HTC Vive

Author: Andreas Johannsen
Date: March 24, 2016

HMD HTC Vive

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HTC Vive is one of the three big high-end providers of VI, being released in 2016. The release date is set for April 5, this year, and already now, there are huge expectations of HTC Vive. The question, then, is whether the product can live up to the expectations?

Buy VR Guide score
Score_5outof5_b

Plus
  • Very lifelike/immersion
  • Complete set with tracking
  • Positional tracking
  • Currently the best VR productHøj indlevelse/immersion
Minus
  • High PC requirements

Summary

If you want the best virtual reality experience this year, you’ll probably have to face the fact that you’ll have to invest in a high-end headset connected to a powerful desktop PC. One way to do this is with the HTC Vive. In contrast to the other two high-end headsets, Rift and Playstation VR, HTC gives you an extra dimension, since you can now walk around freely. This means, that you will no longer have to sit in one place, but rather you will be able to move through a parallel universe.

 

HTC Vive Review

Without question, Vive is the most advanced VR package, which so far is scheduled for release in 2016. HTC Vive is a total package, consisting of a VR headset, controllers, and two small black boxes (also called base stations). These are used to track your movements in space. The HTC boxes don’t just help track when you move your head, but also when you move your hands, move your body, or interact with things in the virtual world. This is made possible via laser from the black boxes, which function synergistically with the goggles and the controllers in your hand. You get the best experience by placing the two little boxes diagonally in opposite corners of the room. The optimal room size is 4.5 meters.

HTC Vive has a built-in function known as chaperone, which keeps you from bumping into things in the room when you are in the middle of a VR experience. More precisely, a grid shows up in the virtual world, if you are close to hitting the wall or other things in the room. An awesome feature not offered by any of the other high-end companies.

In contrast to Oculus, HTC has no built-in headphones, but a standard set of headphones is included.

One of the few flaws I’ve noticed about the HTC package is the 5 meter long wires hanging from the headset. Obviously, the wires serve a necessary function and must be used with a high-end computer in order to get the best possible experiences. While everything else about HTC looks sophisticated, this particular thing could have been done a little more elegantly.

PC Requirements

Just as with Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive also requires a powerful PC to get the ultimate VR experience.

 

VR Software/Contents

The contents can be divided into the following categories:

  • VR – 180- and 360-degree video
    • Video filmed with a special camera type
    • Can give you the experience of sitting at the stadium watching your favorite team winning the championship or of seeing the musical “Phantom of the Opera”.
  • VR experiences
    • Animated experiences
    • Can do things like taking you on an educational journey through the universe or take you on a ride on the craziest rollercoaster
  • VR games
    • Computer games, where you are typically placed inside the game world
    • May be something like steering a spaceship or maneuvering yourself around inside the game world

Below, I have listed examples of 2 games for HTC Vive

 

Time Machine VR

The game takes you back to Jurassic Park/Dinosaur times, where your task is to find DNA to control a rampant virus. The game is compatible with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The game is ready when HTC Vive is released in April and costs €19.99, equivalent to about DKK 150.

Read more about the game

 

Job Simulator

The game takes place in 2050 and robots have taken over our jobs. Here, you can “learn” what it was like to have a “real job”. You really get busy with your virtual hands and moving around the room. You have the option of putting ketchup on your hotdog in the fast food restaurant, pour coffee into a cup at the office, or cut up cucumbers in the kitchen. The price has not yet been announced.

Read more about the game

HTC Vive Price

You can already order the HTC Vive virtual reality headset now. You can do this through HTC Vive’s official homepage, which you reach by clicking on the “buy now” button below. The price for HTC Vive is DKK 7365, which includes duty, sales tax, and shipping. This is about DKK 2100 more than Oculus Rift.

 Buy HTC Vive

Conclusion

HTC can, unlike Oculus Rift and Playstation VR, give you a full scale 360 experience, where you can track your movements and move freely through the room. With Oculus Rift and Playstation VR, you can use your arms, but the experience is not nearly as intense as with positional tracking and the ability to move around freely. Aside from a few games, we are still waiting for great VR games and experiences from HTC to be released. HTC does, however, have a partnership with game producer Valve, which gives us high hopes for future games and experiences.

It will probably be a while, before wireless high-end gaming will be available, so for now you’ll just have to be careful not to fall over the wires, if the VR experience gets too intense, Furthermore, high-end gaming in the year 2016 requires a big, powerful PC.

In spite of the minor deficits just mentioned, these are easily outweighed by the advantages offered by HTV Vive, which all VT enthusiasts have been awaiting for years. If you have the money and you’re crazy about VR, there is no question that HTC Vive is probably the finest you can experience in VR in 2016.