If you thought the Oculus Rift was expensive at $600, then you’re going to want to sit down for this. HTC and Valve’s Steam VR kit, the Vive, is priced at an eye-watering $800 before tax and shipping. Pre-orders go up on the 29th at 10 AM Eastern Like the Oculus Rift, it ships in April.
Like the Rift, the Vive will come bundled with software. Owlchemy Labs‘ Job Simulator and Fantastic Contraption by Northway Games. Both look like good fun that demonstrate the differences between Valve’s VR solution and Facebook’s Rift though Job Simulator isn’t exclusive to the Vive and will also be available for other VR setups.
Unlike the Rift, which is shipping with an Xbox One controller, the Vive custom controller setup is ready at launch and is designed for manipulating objects in 3D space. The Vive does not seem to include any audio solution, where the Rift had a built-in headset.
There is also a benchmark program available on Steam to find out if your computer is ready for the Vive before pre-ordering.
The price isn’t anywhere near as bad as it might have been, some people were expecting the Vive to be over a thousand, but it’s still out of reach for most people at $800.
— Eva (ee-vuh) Hoerth (@downtohoerth) February 19, 2016
If I were wealthy enough to pre-order either the Vive or Rift, and had a room to dedicate to the experience, I’d choose the Vive over the Rift. The Vive just has more to offer and the holodeck type of experiences it has in addition to the cockpit-style experiences of the Rift as long as developers support OpenVR instead of just the Rift SDK.
It doesn’t change anything about the announcement, but I wanted to point out that the language in HTC’s announcement is ridiculously bad:
We are proud to announce, in partnership with Valve®, the unveiling of the consumer edition of the ViveTM virtual reality system powered by Steam®VR.
Taking Vive one step further, with refreshed branding and an updated head strap, the Vive consumer edition builds upon the innovative features that were introduced into the Vive Pre.
Calling it the “consumer version” with “refreshed branding” is just insulting. It is useful to differentiate this version of the Vive from the versions developers have had access to in the past, but people do not give a crap about the logos or iconography of a system changing. Call it improving the hardware design if that actually changed, but don’t call people “consumers” in your announcement post.