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Retail

Valve and HTC's Vive priced at $800

By Brendan Sinclair

Valve and HTC's Vive priced at $800

Mon 22 Feb 2016 12:32pm GMT / 7:32am EST / 4:32am PST
RetailHardwareVirtual Reality

VR kit will launch in April bundled with Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption [UPDATE]: Recommended PC specs less demanding than Oculus Rift

Another big player in VR has shown its cards. HTC today announced that the Vive virtual reality kit created in conjunction with Valve will launch in April for $799. The Vive headset will come packed with two wireless controllers, room-scale movement sensors, and (for a limited time) two games: Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption.

The consumer version of the hardware will feature a revamped head strap and integrated phone functionality in Vive Phone Service. The service will let users answer and place calls and text messages as well as check calendar invites without removing the headset.

"From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of virtual reality, with HTC pioneering several ground breaking technologies," HTC CEO and chairwoman Cher Wang said. "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."

Preorders for Vive will open at 10 a.m. Eastern time on Monday, February 29.

In January, Oculus announced that its Rift VR headset will ship March 28 for $599, packed in with two games but not the Oculus Touch wireless controllers (they will go on sale later this year). While the price was higher than many expected, it has done well enough that as of this writing, Oculus is expecting July to be the earliest it could ship newly placed orders.

Today's announcement leaves Sony as the last major player in the VR race to release launch details like date and price. In a Fox News interview, GameStop CEO Paul Raines recently said PlayStation VR will ship this fall, but a Sony representative said he was "purely speculating."

Update: HTC has revealed the recommended PC specs for use with its SteamVR-powered Vive headset, as reported by Upload VR. For the most part, they are consistent with those published by Oculus VR, though the Vive's 4GB RAM requirement is half that suggested for the Rift.

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19 Comments

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,431 1,763 1.2
Popular Comment
February 29th? Here I was thinking I had but one dentist appointment that day.

In all seriousness, it is strange to see VR being that online only thing so far. 12 months ago, there seemed to be universal agreement that the challenge was to get people to experience it before they buy it. Here we are with costs far higher than expected and more or less blind purchases. Most buyers will not have had a demo of the pre-production models, let alone the final version. Youtube confessionals and bad Google Cardboard apps is all most people are expected to base their purchase on. Speaking of must-buy software, where is it?. Sony seems more ready than ever to curbstomp the VR competition during E3.

Posted:3 months ago

#1

Aleksi Ranta Product Manager - Hardware

370 267 0.7
Popular Comment
Why is it that im getting less and less excited about even trying to be riding the first wave of VR?

Posted:3 months ago

#2

Phil Elliott Project Lead, Collective; Head of Community (London), Square Enix

185 58 0.3
Interesting to ponder: if Nintendo made VR, how would they market it?

I remember coming down an escalator into the departures lounge at Gatwick heading off on holiday in 2006 and seeing all-comers trying out Wii Tennis at a very accessible play area.

Posted:3 months ago

#3

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,977 2,268 1.1
There's a performance test available on Steam...

Edit: Store page now up at: http://store.steampowered.com/app/323910/

Edited 3 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 22nd February 2016 7:19pm

Posted:3 months ago

#4

Todd Weidner Founder, Big Daddy Game Studio

499 1,241 2.5
Looks to be a rocky start for VR, with its higher than expected price, hefty rec. specs, and lack of any gotta have game/software. Perhaps Sony turns this around when they announce? Or perhaps it will take a year or two to catch on, in that time, these specs will be easier and cheaper to get, the gotta have software will hopefully be out and VR will be on its way.

I suppose you have to start somewhere, but to release a high price new tech into a world economy in recession is an uphill battle, at least for awhile.

I will be getting VR for sure, but it wont be this spring thats for sure, and possible might not be this year. Time will tell. VR I think is here to stay, the tech is ready, but who will be the big supplier? its going to be interesting to watch.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Todd Weidner on 22nd February 2016 3:44pm

Posted:3 months ago

#5

Fabien Roussot Developer, Gunjin Games Ltd

21 9 0.4
I'm still confused about the negative reaction to VR prices. I personally aren't surprised the least by the price range of any of the announced device so far. Will I buy one right away, no. I haven't tried one, I haven't heard from friend/reliable sources that it is worth that price.

The early adopter of any new technology/platform is always the audience with money, for whom 800$ isn't really an issue. They will try, they will play, and depending on their feedback then people like me will either decide if it worth saving up for it or wait for the next iteration of the technology.

I think the disappointment comes from the fact that people thought they would be able to afford it right away. And since so far it seems like the technology is worth the expectation, they are just frustrated they can't. Well, I share that feeling. But once again, not surprising... it's the same every time something new, exciting and expensive comes out.

Posted:3 months ago

#6

Julian Williams CEO, WIZDISH Ltd.

156 185 1.2
It's fantastic that these HMD's are coming to market. It's an essential step however early sales may go.
I think most people will get into VR via mobile. Cost is very important but in my experience people always go for convenience first. That's why MP3 took over from CD and CD from vinyl. And some of the mobile stuff is already pretty good. The latest Samsung phones in a Gear VR produce some excellent results. That's the direction Google and Apple will take.

Posted:3 months ago

#7

Petter Solberg Freelance Writer & Artist,

82 68 0.8
It's funny how they seem to mostly stick to the system specs announced by Oculus, but Oculuss are the ones taking all the heat. Also, interesting how certain people seem to want to make this a battle between Facebook and Valve.

I'm happy with the specs. My worry is that Playstation VR is just going to be another Kinect/Move thing beyond the launch titles, there's just no way it's going to be able to evolve like its competitors with that hardware.

Posted:3 months ago

#8

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,977 2,268 1.1
It's funny how they seem to mostly stick to the system specs announced by Oculus, but Oculuss are the ones taking all the heat.
To me, it's the fact that the Vive is (apparently) just a better VR system, so it's high-specs for something that's better than the OR. Plus, controllers as standard with the Vive is nice - a complete system right out the box. :)

Posted:3 months ago

#9

Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online

157 112 0.7
If you have been to any VR/AR conference last and this year, you will know two things:

- This year is indeed a year of early adopters and not a mass market VR year - there is no money to be made yet.

- Gaming is just one of many applications of VR/AR - and maybe it will not even be the biggest.

Also, many people buy new smartphones ever (other) year. Skipping one year of upgrades can easily finance a VR system. Sure, that leaves the computer, but graphics cards are what, $200? And most PC enthusiasts are upgrading their system on a regular base, too.

Bottom line: I am not getting the criticism and "woe sayers".

Posted:3 months ago

#10

Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing

1,431 1,763 1.2
Costs of entry aside, we have yet to find a major publisher willing send one of the big franchises into VR battle. Don't overthink virtual spaces to walk in. Sit down, cockpit game, Star Wars license, done. That sort of min-max approach. There was much talk about making VR a platform. What good is it to argue technical specs? VR is a system of transporting you to other worlds. More than any monitor ever could. Winning people over with technical specs has its limits. You have to win them over with showing them worlds they want to be in. This is a battle you cannot win with the magical land of indie dev design, this is stone cold big IP territory.

VR outside of gaming is still in the realm of tech demos. There are no standards. Not for recording, not for broadcasting, not for putting stuff on discs, not for hardware VR movie players, not for streaming VR. NextVR is fine, but neither are they a major movie studio nor cable company. They are one start up in one territory, while VR aims to be a global thing.

Posted:3 months ago

#11

Adam Campbell Product Executive, Hopster

1,419 1,448 1.0
I'm not sure what people expected at this point in time. Modern day VR is expensive but will come down in price eventually. If you believe in the platform, you probably believe in its long term future and not just the first sales.

Posted:3 months ago

#12

Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer

288 142 0.5
I agree with you on the Sony Playstation VR HMD, unless Sony is willing to add PC support (let's not forget, all playstation development is done on PC as the PS4 is really just an optimized PC).. It's something I just don't understand, why sony isn't just officially supporting the move/camera on the PC, they sell the move with profit and with PC support it might sell a lot more units so people are more inclined to actually buy it, which will make developers also support the move better on their consoles.. it's a win-win situation for Sony if they add official PC support.. community will get it working on a PC anyway, but not as good as with official support..

Posted:3 months ago

#13

Rachel Weber Senior Editor, GamesIndustry.biz

41 134 3.3
I've used a number of VR systems and Vive definitely feels like the "premium" experience. Also, it's worth considering that the Oculus just ships with an Xbox controller, the Vive ships with the whole set up (minus a fancy PC.)

And at least Valve never said the Vive was going to be $300...

Posted:3 months ago

#14

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,550 1,568 0.6
Wait:'"Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption?"
Yeeeps. That's the gaming equivalent of Alice Blue Jean and her Magic Banjo right there

(Everyone here: "WHO?!" Me: Oh, right - reference point):

http://stevenmaginnis.blogspot.com/2011/08/flintstone-moment.html

Well, at least I'll agree that that price point is steep but not as bad as I thought it would be (I was thinking closer to $1,000), you get a second controller (for one headset?) and it won't be a year where VR rolls out of the gate and crushes everything it's up against because this is the initial period where those who buy in will see how well it all works and how much better it's going to get.

Posted:3 months ago

#15

Jess Kappeler Senior Game Designer, Pipeworks Studio

21 48 2.3
Would love to see Valve really embrace VR with steam OS. If I could justify dropping a monitor altogether when putting together a new PC from scratch, the price no longer seems so bad.

Posted:3 months ago

#16

Lewis Brown Snr Sourcer/Recruiter, Electronic Arts

215 85 0.4
It could still have a future, my wife, a total non techy was genuinely blown away by trying out 1 of the early VR rollercoaster experiences recently but even getting her to try it was a challenge.

I remember seeing Wii Tennis at airports to and the great thing about that is you didn't have to be playing it to see the fun. VR needs you to get your hands on it and feel it. Experience it yourself and as mentioned that killer software.

I am not going to be an early adopter but I hope it does succeed

Posted:3 months ago

#17

Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises

499 337 0.7
Seems reasonable, it does come with proper controllers, and you have to give them all a year or two of "early adopter tax".

I'm going to try and wait for a sale, but... If they put the Vive in a flash/seasonal sale I know I won't have the power to say no. :)

Posted:3 months ago

#18

Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online

157 112 0.7
@Greg, one controller for each hand. :) That's why it pains me that the Oculus Touch controllers won't be shipping initially with the system. They are so so good.

Posted:3 months ago

#19

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