HTC update their Vive headset – it’s now called the Vive Pre and has a camera on the front

HTC Vive Pre

If you’re up on your recent VR history, you’ll remember as far back as December when HTC announced that they were to delay the Vive’s release date due to “a very, very big technological breakthrough.” Today we’re finally able to stop flicking through the mental rolodex of Back to the Future consumer items that have yet to come to pass – they were talking about a camera mounted to the front of the headset.

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That camera finds its way onto a revised version of the Vive which HTC are showing off out at CES 2016 in Vegas. It’ll allow you to look around at your actual surroundings so you don’t go walking off your 50th floor balcony window or punching the cat.

To see physical objects around you while wearing the Vive head-mounted display, you’ll just need to press a button on one of the controllers and the outlines of those objects will ghost in. There’s a similar system already in place that alerts you when you’re getting close to a wall by showing you its wireframe when you move near to it, and it’s worked well when I’ve used the Vive. I would definitely have smashed my nose into a wall while trying to clear the Hillary Pass in the Everest VR demo without it.

The headset itself and its strap have also been given subtle redesigns in the name of increased comfort, while the display itself is now brighter and apparently offers better clarity than previous models.

Those who are particularly well-endowed with olfactory organs will be pleased to know that the Vive Pre also includes interchangable “nose gaskets,” which sound like a Victorian torture device but allow you to find a better fit for your own shnoz.

The handheld controllers look pretty different post-redesign too, featuring gripper surfaces, rounder edges and textured buttons for you to better feel your way around them.

So, that’s why we’re waiting until April for it – sounds fair enough to me. Still no word on pricing, but with Oculus pre-orders kicking off imminently and thus its pricing soon to be revealed, that’ll give an indication of the Vive’s ballpark figure.

Thanks, BBC.