the VR community by storm, and the recent 360 degree update just pushes the bar even higher. Future FPS titles in VR now have a standard to achieve, if not excel beyond, and the difficulty for developers is even greater when realising that Robo Recall is free for all owners of an Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch.
Free Games for HTC Vive
The HTC Vive also has a large variety of free content available, but ‘free’ doesn’t always mean ‘good’. This is an argument that can’t be levelled at The Lab however; Valve’s launch title for the HTC Vive which continues to provide a thrilling VR experience a year after release. Essentially a mini-game collection set in the Portal universe, The Lab can be taken as a whole piece or enjoyed as one-off challenges; ideal for showcasing the capabilities to newcomers. Each of the mini-games is instinctive: fire a bow-and-arrow; launch a catapult; throw a stick. It’s hardly high-octane action, but The Lab remains a highly impressive VR title.
360 Degree Video on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
Right now, there’s little to choose between the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in terms of video content. Both have a variety of applications – Within, Jaunt, Littlstar, etc. – offering both shared and exclusive content, and both have a selection of 360 video content offered as unique products such as Penrose Studios’ The Rose and I. The difference, of course, comes down to Oculus VR’s own internal production team at Oculus Story Studio. Lost and Henry made waves some time ago, but the recently released Dear Angelica that has truly impressed.
Industry Application for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive
Oculus VR has been courting enterprise, education, healthcare and more for some time. The HTC Vive however, while it has a significant amount of applications already available outside of entertainment – most noticeably in real estate thanks to its roomscale technology – has largely been left to the guile of the independent development community. More is to come, that’s for sure, but right now you’d be hard pressed to bet against the Oculus Rift for content outside of the entertainment sector.