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Field of View: Vive’s $799 Price Tag Owes a Debt to Oculus

Two down, one to go. The HTC Vive’s price has just been revealed at $799 USD. That, combined with the price for $599 tag for the Oculus Rift, just leaves PlayStation VR on the table for pricing of the three major virtual reality (VR) head-mounted displays (HMDs). But that’s a topic for another time; right now let’s think about the undeniably massive and yet somewhat expected cost of getting your hands on the first Room Scale VR device.

HTC Vive CV1 - 2

The outrage over VR pricing has already been and gone. That circus was in town for the announcement of the Oculus Rift’s price early last month, which ended up being as much as $300 more than what some fans were hoping for. The VR community very quickly had to accept that the first year on market for the PC side of this industry at the very least would not be cheap at all. And, as disappointment over the Oculus Rift’s pricing was discussed, there was a somewhat unspoken agreement that this meant the HTC Vive would cost much, much more.

To be clear, the Oculus Rift does not include its upcoming Oculus Touch position tracked controllers for that price. It’s bundled with an Xbox One controller, Lucky’s Tale, and, for those that pre-ordered, EVE: Valkyrie, but it’s not coming with the ability to truly bring your hands and feet into VR. HTC, meanwhile, is offering the HMD, two of its own controllers, and two Lighthouse base stations for Room Scale tracking as well as free copies of Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption.

In comparison to what you’re getting with the Oculus Rift – which will be adding Oculus Touch to the (optional) bill later this year – the $200 price hike actually seems very reasonable. Better still, there’s now only a three day gap between each kit’s ‘launch’, as Oculus VR’s set hits on 28th March 2016 and HTC Vive shipping begins on 1st April. That proximity to the Oculus Rift launch will give HTC a really good shot at stealing some of those pre-orders away, especially consider that, while Oculus VR is lining up full exclusives for its kit, every Room Scale VR title is currently exclusive to the HTC Vive until Oculus Touch finally gets here.

That said, in the long run, the elephant in the room here is something that Oculus VR often addresses; the price of PCs. With Oculus Ready PC bundles starting at $1,499, you can expect an HTC Vive and a rig to run it to be around $1,699. Does moving into that field make any difference? We’ll have to wait and see.

HTC really has Oculus VR to thank for paving the way to its pricing announcement. The Oculus Rift’s price not only softened the blow with over a month’s adjustment period in-between, but also makes the $200 extra that VR fans would be essentially to get into Room Scale VR early very reasonable. In the grand scheme of the mainstream market this is still far too high a price for many to even consider, but for the enthusiast crowd that already had its world shaken last month, the HTC Vive could be an incredibly tempting proposition.