VR’s making a huge impact, and it’s time for HTC to start jumping into the fray. HTC’s Chen Wang described their VR device as a step to move away from the smartphone industry and into virtual reality. According to statements from Wang to the Telegraph, although Wang finds smartphone communications important, creating a natural environment extension with VR is more important. The Vive, made in conjunction with developer Valve, will immerse gamers into a virtual environment. It arrives as the second generation of HTC’s VR headset.
The headset was redesigned to rest on the wearer’s face more comfortably, utilizing a stable and smaller head strap. HTC emphasized that the Vive will fit more heads and allow for gamers who wear glasses to adjust to the Vive with ease. The Vive also contains an integrated front-facing camera, which would allow the player to visualize their surroundings while wearing the headset. This means you could sit down, eat and continue interacting with others without needing to remove it.
Having played with the virtual reality technology at CES, the idea hasn’t quite sunken in yet, and feels like it needs some reiterations at the designing board before it truly becomes a hit. VR felt kind of janky and jittery at times, and not quite as polished as I would have imagined. It has the potential to do great things, and I can see a lot of applications in gaming and health that this could apply to, such as for those who are disabled or elderly, but still wish to experience the wonders of the world. Wang described a demo program from the HTC Vive, called The Blue, which places the player in an underwater environment, interacting with blue whales. Wang cited some, specifically the wheelchair-bound, to get emotional because they would not be able to see this kind of environment, where a whale swims past.
The device will launch to consumers in early April, but pre-orders will begin on February 29th. As Oculus Rift and Sony’s Playstation VR make their jump, the Vive will be competing alongside these giants as virtual reality becomes mainstream. Price to be revealed. Hopefully it doesn’t become the Oculus, with a $599 price tag that infuriated many gamers.