The HTC has just started to show off version 2 of its Vive VR Headset, powered by Valve VR. It’s officially called the Vive Pre. And is also known as the VK2.
The Vive was originally supposed to be released at the end of 2015. This was an ambitious release date that would give the Vive a solid head start against its main competitor – the Oculus Rift. But as December came, Vive had a new announcement to make. This time, it was to say there would be a delay but it was related to them working on a breakthrough.
Today, we are finally able to see what this break through is. It’s a sort of “Matrix-Vision” (as UploadVR puts it) or “Tron-Mode” (as Tom’s Hardware puts it). It’s officially known as the Chaperone System. This trick is accomplished using the new front-facing camera on the headset combined with the wireless Lighthouse trackers.
What this does is wireframe your room, including even objects and people. This allows you to walk around and interact with your environment even while wearing the VR Headset. For example, you would be able to find and work on your keyboard without leaving VR. The Vive has always offered the ability to mark out the edges of your room, but this “breakthrough” takes it to a whole new level.
And there are some other notable changes in the new Vive Pre. The headset is noticeably more compact. The screen is brighter. And they added something they call “Mura correction”, which they claim will lead to a “far sharper picture”.
They also updated their controllers. They are now sleeker looking. They have been redesigned to be more ergonomic and balanced. And the battery will last for a full 4 hours.
HTC has currently produced 7,000 VK2’s that are going out to developers only.
The consumer release is expected to be in April. The pricing is not yet determined, but expect it to be on the higher side since Vive says they are trying to be the most premium VR Headset on the market.
So, which will be better? The Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive? Well, Oculus currently has the lion’s share of the world’s VR talent under its tent, and it has the pocketbook of behemoth Facebook to play with. On the other hand, Vive has stated that they are trying to be even more premium than the Rift. Vive will be more of a holodeck experience, whereas the the Rift may be more of a sitting console experience. Competition is a great thing. And they promise to both be breathtaking experiences. Why not get both?