Virtual Christmas is cancelled – HTC delay the Vive until April

HTC Vive SteamVR sign up

And you thought this would be the year when you’d finally be able to literally cover all your sensory organs with technology to block out the bleating of your loved ones, put yourself in an entirely different space, and just relax. Well, look – I don’t quite know how to break this to you, but Vive isn’t coming home for Christmas.

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In our heart of hearts, I think we all already knew the Vive wouldn’t be available commercially in the next three weeks, but a recent blog post from HTC confirms that release day will now come in April 2016:

“Since announcing the HTC Vive in March of this year we have focused on developing immersive content, refining both hardware design and user experience, and building relationships with new partners both inside and outside of the gaming industry.

“In collaboration with Valve, we have been distributing the HTC Vive Developer Kits to developers and content creators, and are continuing to work with many other innovative companies to create content that spans gaming, entertainment, medical, education and retail.

“This includes hosting a developer conference in Beijing on December 18th, launching the second generation of the HTC Vive Developer Kit at CES and engaging audiences at key events including The Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, GDC and MWC while expanding our demo tours.

We will be starting the new year by making an additional 7,000 units available to developers, followed by commercial availability in April 2016. We are incredibly excited about the future and look forward to sharing more information as we move forward towards launch.”

What can we expect from Vive and SteamVR when it does arrive? Well, ever the early adopter of VR, Elite: Dangerous offers full support. I had a whirl very recently and was really impressed. Not least because I didn’t feel the least bit nauseous, and I was doing a lot of barrel rolling.

The non-gaming potential of Vive is also exciting. Virtual tourism may soon become a thing, following the trend of the Everest VR demo, likewise vitual tours of cars and homes before you buy them.

If you’re looking for a silver lining around the delay announcement, consider the 7,000 units they’re sending to developers in the new year. VR is basically the wild west at this point, and what the emerging platform needs more than anything is good ideas. That seems like a good way to go about it.

Plus with Valve involved, I’m sure someone will see this as confirmation of Half-Life 3’s existence.