If you were counting on the HTC Vive being on sale before the end of 2015, just like HTC said it would, then sadly you’re going to be disappointed. According to Valve, the software company that’s partnered with HTC to make the VR headset, there is a slight delay, and it won’t ship significant quantities of the device before the first three months of 2016.
It’s not all terrible news. Valve says that not only will more developer units be made available this year, but it will also release some to the “community,” meaning there’s a vague chance you’ll be able to get one — or at the very least, try one of the elusive machines out. HTC started its developer program for the Vive shortly after its announcement in March. HTC has echoed this in a statement, saying it’ll have “a limited number of units by the end of the year, with more to come in Q1, 2016.”
Should HTC and Valve have been able to meet the 2015 launch target, the Vive would have been one of the very first major VR systems on sale commercially. Now, the early 2016 release means it’s going head-to-head with the final, consumer-ready Oculus Rift model — easily the best known VR system, and one that’s highly anticipated.
It’s not the only one either. Sony’s own Project Morpheus VR headset for the PlayStation should be out around the same time. Competition is good, but HTC isn’t known for its winning marketing campaigns, and there’s a risk it could get lost in the inevitable promo overload generated by Sony and Facebook. However, while HTC may not have the marketing budget, the Vive has got the tech skills, and produces a fantastically immersive VR experience that should win it plenty of fans.
In the meantime, VR fans will have to look towards the mobile world, and Samsung’s Gear VR, for their fix.