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Will Launching In 2016 Hurt Oculus? HTC Might Steal Their Spotlight

Oculus Rift

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Oculus has finally revealed the first images of the retail version of the forthcoming Rift. Along with the images, the company has also stated that the device will be shipping in Q1 2016. While this is still not a locked down release date, at least we have a launch window. Something that the world has only been able to speculate on since the original developer kit launched back in 2012.

This should be exciting news. We finally have an idea about when the masses will be getting thier hands on VR, but it’s also somewhat disappointing. Oculus VR had the leg up on everyone. VR isn’t a new technology, but Palmer Luckey was able to make huge breakthroughs that no one else had done before. By all accounts, Oculus VR should be the first to the market. Unfortunately that’s not the reality here. Somehow, the company managed to let Valve and HTC leapfrog them and come out with a VR experience that seemingly offers more, and will be available sooner.

Oculus Rift

Earlier this year HTC blew the lid off of thier secret project, Vive. Partnering with Valve, they have gone ahead and created a full virtual reality experience, that will actually be shipping this year in time for the holiday season. This is absolutely huge! Oculus VR has spent the last 3 years, and who know how much money creating and audience for VR. Convincing the masses that they actualy want VR in thier homes.

HTC is cleverly using that to thier advantage by jumping into the stirring waters while the market is at its hungriest. The early adopters, those who bought a DK1 during the Kickstarter campaign, not to develop anything, but to experience VR first. Those are the people who were guaranteed Oculus VR customers, but are now likely to jump at the first option available. Those are the people that aren’t afraid to pay a little more, and HTC knows it. The company already stated that thiers will be priced as a premium product, and not an entry level headset. There’s been talk of a $600 price tag, but nothing official has been said. The price may still be Oculus VR’s saving grace, but missing the holiday season will certainly mean the loss of at least a few early customers.

htc-vive-pr-630

Input should also be considered. HTC will include 2 wand like controlers with buttons and touch pads on them. The Vive will aslo let you walk around a predefined section of your room. Oculus VR has yet to show off thier input solution, and aside from mentioning “support for sitting and standing experiences”, we’ve yet to see any word of being able to move around with a Rift on. In thier current publicly known forms, the Vive sure seems to offer a more robust VR experience than the Rift does. I suppose we’ll all know more soon enough.

The coming months are going to be very exciting in this space. We’ll see the reveal of the specs of the Rift CV1, and pre-orders will open this year. Vive will go on sale this holiday season, details will undoubtedly start to trickle out soon. New games are going to be announced at E3 next month. Things are going to be pretty spectacular in the not so distant future.

2016 can’t come fast enough!

Kevin Carbotte is a Content Editor for AYBonline. 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.

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