You may recall that Valve recently announced the SteamVR platform – well, in a surprise move at MWC, it turns out that HTC is producing a piece of virtual reality hardware using the system.
The HTC Vive is promising to bring virtual reality to the masses with what HTC and Valve are boasting is the “most immersive experience of any VR package”.
The headset, which hooks up to your PC, boasts a pair of 1200 x 1080 resolution displays, and most impressively, an extremely smooth frame rate is promised for your 3D experience – no less than 90 frames per second, with “incredible” audio backing that up apparently.
It uses a “Full Room Scale 360 Degree Solution”, meaning you can walk around your living room and be walking about the virtual world. Special wireless VR controllers are also provided (the headset will come with a pair) that are dead simple and intuitive to use, according to HTC.
The developer version of the Vive will be available this spring, but HTC has dared to date the full consumer product, and claims it will be here before Christmas 2015.
Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC, commented: "Vive creates an exciting opportunity for all developers and content creators, to help us bring virtual reality into the mainstream with an end-to-end solution that completely redefines how we entertain ourselves, communicate with each other, learn and, eventually, how we become more productive. HTC Vive is real, it’s here and it’ll be ready to go before the start of 2016."
So yes, apart from gaming, this will have social and productivity applications too (HTC mentions virtual shopping and chatting as a couple of examples). We’ll be very interested to get a hands-on with the Vive to see how its VR experience really compares to what Oculus Rift offers.
Of course, part of the problem with Oculus is simply that it seems like the thing is never going to come out – if the Vive can indeed get here before the end of this year, that could count for a hell of a lot in itself.