There’s a great deal of anticipation surrounding the possibilities of virtual reality equipment in the gaming industry and other entertainment forms. Not only that, VR could be deployed to train new recruits in essential practical skills and help surgeons perform complex operations. Clearly, virtual reality has a huge potential but it’s going to take a considerable amount of time before the technology becomes mainstream. Recently, the $599 price point of the Oculus Rift shocked users expecting a significantly lower price point. This is well beyond the reach of most consumers especially when you take into account the cost of hardware to drive virtual reality headsets. Currently, VR manufacturers are focusing on producing the best possible experiences to encourage hardware sales. In theory, the pricing should reduce over time and become more accessible but the time frame for this is still unknown.
The HTC Vive’s retail price was confirmed at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and leaked by a number of publications prior to the official embargo. UploadVR reports that the Vive will cost a whopping $799 and ship with a controller for each hand and a pair of “Lighthouse” laser base stations designed to track movement. The device will also come with an internal microphone, and have Bluetooth functionality to communicate with various smartphones. Pre-orders for the unit will begin on February 29th, and the first shipments should commence in April.
It will be interesting to see if the higher price point affects sales compared to the Oculus Rift. Competition in the marketplace is great for consumers though and helps progress technology forward. 2016 is often described as the year of virtual reality, and this prediction looks set to be coming to fruition. Sadly at $799, the HTC Vive will remain a very niche device for those with big wallets, and this is a shame.