HTC isn’t announcing a new phone at Mobile World Congress this year, but they have released an update on their virtual reality gaming system, the HTC Vive. HTC has announced the consumer edition of the system will go up for pre-order on February 29th, with orders shipping to 24 countries in early April.
The Vive won’t be cheap either, with pricing announced at $799USD or around $1120AUD. Australia is included in the list of countries the Vive will launch in with HTC also announcing the system will be available in the U.S as well as Canada, the UK, Germany, France, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, Sweden, Taiwan, China, Japan and finally New Zealand.
The retail version of the Vive will come with the ‘Vive Phone Service’ which will let you keep track of your notifications on your phone as well as letting you receive and respond to incoming and missed calls, as well as triage your text messages and calendar all while using the headset.
As we saw earlier this year at CES, the new Vive headset features a front-facing camera, as well as a re-designed headstrap which gives ‘greater stability and balance and an improved visual system with brighter displays to give a deeper sense of immersion’.
The dual wireless controllers have been updated as well with haptic feedback and dual stage triggers.
The Vive will come with two games at launch, Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, by Owlchemy Labs and Fantastic Contraption, by Northway Games in collaboration with Radial Games.
Partnering with gaming juggernaut Valve with their SteamVR platform, you could be forgiven for thinking the focus is on gaming for the HTC Vive and while there will be a plethora of content made available for the system, the company has advised they will be launching content that focuses on entertainment, retail, education, design, healthcare and automotive.
Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO, HTC said of the Vive:
From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of virtual reality, with HTC pioneering several ground breaking technologies. Since announcing Vive this time last year, we have worked tirelessly with Valve to deliver the best VR experience on the market, winning multiple awards and receiving critical acclaim from media, consumers and the industry. With the Vive consumer edition we are now able to realize our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a away that fires the imagination and truly changes the world.
After using a multitude of the upcoming VR systems last year, the HTC Vive remains the best I’ve used to date – as I outlined in my hands on from nearly a year ago. If you’re a gamer, the Vive is definitely a system you want to check out, we’ll be talking to HTC Australia about possible public demonstrations in the lead up to launch. Stay Tuned.