Oculus, Morpheus, and HoloLens Battle It Out For Best Virtual Reality Gear In E3 2015

Virtual Reality has taken centerstage in E3 2015, as predicted, and a bit of a rivalry is brewing between the biggest and most advanced virtual reality systems present in the conference. Three of the biggest showstoppers at E3 – Sony, Microsoft, and Facebook – brought three of the most advance virtual reality devices to the E3 stage, making E3 the phenomenal turn for the future of virtual reality gaming.

Virtual reality devices Morpheus, HoloLens, and Oculus Rift were the three most advance and cutting-edge in terms of virtual reality gaming and they brought different specialties to the table at the E3 this week.

Little has been released by Sony about Project Morpheus in the past, but it seems the wait has been worth it. At the Sony press event in E3 this week, Sony revealed a brand new model of their virtual reality headgear, Morpheus. A little over two minutes were allotted in Sony’s E3 presentation about Morpheus, but more and more news about the VR gear is coming out as E3 progresses.

One of the biggest reveals of the Morpheus is its multiplayer ability, enabling multiple people wearing Morpheus virtual reality gear to play together. Unlike other virtual reality devices, Morpheus has cut itself above the rest by launching its multiplayer compatibility with Guerilla Studios’ title RIGS.

RIGS is a multiplayer first-person shooter game that allows up to 3-vs-3 gameplay, and it was especially made for Sony’s Morpheus. Sony says that with Morpheus, Esports on virtual reality is finally happening.

The Morpheus is compatible with Sony’s motion-sensing Move controller, and it is reported that around 20 titles are already compatible with the Morpheus virtual reality gear. Apart from RIGS, some of the titles spotted at the E3 made especially for the Morpheus are Battlezone, Headmaster, Wayward Sky, and World War Toons.

Sony’s VR gear Morpheus could already be tried first-hand by those attending the E3 at Los Angeles. Commercial release of the Morpheus, however, is still pegged at the first half of 2016.

In response to Sony’s Morpheus gear, Microsoft has also announced its own virtual reality headset, HoloLens. During Microsof’s E3 presentation, a demo of HoloLens was shown running Minecraft. The demo was well received by the audience since it was a ground-breaking development for both the virtual reality platform and the Minecraft franchise.

Unlike Morpheus, which uses Sony’s Move controllers, HoloLens is reactive to voice and hand gestures. As shown in the Minecraft demo during Microsoft’s press brief at E3, HoloLens reacts to voice commands and small hand gestures such as pinching and zooming, much like using a touch screen device on air.

Microsoft also sets its HoloLens apart from other virtual reality gear as it claims that the HoloLens will deliver augmented reality. This was shown at the E3 demo when the Minecraft world was transferred from the screen to the table—literally.

In addition to the demo of Minecraft‘s compatibility with the HoloLens, Microsoft also tried to bring the Halo 5 experience to the HoloLens. However, critics would argue that this effort, like HoloLens in general, still needs much work. This reflects the reason behind the lack of target release date for HoloLens, since it is still very much in the development and research stage. Microsoft says that HoloLens will be compatible with the upcoming Windows 10 as well.

While Microsoft and Sony were able to showcase their virtual reality gear during their press briefs at the E3, Facebook’s Oculus Rift headgear had already had showcases prior to E3. However, people were able to really get up close and personal with the Oculus Rift hardware, and it was noted in reports that the Oculus Rift version brought to E3 was a much more advanced and developed compared version from the older models.

Since Oculus Rift has already undergone years of trials and beta testing, it is not surprising that it is, by far, the most advanced and developed of the virtual reality gear on display this year. Unlike the VR gear from Sony and Microsoft, Facebook’s Oculus has a specialized controller that was designed especially to work with the headgear.

Those who have tried the Oculus headgear report that the Touch controller functions like a virtual hand, almost like an extension of our own hands. This pushes the virtual reality experience as it has specialized functions and commands that are not alien to normal hand functions.

Touch controller for Oculus Rift
Touch controller for Oculus Rift

The Oculus gear was also commended highly, since it was very lightweight and fit the head perfectly, unlike its previous versions. It also has adequate room for those who need to use glasses while wearing the virtual reality headgear.

If Microsoft’s HoloLens has Minecraft, Oculus has Adr1ft. A virtual reality simulation game designed especially for the Oculus, Adr1ft lets the player plunge into space and try to survive. Other titles that are known to work perfectly with Oculus are survival-horror platform game Edge of Nowhere and VR Sports Challenge.

It has also been announced that Microsoft has partnered with Oculus, so it’s worth noting that Oculus announced that it is not supporting — and will not support in the future — Apple’s Mac platform. Oculus revealed that it is concentrating its efforts in working with Windows, a move clearly that supports the partnership between the two firms.

Oculus is also set to release for the public in early 2016.

Which virtual reality headgear released this E3 are you favoring? Let us know below.

[Images courtesy of IGN]