Virtual reality (VR) fans are eagerly awaiting news on the consumer launch of the HTC Vive head-mounted display (HMD) from both the Taiwanese smartphone maker and Half-Life developer and Steam creator Valve. Developer editions of the device are currently out in the open but a final version is yet to be revealed, dated, or priced. Fans are expecting some significant updates to the consumer version, but aren’t sure when it will be announced. That hasn’t changed this week, but Valve has at least confirmed that the upcoming kit should feature a built-in microphone.
A Steam developer asked as much over on the site this weekend. Valve programmer Jeep Barnett simply replied: “A USB microphone should work on the developer edition. Current plan is to have a built in mic on the final version.” Don’t take this as official confirmation, then, although this would bring the HTC Vive more in line with the consumer version of the Oculus Rift PC-based HMD, which does include a built-in mic. Other anticipated updates to the new version of the HTC Vive include improved battery life for its position-tracked controllers.
While no dates have been confirmed, the HTC Vive is expected to see a launch in 2015, albeit in a limited fashion. Neither HTC nor Valve has stated just how many units it expects to make available this year. A full release, however, is expected to take place in Q1 2016, which is the same time at the Oculus Rift. The HTC Vive sets itself apart from its rival with a Room Scale user tracking system provided by Valve’s SteamVR system. This consists of a laser-based tracking system known at Lighthouse which tracks a player’s real world movements in an area of up to 15-feet by 15-feet and replicated those movements in-game.
VRFocus will continue to follow the HTC Vive closely, reporting back with the latest updates on the device.