Virtual Reality Games-Oculus Marketplace or Steam Store?

Published by Lynn Bagwan on

This question of which virtual reality game distribution platform is best is analogous to the gaming console world's Xbox or Playstation question: which has better games?  This can feel like a huge decision because of the current money and future money you would invest in both hardware and software.  We struggled with the same decisions: Oculus or HTC for headsets? Oculus Marketplace or Steam Store for games?

Like many things, the answer is: "it depends."  On what? Headset quality, game quality, game quantity, and of course budget.

Headset Quality

Why does the quality of the headset matter?  The answer is the same for your television.  You can watch your favorite movie on a device and television that is only capable of 720p resolution.  Or, you can watch it on a device and television capable of generating 4K resolution.

So, if you're comparing the Oculus Rift S and the HTC Vive Pro like we did, the better quality headset is clearly the HTC Vive Pro.  The comfort level when wearing the different headsets is noticeable immediately, right from when you put it on.  With the Rift S, you do get the hardhat like dial at the back to extend the "halo" over your head.  By itself, you won't notice anything flawed.  When doing it side by side with the HTC Vive Pro, it's clear.

With the Vive Pro, the entire headset feels and looks more sturdy.  It's also better designed.  You can place the display over your eyes and lower the rest of the headset behind your head because the headset pivots at your temples.  There's also a lot more cushioning in the Vive Pro, both in the display over your eyes and the rear that goes behind your head.

Beyond the look and feel, the audio earpieces are visibly better with the Vive Pro and so is the quality of the sound.

Then there's the video quality.  I won't geek out with you on this article with details of refresh rates, resolution figures, etc.  Here's a Tech Radar article on all that.  Bottom line, Vive Pro is well above the Rift S.

Well, if this article is about games, why bother reading any further if the headset quality drives a lot of the decision?  Because not everyone can afford the Vive Pro.  Oh yeah, that whole budget thing.

Budget

It's great to know that in this case "you get what you pay for" does hold true.  The Vive Pro kit is $1,100.  The Rift S is $400.  That is a significant price difference.  For many, this will drive the decision for sure.

Game Quality and Quantity

So, if budget is not a constraint, do you lose or gain with one game store versus the other?  Yes and no.  There are some titles that are only available in one platform and not the other.  So, if you have specific titles you are interested in playing, search for these in both stores to see if there is an exclusivity dimension that you have to consider.  For many, it's like a buffet and there are so many games in both stores, you will have more than enough to keep your VR appetite satiated.

In general, game developers want maximum distribution for their titles so they can make the most money.  They are incentivized to make their games available on these two game store platforms.

How many times were we disappointed that a particular title we wanted was not available on the Steam Store and only available on the Oculus Marketplace?  Not once in over a year.

Now, as I write this article, Facebook just purchased Beat Games earlier this week.  This is the game studio that produced Beat Saber.  Supposedly Facebook has plans at upwards of $1B to acquire popular titles and make them exclusively available on Oculus Marketplace.  Should this trend continue over the next 1-2 years, the equation for which game store is better could tilt.

For some more popular games to consider, visit our games and experiences page for a small selection.  We have over 100+ games in our store so definitely come do your research with us before you buy.


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