I was going to write my column about my 3D printer this week. If you recall, I received a 3D printer last summer that I purchased from Kickstarter. It ended up dying on me very shortly after, and it’s taking me months to get the parts. I finally replaced the failed circuit board, and I documented the process, of which I had full intention to share today. But then I woke up and found this out:
The HTC Vive Will Sell For $799 USD.
This may sound like a lot of money (and truthfully it is), but depending on your perspective, this is a hell of a deal!
Now, don’t get me wrong, $799 US dollars is a lot of money, especially with the Canadian dollar down the drains like it is. But honestly, after trying HTC’s Vive Pre out a few times, and talking to a number of developers, and reporters, we all suspected somewhere around $1,000, some even as much as $1,400. And for good reason!
The Oculus Rift has been available for pre-order since January and it is selling for $599 USD. For that price, you get a headset with dual displays, built-in microphone, one tracking device, a remote for media, and an Xbox One controller for games. Oculus has also announced Touch, which is the company’s wand controller option, which will launch in the second half of the year, and add to the cost of the package. Many people suspect the controllers will be between $100 and $200 USD.
HTC, on the other hand, is offering the whole package right out of the gate. You get the headset, also with two screens, with the same resolution and refresh rate. The Vive also includes two wand controllers to track your hands in 3D space, and you get two laser emitters that mount in opposing corners of your room that will track your movement within a defined area. Today at Mobile World Congress, the company revealed that the headset will include an integrated microphone as well. And you’ll get all of this for $799 USD — just $200 more than the Oculus.
This price has some interesting implications. HTC’s Vive offers a more complete VR experience, and the company says it’s been building “the most premium experience possible.” With that kind of language, you would expect a very high price. This is likely a very strategic move on HTC’s part, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Valve is subsidizing the hardware somewhat, taking a loss on each unit just to get it in people’s hands. A move straight out of the console makers’ playbook.
I’m very interested to see what percentage of the people who pre-ordered an Oculus Rift cancel their orders and move over to the Vive now.
I personally didn’t order a Rift, because I would rather have a Vive. It’s just that good. Most people haven’t had the chance to experience it firsthand, but I’m curious who will be enticed by the similar price point. Frankly, in the long run, the Vive might actually be the more economical package.
Another shocking blow from HTC is the launch date. We’ve known for about a month that HTC was going to open up pre-orders for Vive a week from now, on February 29, and that the Vive would ship in April. Now we know that pre-orders will open up at 10 AM EST. And more importantly, we have the date that the hardware will ship, and if this isn’t a jab at Oculus I don’t know what is.
HTC will begin shipping the Vive on April 1st, mere days after Oculus starts shipping the Rift on March 28. It’s the same week actually. If HTC can manage to produce units faster than Oculus, we could see more people with Vives than Rifts, at least in the short term. Oculus sold out of its initial run of Rifts in minutes, and if you order one now you won’t see it until July. HTC has been making phones by the millions and knows how the manufacture a product, which is something that Oculus is very new at.
Additionally, you’ll get two games with the purchase of a Vive. Owlchemy Labs’ (shoutout to our partially local half-Winnipeg-based developer!) now-famous Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives and Northway Games’ (woo! More Canadian VR devs!) Fantastic Contraption, both of which I’ve played, and I can say you can’t go wrong with these games. They are perfect first-time VR expereinces.
Things are about to get interesting in the VR space. I can’t wait for the next BaseLAN. We’re working on bringing in some of the latest in VR to show off. No promises yet, but we’re doing what we can.
Kevin Carbotte is Senior Editor, Hardware for AYBOnline.com. He knows a little about a lot, and a lot about a little. The opinions in his columns are his and his alone, but you are free to have them.