I’ve been an avid fan and follower of VR since it’s boom back in the early 90’s. Watching classics such as Brainstorm and the Lawnmower Man only served to fan the flames of my fandom. At an Arcade on the sunny beach resort of Weston Super Mare I came across an arcade VR unit called ‘Grid Busters’ where I was promised State of the Art graphics and a unforgettable battle in a VR world. What I got was a heavy, sweat soaked and uncomfortable head piece and a game that made me feel intensely nauseous as soon as it started, unforgettable but for the wrong reasons. VR and it’s applications have come a long way since then, even becoming available to mobile phone users, and yesterday we had news from HTC regarding the Vive that will change everything.
HTC, a pioneer in innovative, smart technologies, in partnership with Valve®, today unveiled the consumer edition of its ViveTM virtual reality system. Continuing to build upon the Vive’s exhaustive list of features, this complete Vive system, powered by Steam®VR, introduces yet another new technological innovation – Vive Phone Services – once again setting a new standard in virtual reality. Enabling you to stay connected to the real world, without exiting the virtual world, Vive Phone Services demonstrates the ability to combine both realities without losing touch of either. By allowing you to receive and respond to both incoming and missed calls, get text messages and send quick replies and check upcoming calendar invites directly through the headset, it creates a hybrid reality opening up a whole new world of possibilities for both consumers and businesses.
Taking Vive one step further, with refreshed branding and an updated headstrap, the Vive consumer edition builds upon the innovative features that were introduced into the Vive Pre. These include updated wireless controllers with haptic feedback and dual stage triggers, a front facing camera that blends physical elements into the virtual world, a redesigned headstrap that offers greater stability and balance and an improved visual system with brighter displays to give a deeper sense of immersion.
“Ever since the first day HTC Vive was announced, we knew that it would be widely applied beyond the gaming and entertainment industries. HTC Vive now applies across a wide spectrum of sectors, such as healthcare, education, retail and automotive with this disruptive innovation, demonstrating the potential of a world without limits”, said Jack Tong, North Asia President at HTC. “It is a pleasure to leverage the VR ecosystem to enhance the cultural and creative industries with Jimmy SPA. Together, we bring a new concept on stage to spark of creativity and innovation, and to open up a new era of vision and intelligence.”
Priced at US$799, for a limited time the consumer edition will also ship with two fully-fledged VR experiences to get you started in the VR world:
Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, by Owlchemy Labs: In a firmly tongue-in-cheek world where robots have replaced all human jobs, step into the ‘Job Simulator’ to learn what it was like ‘to job’.
Fantastic Contraption, by Northway Games in collaboration with Radial Games: Imagine walking around a grassy island floating in the sky, building a machine the size of a horse with your own hands, and then watching it roll out into the world.
But it’s not just about gaming. In addition to these launch titles, HTC is working with developers to foster the creation of content that spans multiple sectors including entertainment, retail, education, design, healthcare and automotive.
“From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of virtual reality, with HTC pioneering several ground breaking technologies,” comments Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO, HTC. “Since announcing Vive this time last year, we have worked tirelessly with Valve to deliver the best VR experience on the market, winning multiple awards and receiving critical acclaim from media, consumers and the industry. With the Vive consumer edition we are now able to realize our ultimate vision; bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive virtual reality in a way that fires the imagination and truly changes the world.”
The Vive consumer edition will be available to pre-order from 29th February, with pre-order fulfilment and full commercial availability starting in early April. Priced at US$799, the UK’s current exchange rate brings this to £554.63, the Vive is the first complete VR solution, including two wireless VR controllers, room scale movement sensors, and an HMD featuring a built in camera and phone, plus the two VR titles. The integration of SteamVR into the bundle ensures that all Vive equipment is kept up-to-date with the latest features.