Vive retail launch will include revised headset with ergonomic improvements, smartphone integration and a microphone — and confirmation of the launch price.
Ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, HTC and Valve have revealed more information on launch plans for the Vive VR system — including details of where you'll be able to buy it, and for how much.
As previously announced, Vive will go up for pre-order on Feb. 29 and ship globally in early April.
And at a meeting today in Barcelona, Valve and HTC revealed that Vive will launch initially in 24 countries: The U.S., Canada, UK, 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.
In the U.S., the Vive retail kit will cost $799, with pricing in other territories being "relative" to that figure. That puts Vive within striking distance of major rival Oculus, which sells its Rift headset for $600.
Vive will retail within striking distance of its major rival, the Oculus Rift.
The companies also revealed the commercial version of the Vive headset, controllers and base stations in Barcelona today. Moving on from the stepping stone of Vive Pre, the first retail Vive kit will include a polished finish, a refined head strap to hold it more securely and comfortably in place, along with improved gaskets — the foam part that directly touches your face. Two gasket sizes will be included in the box, HTC tells us, to accommodate different sizes and shapes.
The retail headset will also include mics, for use with Vive's newly-unveiled (and entirely optional) smartphone integration. Vive will be able to connect wirelessly to Android and iOS devices, piping in notifications, calls and other alerts, complete with the ability to take calls while you're wearing the headset. And like the front-facing camera, added in Vive Pre, the mic will be open to developers as well.
Vive also benefits from Steam's vast library of games, and to sweeten the deal, Vive buyers will get two titles for free: Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption.
It's a strong launch lineup for what's still the most impressive VR experience we've seen to date. So are you tempted to try out Vive ahead of its launch? Shout out in the comments!
HTC AND VALVE BRING VIRTUAL REALITY TO LIFE WITH UNVEILING OF VIVE CONSUMER EDITION
HTC reveals complete Vive system at Mobile World Congress, available for pre-order from 29th February 2016
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 realize our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a away 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.