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News Entertainment Technology

HTC Vive Is $799, Ships From April 1st (arstechnica.com) 83

New submitter mobby_6kl writes: The HTC Vive VR headset, developed in partnership with Valve, has been announced ahead of schedule today to cost $799, with pre-orders opening on February 29th and shipping from April 1st. The Vive will ship with two games that take advantage of the system's two motion controllers and "room scale" capabilities, Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption. The HTC Vive is $200 more expensive than its main competitor, Oculus Rift, but does include the two motion controllers as well as Bluetooth for smartphone connectivity. However, detailed specifications for either system are not yet known. When it's available for pre-order, it will launch in no less than 24 different markets on that day including the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.
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HTC Vive Is $799, Ships From April 1st

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  • Sounds like an April Fool's joke. It's a bit too early in the year for April Fool's jokes.
    • Mr Obvious makes Mr Obvious jokes.
    • If you think that's expensive, you should see the price of the PC you will need to run it at a decent fps.

  • but not the Viva, and not the Rift either. Both the of them come with a far too narrow field-of-view. I want/need to be able to see what's going on behind myself, and I cannot do so by turning only my head, but need to turn my eyes, too. Hoping for the StarVR (regardless of price point).

  • I'll take two - one to keep for Sundays.

  • $799 is too much for the worst headache of my life. I can last about 5 minutes in VR and then I need to lie down.

    I'm a stick with my Acer Predator XB270HU,

    • $799 is too much for the worst headache of my life. I can last about 5 minutes in VR and then I need to lie down.

      Have you actually used the Vive?

      I get sickness from Oculus devkits, but the Vive has completely solved that problem, at least for me.

      Its a different experience than the Oculus devkits - Its worth trying before dismissing it.

      • Have you actually used the Vive?

        No, just the Oculus. OK, you've convinced me. I'll try a Vive.

        • They're both much better now, the Oculus EVT models and the Vive both massively improve on the DK level experience.

  • by Parafilmus ( 107866 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @06:33PM (#51554115) Homepage

    I appreciate that HTC is selling a complete VR product, including hand controls.

    They're making the right decision. If they deliver a solid experience for $800, they'll succeed as a high-end toy, and the price will eventually drop.

    By contrast, Oculus reached a lower price by leaving out hand controls. That was a mistake. A complete VR kit for $800 is a better proposition than an incomplete kit for $600.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      So you are saying that the HTC vive is a complete kit. Everything you need for VR, not a bad price at $800 of course if you still have to spend say another $1,500 dollars to actually get VR than not so much of a bargain. So for many people over a couple of thousand dollars in reality and you know what, for the vast majority, use it too long and you will, well and truly suffer (that too long being minutes for some and just a few hours for others). So where are the long term use product testing results and w

      • ...of course if you still have to spend say another $1,500 dollars to actually get VR than not so much of a bargain.

        True, it's definitely not a bargain. Its an expensive product. But I do think an expensive complete product is the right path, in contrast to the incomplete products Occulus and Samsung have brought to market.

        ...use it too long and you will, well and truly suffer

        My anecdotal observation is that they seem to have solved or at least greatly reduced the nausea problem. Using an oculus, I get nausea after about 30 minutes. But I've never felt it with a vive, even after a couple hours. But that's just anecdotal. I wouldn't mind seeing some actual test result

        • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

          On gaming days, I can spend twelve hours gaming, is that even possible with VR, considering the capital investment or is a twelve hour session with VR something that will put you off VR for the rest of your gaming life. Lets see some endurance testing, a VR gamer vs a mouse keyboard and display gamer, the first hour, the second hour and the twelfth hour. That no, zero, zilch, long term use has been shown, is a fairly solid indication that the tests conducted have not gone well at all, seriously no one is s

          • That no, zero, zilch, long term use has been shown, is a fairly solid indication that the tests conducted have not gone well

            I'm not sure that's a safe conclusion. Do hardware companies normally release the results of their internal user-testing? But they are betting their own money on the product, which suggests their in-house testing can't have gone gone too badly, can it?

            I can tell you the Vive doesn't induce sickness is me, while the DK1 and DK2 do. I'm not sure if that's down to the accurate tracking, or the "room-scale" environments or what. I'm not sure how universal my experience is, but I think there's a real chance

            • It has a lot to do with frame rate, Vive asks devs to maintain at LEAST 90fps, and I think the oculus (pre release) does as well.

    • Two motion controllers makes for a complete kit? When I played around with the DK1 I was pretty happy with the mouse and keyboard.
      • Two motion controllers makes for a complete kit? When I played around with the DK1 I was pretty happy with the mouse and keyboard.

        For me, having my hands in the virtual space, to pick up and manipulate objects, is a different experience.

        With headset + gamepad/mouse, I feel like I'm sticking my head into a video game. Its an amazing view, but I'm not really "occupying" the virtual space. I'm keenly aware that my body is somewhere else.

        With headset + hand controllers, I feel like I'm occupying a virtual space, rather than just looking into it. I can look down and see my hands, right where they should be. I can pick things up, put th

  • by vix86 ( 592763 ) on Sunday February 21, 2016 @07:51PM (#51554523)
    For everything in this package and the technology involved, I'm blown away by this price point. My original guess was that the HTC Vive was going to cost $1000 at launch. The lighthouses are a particularly complicated and likely expensive piece of hardware. From what I could gather from releases, they are using similar Laser mapping technology as can be seen on the Google Car. Because of this I was suspecting each lighthouse to cost at least $100-150 each.

    If anything, this makes Oculus look really bad. The Rift is launching with a controller, built in headphones, a basic IR tracker (not laser), the HMD, and a dinky remote. The CV1 isn't even going to have the Touch controllers for a better experience included and those have to be purchased separately which I'm expecting to cost in the range of $50-100 which puts the Rift CV1 at a price around $700.

    If we're talking about who we think might come out on top though. I think the Touch controllers on the Oculus are a better overall form factor and will fit better with the kind of games that benefit from a VR experience. The Vive controllers just seem about as clunky as the Playstation Move controllers. I think the HMD are probably going to be fairly similar in quality but I have a sinking suspicion that the Oculus might turn out better simply because of how much time they've put into the process. In terms of games, I think the Vive has a chance to come out way ahead since they have Valve's backing and because SteamVR is integrated right into Steam. Steam is going to provide a huge platform for indie devs looking to build experiences for VR. The big worry for anyone looking at getting the Oculus though will be whether Valve makes it a point to make sure the SteamVR releases are always up to date with the Oculus SDK or not. If they aren't, then the Vive will always be ahead of the Oculus and that's going to lock a lot of people out of potential games. The best example to date is Elite: Dangerous, which in terms of most up to date VR versions, only works on SteamVR with Frontier stating that they plan to support V1.0 of Oculus sometime in the future.

    Taking all of this into consideration, I think overall Oculus stands the best chance of claiming VR on the PC. The Vive can do more I think, but the "more" that it can do seems almost "gimmicky" and not in tune with how I think most games will probably use VR (ie: sitting down). If we can get access to the camera on the Vive though, there are some potentially huge AR applications that the Vive can tap into that the Oculus just can't. All of the worries about the drivers/SDK will probably clear up after a year or two, and the Oculus has more room to come down in their price point as time goes on compared to the Vive which is probably tied down by the complicated lighthouse units.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      The lighthouses are a particularly complicated and likely expensive piece of hardware.

      My understanding this is just lasers and spinning mirrors. All complexity is in the headset.

      I think the Vive has a chance to come out way ahead since they have Valve's backing and because SteamVR is integrated right into Steam. Steam is going to provide a huge platform for indie devs looking to build experiences for VR.

      My prediction: Software will not be an issue for any VR platform. Too easy to shim VR APIs and developers can't afford lost sales on platform exclusive titles unless exclusivity is subsidized by VR platform vendor.

      The big worry for anyone looking at getting the Oculus though will be whether Valve makes it a point to make sure the SteamVR releases are always up to date with the Oculus SDK or not. If they aren't, then the Vive will always be
      ahead of the Oculus and that's going to lock a lot of people out of potential games.

      Oculus has already stated version 1.0 forward of Oculus driver is backwards compatible. There will be no need for software developers to continuously update software to support incompatible changes in SD

    • For everything in this package and the technology involved, I'm blown away by this price point. My original guess was that the HTC Vive was going to cost $1000 at launch. The lighthouses are a particularly complicated and likely expensive piece of hardware. From what I could gather from releases, they are using similar Laser mapping technology as can be seen on the Google Car. Because of this I was suspecting each lighthouse to cost at least $100-150 each.

      Nope, even easier. Simulation here [youtube.com]. They basically just do synchronized sweeps every couple milliseconds, and when the headset sees a pulse, it can figure out when during the sweep it received the pulse and therefore where along the axis it is. Sweep along the other axis, and you get your position. Two lighthouses so you can turn around, and you're set.

      ... which is the question I have. All of the dev kit and test versions we've seen show the Vive as being wired. Is the consumer version still going to be w

    • It's not laser mapping at all. I have some contacts on the dev team, and had a hands-on demo of the unit.

      The Lighthouses are actually more of a "ping source", where they broadcast a bright IR sync flash, followed by a rastering modulated laser beam. So it's like a movie clapper board saying "Ok, I'm starting a raster sweep NOW (clap)", and the headset waits for the laser sweep to hit each of the sensor receivers. It detects the different lighthouses by the modulated signal in the laser sweep. Knowing the sw

  • 100% useless for video only control. You are NOT getting 720P video at a decent frame rate over bluetooth.

    • I couldn't go into too much detail in the summary, but the BT connection is to allow you to receive and make phone calls as well as answer messages from your phone without taking off the headset. While this is a minor feature on first glance, I can imagine it could make a big difference in practice since taking off the headset every time your phone rings would be a huge pain in the ass.

  • Husband and I will both be pre-ordering one the very second pre-orders start. We've already reconfigured our entire living room in anticipation!

    • You mean you have sold your furniture in order to buy two?
      • by Noxal ( 816780 )

        Haha no, we just shuffled things around. The worst part is how close the dog's crate is to the front door and even then it's no big deal!

  • half = 1/2, inverse is 2
    2^3 = 8

    $799 is almost $800, therefore Half Life 3 is coming.

    If Valve releases HL3 with support for Vive, it's going to make VR mainstream. HL2 helped Steam, HL3 would help VR.

  • by sad_ ( 7868 )

    Does somebody know if it will have SteamOS/Linux support from day 1? There is no mention of this on the site (or i couldn't find it).

  • by Holi ( 250190 )
    April first huh?
  • I'm probably in the majority of the tech minority -- somewhat curious about VR and never tried any system. My impression from the reviews at Ars and elsewhere is that Valve has figured out the use mode best. If I had the option to *try* just one, I'd try the HTC vive.

    That said I don't care much about the job simulator, but some sort of SimUniverse where you sit in the lab and experiment with different fundamental processes based on the technology pioneered by Aperture Sciences... that might be worh $800.

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