Ahead of pre-orders going live in almost exactly a week, HTC and Valve have unveiled how much their VR headset, the Vive, is going to cost, what will come with it and when. $799 places it $200 higher than the Oculus Rift, but it does come with the two specific controllers as well as room-wide support, making it roughly equal to the Oculus plus Touch. It’s expensive, but I think we’re long past the point where anyone is surprised that VR is another few years away from mass appeal, if it ever reaches that point.
Our own Phil gathers all the best VR news as often as he can.
In case you were thinking “what this post is missing is some ridiculous shots of a Vive that make it look like it wants to have sex with you” then oh boy, do I have the YouTube video for you:
It’ll be shipping with SteamVR, natch, as well as various bits of phone integration for any other HTC device you happen to have lying around. I’m fairly interested to see how well VR works in combination with more traditional UI elements like phone alerts. Part of my problem with the technology is how out of the world you are – preferably you’re playing with headphones, totally blind to reality – so getting that stuff working without it being intrusive at best, terrifying at worst is vital.
The Vive also comes with a couple of integrated games, Job Simulator and Fantastic contraption, though the blog post is keen to point out that applications of the technology are more wide-reaching than just our entertainment industry. That, I think, is something becoming abundently clear – not only is a Vive/Oculus (and the PC to use it) priced rather far out of most gamers’ range, but it’s far more appropriate for other tasks. Car dealerships letting you preview paint colours, first-person movies or the experience of watching in a cinema without leaving your comfy home chair; that’s the sort of thing that works with a whole lot less effort.
Still, we’ll see come April just how many have sold and what that audience wants them used for. It’s very possible there’s just enough well-paid adults interested in games that it’s a viable market. Plus, prices are bound to drop in what has quickly become the latest competitive tech environment between HTC/Valve, Sony and Facebook.