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Watch out, Rift! HTC Vive pre-orders open on February 29

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There should be little doubt at this point that we’re on the verge of virtual reality going mainstream, as devices that have been in the works for years finally start making their way to retail. Now, it’s been announced that the Vive headset will be available to pre-order from February 29.

HTC CEO Cher Wang confirmed the launch date in a new interview with English newspaper The Telegraph. This carefully considered scheduling is likely intended to help ensure that the Vive can keep pace with rivals like the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR.

It’s thought that HTC began dabbling in VR as far back as 2012, initially offering to partner up with Oculus. The company — which announced its own plans for the launch of the Rift just last week — spurned HTC’s advances, which prompted the Taiwanese manufacturer to enter negotiations with gaming giant Valve.

HTC and Valve were able to agree upon terms, and the result of that working relationship is the Vive headset. The device was first unveiled at the Mobile World Congress conference in March of 2015, immediately garnering a positive response from many of those who were able to test out the hardware.

It’s worth noting that HTC has not announced pricing information for the Vive at this time. Given that the Oculus Rift will retail for $599, it’ll be very interesting to see whether the Vive sits around a similar price point — or if HTC decides to launch an all-out assault by undercutting the price of their biggest competitors in the PC VR space.

Speculating about the price is difficult, at this point, because HTC hasn’t said anything about what the Vive’s final package will include. The Rift ships with not only the headset, but also an Xbox controller and two games, Lucky’s Tail and Eve: Valkyrie.

It may well turn out that the Vive emerges as the frontrunner in the burgeoning VR race, regardless of its pricing or competition. Last week, the headset came out on top in the gaming category of the Digital Trends Top Tech of CES 2016 awards.

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