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The Ball’s In Your Court Oculus: HTC Vive Consumer Release Delayed Until April 2016

We’ve been saying all year that 2015 is the year of VR. Well, HTC just made liars out of us. The anticipated “limited” consumer release of HTC’s Vive VR head mounted display has slipped beyond the tail end of 2015 and well into Q1 2016.

HTC shocked the world in March with the reveal of the Vive VR HMD. No one would have guessed this was coming and everyone was excited to see this take place. No longer was Oculus the only kid on the block with the fancy VR technology. HTC, partnered with legendary video game developer Valve Corporation, seemed poised to take this market by the horns and run with it.htc-vive-pr-630

At the reveal event during Mobile World Conference, HTC boldly declared that the consumer launch of the Vive VR HMD would take place within the 2015 calendar year. The company was firing shots at Oculus, which at this point had yet to reveal even a launch window. Speculation that it would be at the end of this year is all anyone had to go on.

Throughout the year the company has been mum on the details about the release. It started the HTC VIVE World Tour campaign to raise awareness for the device, but it would not speak about the price or pre-order date at all. Early in the summer Jeff Gattis made a comment on video that was posted on the HTC YouTube channel suggesting that there would be an event in October about the Vive where we would get all the pertinent information.

When October came and went and there was still no hint of the release date many people started to lose faith in the 2015 release. When Jeff Gattis, HTC’s former Director of Global Marketing, left the company in November to pursue an opportunity at Magic Leap, a burgeoning AR company about to make a big splash on the immersive technology scene, it felt like the last nail in the coffin for a 2015 release had just been dealt.

Today HTC has confirmed those fears. The company announced in a brief blog post (which was copied to Facebook when the HTC Blog crashed within 1 minute of the tweet) that the Vive headset will in fact not be coming out this year. Instead the headset will be launching in April of next year, opening up the doors for Oculus to be first to market again.

You may recall a few months back we wrote an article about how HTC might win the first round of the VR fight simply by being the first available. Now it looks like HTC has thrown that chance away.

Along with the release window being secured for April, HTC revealed that it will be launching a new version of the Vive developer kit at CES in January and it will have 7000 units available for developers looking to make experiences for the platform.

It looks like the wait will be a few more months, so really it seems 2016 is going to be the real Year of VR. Oh well, at least we know it will be available in time for the next BaseLAN!

Kerbie Daniels is an occasional writer for AYBOnline. His opinions are his own. 

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