HTC announced that it’s opening pre-orders for the first Consumer Edition of its forthcoming Vive headset on February 29—a week from today—starting at precisely 10:00 AM Eastern. Full commercial availability will follow in early April, which is when the initial batch of pre-orders will ship, though it remains to be seen if the Vive will see the same level of early interest that Oculus did when opening up pre-orders for its competing Rift head gear.
Where HTC is at a disadvantage is price—the company announced that it’s charging $799 for its Consumer Edition kit, which is $200 more than the Rift. Helping to soften the blow, HTC is including two wireless controllers, plus room scale movement sensors, two free virtual reality titles (Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator and Northway Games’ Fantastic Contraption), and of course the Vive headset itself. As an added bonus, the Consumer Edition will ship with an updated head strap and integrated phone functionality, the latter of which will enable Vive owners to answer incoming calls, respond to text messages, and more directly through the headset.
HTC’s collaboration with Valve is another selling point.
“From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of virtual reality, with HTC pioneering several ground breaking technologies,” said Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO, HTC. “Since announcing Vive this time last year, we have worked tirelessly with Valve to deliver the best VR experience on the market, winning multiple awards and receiving critical acclaim from media, consumers and the industry. With the Vive consumer edition we are now able to realize our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a way that fires the imagination and truly changes the world.”
The Vive is powered by Valve’s SteamVR so consumers can expect robust support. Including dual wireless controllers is also a fairly big deal, but is it enough to warrant a $799 price tag?
Like the Rift, the Vive must be tethered to a relatively powerful PC, and of course that’s a separate cost. There aren’t any recommended specs yet, but with pre-orders kicking off next week, we suspect HTC will divulge that information soon.