Back at the beginning of 2016, HTC and Valve introduced a brand new development kit for the HTC Vive virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) named the Vive Pre. This new take on the device is considerably refined and improved. Its creators have made the kit smaller, lighter, and more comfortable to wear, while also adding an improved chaperone system thanks to a front-facing camera that can pick up items that exist in the real world and outline them within a VR environment. It’s a big leap over the original kit, but fans shouldn’t expect a similar advance for the incoming consumer version.
A source close to the development of the HTC Vive has told VRFocus that the much anticipated consumer-ready version of the device will mainly feature ‘minor cosmetic changes’ over the Vive Pre, with a few small additions to boot. Just what these additions will be are unconfirmed. Yesterday, VRFocus also reported that the Lighthouse Base Stations that enable the Room Scale user-tracking seen in the kit have also been upgraded to include a self-stabilising motor to reduce vibration. These new kits are designed by HTC itself and not Valve.
This won’t come as a surprise to many VR fans and enthusiasts given the proximity of the Vive Pre’s reveal in relation to the consumer HTC Vive. The latter kit is expected to be shown off shortly before pre-orders for the device open up on 29th February 2016. Information such as pricing should also be announced around this time. The full kit will then go on sale in April 2016, putting it just behind the arrival of the Oculus Rift PC-based HMD on 28th March. The third major VR HMD, the PlayStation VR for PlayStation 4, should be arriving after both of these, but still before Q3 2016.
For the latest on the HTC Vive, keep reading VRFocus.