The Consumer grade version of the HTC Vive VR headset officially went on sale last week for $799 USD. 15,000 units sold out in 10 minutes going against the thinking that top end VR headsets are at too high a price point.
While 15,000 units may sound an impressive achievement it must be noted that this is not a large enough amount of units for game developers to dive into the VR market and make a profit from.
None the less it is an encouraging start.
The launch wasn’t all positive news however according to Dan O’Brien, vice president of planning and product management for HTC Vive.
“We had some hiccups with the back-end system,” O’Brien said.
“It was a global launch with region-specific allotments around the world. When a SKU sells out in a bucket, it’s supposed to flip to another bucket. Our back-end system sent people a message that the Vive was sold out, instead of telling them we’re continuing to take pre-orders all the way through launch day, April 5.”
This glitch has now been fixed and consumers can pre-order the HTC Vive today with an expected delivery schedule of May.
The HTC Vive is in direct completion with the Occulus Rift at $599 USD although price point is not a fair comparison when looking at the to flagship VR offerings said O’Brien.
“The price point is not an apples to apples comparison because we put more in the box. A year-and-a-half ago when we first sat down with Valve and 20 development teams, we announced that we were developing a room-scale virtual reality platform with a front-facing camera, a headset with 360-degree tracking, and controllers for both hands. Plus, we have the Chaperone system that ensures safety when navigating VR experiences in your living room. We’ve accomplished that and put all of that technology in the box. All you have to do is take it out of the box and plug it into a PC.”
While the HTC Vive will also ship with three free games there is another hidden cost PC gamers need to be aware of.
Early adopters of the HTC Vive will need spend up to $400 on a new graphics card from either Nvidia or AMD. While there are bundled PC’s available with the headset, it is easy to see the costs adding up for gamers.
HTC has released a free software tool allowing consumers to test their PC to analyse if their system is up to spec or if they require a new graphics card, extra memory, or a completely new system. Yay!
Will you be an early adopter of VR or will you wait see the Playstation Morpheus before diving into the VR hype machine?
Right now I think developers should focus on building an audience through Google Cardboard and transitioning the audience once VR matures.