It was a year ago today – a normal year at least – that HTC and Valve changed the shape of the virtual reality (VR) industry for good. The pair shocked everyone in revealing a partnership that had led to the creation of the HTC Vive, the first consumer-focused head-mounted display (HMD) to enable Room Scale user-tracking. The 365 days that have followed have seen a fair share of ups and downs for the device, including its delay from release in late 2015. HTC and Valve start making up for that today, however, with the launch of pre-orders for the kit.
Fans can now lay down an early order for the HTC Vive for some $799 USD. For that price you’ll get the HMD itself, two position-tracked controllers that allow you to bring your hands into VR, two Lighthouse base stations for user-tracking, letting you walk around in an area of up to 15 feet by 15 feet, and three experiences to actually use them with. The software includes two games in Owlchemy Labs’ Job Simulator and Northway Games’ Fantastic Contraption. There’s also Google’s Tilt Brush, a 3D creation app.
What the price doesn’t include is a PC capable of running the HTC Vive. For that, HTC has introduced a line of ‘Virtual Reality Certified’ line of rigs from various manufacturers including HP, Alienware and MSI. For those that do pre-order, first shipments will be made on 5th April 2016 to a total of 24 countries.
For comparison, the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive’s PC-based rival, went up for pre-order last month for $699 and will start to ship on 28th March. The kit includes the HMD, two free games, a tracking unit and an Xbox One controller, while its own position tracked controllers, Oculus Touch, will launch later in the year.
Stay tuned to VRFocus for the latest on the HTC Vive.