The hype surrounding HTC’s debut VR effort appears to have paid off for the Taiwanese tech firm after it revealed the Vive had received 15,000 preorders within its first 10 minutes of availability.
The headset, which went on sale Monday, offers one of the best VR experiences out there, but with its hefty $800 price tag – $200 more than the Oculus Rift – it wasn’t clear if regular early adopters would rush to grab the new tech or hold back for more information (or perhaps to save the cash for a suitably powerful PC to handle the hardware).
Judging by the initial numbers, it’s looking good for HTC and its first virtual reality headset as it seeks to position itself as one of the leading players in the consumer VR field.
HTC revealed Vive’s impressive start in a tweet: “Woah, more than 15k units in less than 10min :o.” On its U.S. order page, the headset is still listed as in stock, with the first orders going to customers in early April (though orders placed at the time of writing won’t arrive till May).
Created in partnership with video game giant Valve, HTC’s Vive headset certainly impressed DT Deputy Editor Jeffrey Van Camp when he tried out an early version of the device last year. Indeed, he seemed positively overawed by the experience, describing it as “frightening, astounding, and surreal.” In a good way.
Your $800 gets you the all-important headset, two 360-degree motion controllers, and two laser boxes to track your movement from all angles. One of the major selling points of HTC’s device is that it’s been built on the idea of having users actually walk around inside video game worlds, and with its front-facing camera opening up the possibility of incorporating real objects into experiences, the world – in this case both real and virtual – could very well be your oyster. “Frightening, astounding, and surreal” is starting to make a whole lot more sense now, right? If you fancy learning more about the Vive, check out our hands-on piece here.
Meanwhile, the Vive’s main rival at the current time is the aforementioned Rift device from Facebook-owned Oculus. The Rift went up for pre-order in January with a $600 price tag, with the first shipments going out at the end of this month.
Besides the headset, you also get a separate camera that helps track your head movements and a Microsoft Xbox One controller so you can interact with VR apps and play games, two of which are included as part of the package. Finally, you’ll also get the Oculus Remote, described by the company as a “simple and intuitive [device] to navigate VR experiences.”
DT also has a hands-on review of the Rift here.
It’s of course still very early days for consumer-focused VR, but having two high-end devices duke it out for domination will certainly crank up both interest and competition in the space, and hopefully pave the way for some big leaps in VR technology as the year progresses.
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