Pre-orders have officially opened for the HTC Vive, the virtual reality headset designed to work natively with Valve's new SteamVR initiative for gaming. The $799.99 HMD is currently available on Steam's website or the Vive website for pre-order and it comes with the headset, wireless controllers and several free games.
Game Informer points to the official Vive website where they detail exactly what you get for $799.99 ahead of the April launch of the device. In addition to the two wireless motion controllers, there's also the two base stations that enable 360 degree room scaling and tracking. The base stations work in a similar way to the sensor bar for the Wii or Wii U. You also get three free games, including Tilt Brush, Fantastic Contraption and Job Simulator.
The Vive sports a 110 degree field of view, a form-fitting head band, 32 different sensors across the head display for full 360 degree motion tracking, and 2160 x 1200 combined resolution running at a 90hz refresh rate that allows for a consistent display of well over 60 frames per second.
The Vive's foam inserts and eye-pads can also be adjusted and replaced to fit the structure of the wearer's face, so you can customize the comfort levels of the foam face fittings.
The wireless controllers are designed similar to Valve's Steam Controller, insofar that they offer HD haptic feedback for dynamic interaction with games, movies and other interactive software, as well as multi-functional trackpads that allow users to seamlessly and easily navigate through the VR environments.
The biggest hurdle of course is that The HTC Vive is $799. While many hardcore VR enthusiasts will likely jump on the opportunity to get their hands on one, the average consumer just won't be able to touch it. Game Informer notes that the price of VR will inevitably go down, but the question is, how long will that take? And what's a reasonable price to lure in the average consumer? I can't imagine most people will be willing to pay any more than $299 for a VR headset. More than that, and it's breaking the bank.
Then again, it's a heck of a lot cheaper than the developer kit for the HoloLens, which clocks in at a massive $3,000. The only hold-out for most gamers is that Sony's PlayStation VR is an affordable headset that offsets the high-costs of the Rift and the Vive...however, given Sony's reticence on price, I wouldn't hold out too much hope on it being cheap. One thing they might do is subsidize the price through PlayStation Plus, which could help in the long run; offering the device for a couple of hundred and a two year contract to PS Plus. Valve doesn't have any setup like that with the Vive.
That's also not to mention that you basically need a top of the line PC to run the HTC Vive or the Oculus Rift. If you have any computer more than five years old, you'll basically need to pay north of $1,000 to get a decent PC to run the VR headsets.
Nevertheless, you can learn more about the HTC Vive and the specs by heading on over to the official website.