Valve, HTC Delay Roll Out of Vive Virtual Reality Goggles
HTC and Valve said Friday, Aug. 28, that the initial shipments of the HTC Vive VR virtual reality headset will be limited. Consumer units won’t be available until the first quarter of 2016. Mobile device maker HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems.
About 10,000 developer kit inquiries have been received for the Vive, and at least 80 VR titles for the Vive goggles are in various stages of development. Among the titles being developed are Fantastic Contraption from Radial Games & Northway Games and Final Approach from Phaser Lock Interactive.
The Vive had been set to launch by Christmas in advance of Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus. The delay means that the release of the Vive VR system will come right about the same time as those two products and compete with them head to head.
Are Valve and HTC gun-shy about their product being one of the early entries in this category, or could it be something else? We reached out to Roger Kay, founder of independent technology market intelligence company Endpoint Technologies, who told us a technical issue with the product rollout is as likely a culprit as anything.
"Perhaps some component remains a bottleneck, and getting it up to spec is taking time," said Kay. "Beyond that, I think VR is going to be a tough sell to a broad audience. Gamers, sure, and a few other specialty uses, but the headset is just too obtrusive for non-geeks to take it up anytime soon."
Both companies might be taking the extra time before Vive’s release to reassess and reshuffle. HTC recently said it would be undergoing a round of layoffs, and Valve hasn’t said much about the Vive system since early spring. The two companies, however, were planning to show off Vive beginning today at the PAX Prime gaming culture convention in Seattle, which runs through Sunday.
The Vive VR system is based on Valve’s Steam VR technology, which has received high marks for its visuals, room-based tracking and movement. Vive offers the most immersive experience of any VR package, using a Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution with tracked controllers that let users get up and walk around in their virtual spaces, according to HTC. The headset will feature high-quality graphics and 90-frames-per-second video.
Virtual reality headsets are meant to provide a full, 3D virtual environment for gamers, with added functionality coming from connected controllers. Although being developed mainly for the gaming market at the moment, many think VR could transfer to other industries such as movies.
"[The headsets could work] in a theater, where they're distributed like 3D glasses," said Kay. "But a lot of toenails are going to get broken before the home market takes off, and maybe HTC is hedging its bets."
Virtual Reality Times:
Posted: 2015-08-30 @ 12:17pm PT
Well, the delayed Vive (as scheduled with the release of other major headsets) should not have to be an issue but in fact a good thing indeed. It will give equal chance to all major headsets to prove their worth yet at the same time and the one among them will be the winner finally.