Oculus launched pre-orders for the Rift earlier this month. Now we have a date for when HTC Vive will begin pre-orders. February 29. Didn’t drop 600 bucks earlier this month? You’ll get your chance next month.
The pre-order news comes about a week after HTC Vive revealed a newer developer model for its VR product. Dubbed the Vive Pre, the new model brings new features and some redesigns. The biggest new feature? A front-facing camera. Trying to munch down on a burger while climbing Everest in VR? You won’t even need to take off the headset to stuff your face.
Ok, a front-facing camera is a genius idea. Eating while playing VR is a plus. First world problems and all… But it’ll also help lower the time for newcomers to get adjusted to the controllers before diving into VR. I can’t count the number of times family and friends needed to take off the Oculus Rift DK2 to see where buttons were on the controller.
Speaking of controllers, HTC also tweaked their design. Updated ergonomics, textured buttons and grip pads are just some of the changes HTC made to their controllers.
We haven’t heard specific specs about the Vive Pre’s display, but the company has said it is brighter with increased clarity. We do know for sure the display supports 90 frames per second video.
The consumer model of the HTC Vive is coming in April. But we don’t know a specific date.
Let’s talk price
First off, HTC has not revealed the price. But they have dropped hints over the past year. One look at the HTC Vive Pre, and it’s easy to assume it will cost more than the $600 Oculus Rift.
Just look at the whole package: headset, room tracking and controllers.
No way that comes in at $600 or less.
Last March, HTC told MCV, “Starting with the premium experience, even if it has a slightly higher price point, is the right thing to do from a strategic point of view.”
At CES, BBC reported, “when pushed it (HTC) acknowledged the cost might prove a barrier to mass-market adoption.”
And last month, a spokesman told RTE News it won’t be super cheap – but also not bank breaking. Fast forward to around 3:20 for comments about price.
I’m going to say $800 – $1000. Seems expensive, but HTC Vive is bringing a lot more to VR. The controllers are a unique solution to VR and should offer a much better experience than the Xbox One controller packaged with the Oculus Rift. Oculus is also working on a similar pair of controllers, but they were recently delayed.
The price will absolutely be a barrier to mass-market adoption. But this is uncharted waters. We’ve been hearing about VR for years, but it’s still in its infancy. The die hard gamers and tech gadget lovers will scoop it up at launch. And then the price will start to come down.
Got the money to blow? Go for it. HTC Vive and Oculus will blow your mind. Are you an average consumer? You already know what you’re doing. Just wait for the next iterations to come out and for the price to drop.
Now we wait for Sony. What will they do with PlayStation VR? More importantly, how much will it cost?