The HTC Vive virtual reality headset has been some sort of a sensation for a while. And luckily, as promised, 2016 has seen the unveiling of more details about the somewhat not so publicized VR gadget. A lot of VR enthusiasts and other interested spectators have been curious for a while what would be the retail price for the headset — now both HTC and Valve has announced the price of their jointly produced headset; a not so pocket friendly and in my own opinion totally ridiculous $799.
The $800 VR headset is $200 more costlier than Facebook’s Oculus rift VR priced at $600. Just so you get the price differences with other VR headset of its grade;
~Oculus revealed last month its VR headset will cost $599.
~Sulon Cortex VR headset cost roughly $500.
The Big Deal
~The Avegant Glyph though slightly different from the Vice VR cost about $600.
The HTC Vive pre-release was rumored to potentially retail at a $300 price tag, however HTC’s announced $800 price tag represent a significant increase from the rumored price. Now here’s the big deal, Oculus Cofounder Palmer Luckey was slammed for announcing a $599 retail price for the Rift, a much more popular VR gadget. Now, HTC is announcing a much more costly headset and there’s bound to be some very unhappy VR fans. Lots of VR companies have have tried without much success to make a breakthrough in the consumer VR market. One major factor among others mitigating this success is pricing. Nonetheless, for the HTC there’s some good icing to the spoilt cake. Instead of separately buying other VR accessories to use with the HTC Vice, paying the $800 price gets you the whole Shebang. The whole bundle includes two motion controllers in addition to all the other accessories you’ll probably need to power the Vive’s 360-degree tracking experience (I.e. the two movable base stations that you position in your room or play area) — so they’re marketing an $800 headset as “the complete package”.
In a briefing with journalists, when asked how it would be justifying the Vive’s $799 price-tag, HTC’s Dan O’Brien, VP of VR, planning and management said: “Actually we’re really excited about our price,… Because it is the price for the complete system. It is the price for a system with input and controllers. For 360-degree tracking at full room scale. With safety and chaperone. All the things that we’ve thought about to make it the best possible experience. That’s what that
price is for. And we feel really good about it. It’s giving that user that one-time, out of box, it’s all there for you.”
“We’re going to continue pounding that message that this is the complete system, this is the complete package,” O’Brien added.
O’Brien might be correct to some extent, but buyers will still need a “not so pocket friendly” powerful enough PC to plug into and power the Vive VR. So there’s technically a little spinning going on with the whole “complete package” talk.
Speaking on the minimum PC requirements for system that can power the ViVe, Valve’s Chet Faliszek said:
“We have a recommended spec, because calling it a minimum spec’s a weird thing because really I could make something run on a 580. You’re probably not going to want to have that kind of experience, you’re going to want to have something that’s more rich, more full. And so what we’re saying is 970 on the Nvidia side and a 290 AMD and a mid-range i5.”
“One of the things we do on Steam is we have a hardware survey,” he added. “If you go take a look there what you’ll see is there’s a lot of people there who can run it right today. There’s another group that all they need is a GPU and they’re good to go. And then there’s another group that will need a different system.”
“You talk to the GPU vendors they’ll tell you that while overall PC sales may have been down, high end PC sales have been up. And that’s continued to be going on. So this will just help accelerate that,” he added, talking up the appetite of people to shell out for VR-capable PCs.
“A lot of it’s driven around the GPU card… We have future announcements coming with partners on the GPU side and on the PC side,” HTC’s O’Brien also added.
The HTC Vive will initially launch in 24 countries: the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Taiwan, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.