HTC Vive Steps into the Ring

Posted on 22 Feb 2016 by
Jordan Fong

It’s been an emotional roller coaster; between Oculus’ Rift, and the Vive brought to us by HTC and Valve themselves. After Oculus’ pre-order launch last month, HTC has now stepped up and announced that pre-orders for the Vive will launch at 10am February 29. We’ve waited for years, anticipating the moment we can get our hands on one of these devices, just as much as developers have been working even longer to bring us such an experience. With the first wave of Rifts launching next month, we should see plenty of media covering the new VR experience. The Vive will be priced for $799 USD, a step further than the Rift at $599, which again was surpassed by the initial expectation of being around $300. How wrong we were.

So what do you get for such a price? First off is the Vive, that’s a given. Since they’re more or less on par with the Rift’s internal hardware specs let’s cover that:

Both units:
Display: OLED
Resoltion: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)
Refresh Rate: 90Hz
FOV: 110

Unique to the Rift are:
Oculus Home, Oculus Touch controllers, and a built-in headset.

Unique to the Vive are:
SteamVR, SteamVR controllers, and a 15×15 foot tracking area.

Both have positional tracking but have different methods of doing so. As far as the HMD goes both have accelerometers and gyroscopes, but the differences are between the Rift’s 360 positional tracking, and the Vive’s IR laser positioning sensor and front facing camera.

Back to what you’ll be getting should you decide to pick up a Vive, two wireless controllers will also be packaged, along with two room scale sensors, the “Lighthouses” as they were. You’ll also receive two VR titles: Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, an experience driven by a tongue-in-cheek world where robots have replaced all human jobs. And Fantastic Contraption, where you can build a machine within your virtual space and watch it roll out into the world.

HTC has also brought a new function to the Vive called Vive Phone Services, with the ability to answer mobile phone calls through their headset, and text. The goal is to demonstrate the ability to combine both realities without losing touch of either, even allowing you to check on upcoming calendar dates directly through the device. Along with the new features, the Vive is getting a slight face lift. An improved headstrap and new haptic feedback on their controllers, and additional dual-stage triggers.

I’m definitely excited for the wave of VR news and games we’ll be getting, and have been looking forward to it for years. And remember, VR isn’t real life, but it’s also not fake, it’s an experience. Now, GO HAVE FUN!

Official Press Release

Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, February 21, 2016 – HTC, a pioneer in innovative, smart technologies, in partnership with Valve®, today unveiled the consumer edition of its ViveTM virtual reality system. Continuing to build upon the Vive’s exhaustive list of features, this complete Vive system, powered by Steam®VR, introduces yet another new technological innovation – Vive Phone Services – once again setting a new standard in virtual reality.

Enabling you to stay connected to the real world, without exiting the virtual world, Vive Phone Services demonstrates the ability to combine both realities without losing touch of either. By allowing you to receive and respond to both incoming and missed calls, get text messages and send quick replies and check upcoming calendar invites directly through the headset, it creates a hybrid reality opening up a whole new world of possibilities for both consumers and businesses.

Taking Vive one step further, with refreshed branding and an updated headstrap, the Vive consumer edition builds upon the innovative features that were introduced into the Vive Pre. These include updated wireless controllers with haptic feedback and dual stage triggers, a front facing camera that blends physical elements into the virtual world, a redesigned headstrap that offers greater stability and balance and an improved visual system with brighter displays to give a deeper sense of immersion.

Priced at US$799, for a limited time the consumer edition will also ship with two fully-fledged VR experiences to get you started in the VR world:

  • Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, by Owlchemy Labs: In a firmly tongue-in-cheek world where robots have replaced all human jobs, step into the ‘Job Simulator’ to learn what it was like ‘to job’.
  • Fantastic Contraption, by Northway Games in collaboration with Radial Games: Imagine walking around a grassy island floating in the sky, building a machine the size of a horse with your own hands, and then watching it roll out into the world.

But it’s not just about gaming. In addition to these launch titles, HTC is working with developers to foster the creation of content that spans multiple sectors including entertainment, retail, education, design, healthcare and automotive.

“From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of virtual reality, with HTC pioneering several ground breaking technologies,” comments Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO, HTC. “Since announcing Vive this time last year, we have worked tirelessly with Valve to deliver the best VR experience on the market, winning multiple awards and receiving critical acclaim from media, consumers and the industry. With the Vive consumer edition we are now able to realise our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a way that fires the imagination and truly changes the world.”

Pricing, Updates and Availability

The Vive consumer edition will be available to pre-order from 29th February, with pre-order fulfilment and full commercial availability starting in early April. Priced at US$799, the Vive is the first complete VR solution, including two wireless VR controllers, room scale movement sensors, and an HMD featuring a built in camera and phone, plus the two VR titles. The integration of SteamVR into the bundle ensures that all Vive equipment is kept up-to-date with the latest features.

Comments (1)

Posts: 349
L Coulsen
Posted 26 Feb 2016, 10:31
I have a feeling, despite being the 'better' headset, Oculus is going to ultimately take second place. Having the support, however tacit, of Steam behind them will give Vive a leg up on one of the major, early adoption demographics. After all, people with VR may well find they are far more interested in films once they have them. But it's that extra layer of gaming immersion that pushed desire for the technology in the first place