Virtual Reality

HTC Vive And Its High Premium

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A few days ago, on the 29th Feb 2016, the debut virtual reality headset, Vive, from HTC and Valve became available for pre-orders. The HTC Vive came in at a slightly higher price than the Oculus Rift, placing it at the ‘premium’ end of consumer virtual reality. However, this didn’t seem to put many people off, as the headset sold 15k units within 10 minutes to be precise.

Those that have placed an order for the HTC Vive can look forward to receiving their full package, which will include the HTC Vive headset, that boasts a display featuring two 1080 x 1200 screens, giving a total resolution of 2160 x 1200 pixels and an aspect ratio of 9:5. Both displays can deliver 90Hz, which is equal to the Rift, but below the 120Hz of the PlayStation VR from Sony. Buyers will also receive two Base stations that allow for room scale motion tracking, allowing users to walk around in an environment of up to 15×15 feet, which is arguably the unique selling point for the Vive.

The downside, of course, is that you will require a pretty meaty PC to run all of this, plus a bit of spare space to move around. In terms of specs, The recommended requirements for the Vive are as follows:

HTC Vive RECOMMENDED requirements:
Processor: Intel® i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce® GTX 970 / AMD Radeon™ R9 290 equivalent or greater
OS: Windows 7 SP1, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10.

Bringing it in at almost identical comparison to its Oculus counterpart:

Oculus Rift Recommended requirements:
Graphics: NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or greater
Processor: Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
Memory: 8GB+ RAM
2x USB 3.0 ports
Windows 7 SP1 or newer.

You can run a performance test on your rig using these handy tools from Oculus and Vive. Download and run them on your computer and they will let you know if your system is VR Ready.

Steam VR Test

The HTC Vive consumer kit is being retailed at $799.00 which puts it a bit above the Oculus – available for $599.00. But there are a few points to be made here. Firstly, the functionality that you get from the offset with the Vive is greater than the Rift, as the Vive will be shipped with its handheld motion controllers, as well as the base stations. This means that you will end up with more hardware for your money in the case of the Vive.

Currently, in the U.K, the HTC Vive is being retailed at £746.60 including tax and shipping, which means that the Vive would cost me the best part of £220.00 more than the Oculus if I wanted to buy one today. So there is a noticeable deficit.

htc-vive-product-2-1452009445-pn33-column-width-inline-1452261197-acoJ-column-width-inline

Although, having said that, it’s important to note that Oculus are yet to announce a price on their Touch controllers. The Oculus website is still listing the controls with the following disclaimer: “Touch has not been authorized as required by the rules of the Federal Communications Commission. Touch is not, and may not be, offered for sale or lease, or sold or leased, until authorization is obtained.” So, if Oculus decide to charge for their controllers, then you would have to make an additional purchase in order to achieve the same, dual control, input functionality. Functionality that you get right off the bat with the Vive. If this was the case, the extra cost for the Touch controllers would even out the deficit slightly and you would end up paying the extra premium for Vive’s USP, namely, the room scale VR technology.

Additionally, in terms of content, the Vive will come with 3 free titles that will be included in the bundle. Those titles are:

1. Tilt Brush: is a cool VR title for creative types that allows the user to explore the world of 3-dimensional art using tools that were built for use in VR. This title is brought to us by Google and was popularized, back in 2015, by the inspiring short documentary film ‘Step into the Page‘ featuring legendary Disney artist, Glen Keane.

GlenKeane

2. Job Simulator 2050: Is a fun game that makes a parody of office work in a futuristic setting. It is set in a time where our daily tasks are carried out by robots and humans are trying to remember what it was like “to job”.

jobsimulator_2

3. Fantastic Contraption: Is another title aimed at the creative type and looks equally as playful. In this title, you can “Create life-sized contraptions as tall as you can reach, then send them whirling, flinging, and trundling off to solve puzzles on the other side of a floating island.”

fantastic-contraption-htcvive3

The fact that 2 of the three titles released with the HTC Vive are oriented around creativity shows a confidence in the system’s precision. And, in my mind will be the Vive’s biggest strength from the offset. On the same note, though, content, on the whole, may be a bit of a slow burner for the HTC Vive as the number of consumer kits in circulation is less then the Vive. But as time goes on we will no doubt start to see more and more titles emerge. For the time being, though, you can check out a list of all of the titles currently available on SteamVR here.

If you wanted to get your hands on a HTC Vive, then you can do so by following this link. Pre-order’s placed at the time of this post are currently displaying a delivery date of May 2016 in the UK.

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Joseph Smerdon

Founder of VRRelated and a VR enthusiast with a passion for gaming and all things creative. Joseph has an extensive background in the broader entertainment industry and a hunger to deliver Virtual Reality related news and content as the market develops.

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