A few weeks ago, as part of this very feature series, VRFocus took a look at the lack of release and pricing information for the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) after creator Oculus VR chose not to reveal any such details at its Oculus Connect 2 developer conference. With the kit’s Q1 2016 release window fast approaching, it’s anyone’s guess as to when this information might be shared. But the Oculus Rift is far from the only VR HMD in this situation; the same is quickly becoming true of Valve and HTC’s anticipated device, the HTC Vive.
The HTC Vive has had a long road in the 7 months since its announcement. Originally promised for a full 2015 release, it was later revealed that the kit, which is supported by Valve’s SteamVR system, would instead be arriving in a limited fashion this year with a wider release taking place in 2016. Fans were also led to believe that the reveal of the consumer version, perhaps along with solid release and pricing information, would be announced in October, a window that’s quickly running out.
This has been a hot topic this week in particular, as HTC is set to host a virtual event that will reveal a new smartphone later on today. Speculation within the VR community concluded that this would be as good a place as any to reveal the consumer hardware, but those hopes were sadly swept under the rug once more when Valve’s Chet Faliszek confirmed that no such announcements would be made at the event. So, with just over 2 months left in the year, when will we get word of the HTC Vive’s release?
In all likelihood, this could be a very similar situation to what we’re currently expecting with the Oculus Rift. That is to say, Valve and HTC may well not host a big show or display for the launch but instead just do it. All it takes is a simple tweet for pre-orders are now open for a launch on a given date and a given price and word will carry faster than a new Star Wars trailer.
To be clear; VRFocus doesn’t have any reason to believe that the release of the HTC Vive itself has been delayed. Information might be coming a little later than expected, but we still anticipate that Valve will have a limited number of units on sale before the end of the year. The real news will be when that wider launch will take place, and its proximity to both the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR launches. We’re not at a stage in which we would consider each of these 3 major HMDs to be facing off in huge competition – VR simply doesn’t have that kind of reach yet – but it will be interesting to see if one launch could impact another at all.
The HTC Vive is still on track to be the first major consumer available VR HMD. But, as with every other device, the wait for final details is excruciating. Hopefully it isn’t too much longer until that information arrives.