Everything You Need to Know About the HTC Vive

The HTC Vive is a new virtual reality device created in partnership between Valve and HTC. The Vive is scheduled to be released on April 5, 2016. Here are some of the most important things you need to know about it.


What is the HTC Vive?

The HTC Vive is a head-mounted virtual reality display that looks similar to the Oculus Rift. It also looks like a pair of ski goggles with the entire front lenses covered in plastic.

The device is designed to use “room scale” technology to turn your room into a 3D space using sensors. This allows the user to navigate naturally around the room while simultaneously walking around the virtual world.

While exploring your virtual world, you use handheld controllers to track your motion. These handheld controllers can be used to manipulate objects and interact with the virtual world.

When is the Release Date?

The HTC Vive will be released on April 5, 2016.

The device was unveiled during HTC’s Mobile World Congress keynote in March 2015. In the year since its announcement, the Vive has won dozens of awards, including 22 awards at CES 2016, when a final preview version of the device was made available.

The first prototypes of a Valve-made virtual reality system appeared in 2014. Beginning in early 2015, we began to hear news about HTC teaming up with Valve to create a virtual reality device.

What’s Included with the HTC Vive?

Your HTC Vive virtual reality kit comes with all of the following:

-HTC Vive head-mounted display with a camera near the bottom rim

-Two handheld controllers

-Two Lighthouse base stations

Tech Specs for the HTC Vive

-Resolution: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)

-Refresh Rate: 90 Hz

-Field of View (nominal): Approximately 100 degrees

-Weight: 555 grams

-Platform and Operating System: SteamVR platform (available on Windows, OS X, and Linux)

-Connections: 1x HDMI 1.4 and 1x USB 2.0

-Inputs: Video, data, and Bluetooth

-Display Type: OLED

-Sensors: Uses more than 70 sensors, including a MEMS gyroscope, accelerometer, and laser position sensors

-Range: Operates within a 15 feet x 15 feet tracking space when used with both Lighthouse base stations (each station tracks your movement within less than a millimeter)

-Games: Pre-orders for the HTC Vive opened at the end of February 2016, at which point HTC and Valve announced that 107 games were currently available or coming to their VR platform

What Kinds of Games Will Be Available?

The HTC Vive is placing a heavy emphasis on independent developers and user-generated titles.

The platform supports the Unity engine, for example, and HTC Vive has declared an open policy for independent developers, who they want to “go and be healthy” when contributing to the virtual reality community on the HTC Vive.

HTC and Valve have also declared that they want the platform to have educational games and practical applications, including in the worlds of healthcare, education, and even space applications for NASA.

To encourage independent development on the platform, Valve has released an OpenVR software development kit (SDK), which is an updated version of its Steamworks VR API.

In addition to the Unity engine, Epic Games has announced that its Unreal Engine 4 will also support SteamVR, and that the platform is completely integrated into Unreal Engine 4 across Blueprint visual scripting and native code. In layman’s terms, that means projects can be built without depending on programmer support.

HTC Vive Pricing

HTC Vive pre-orders were opened around the world starting in February 2016.

The device is priced at $799 USD + $30 USD shipping.

Your price varies according to your country. Canadian customers pay $1149 + $65 CAD shipping, for example. Australians pay $817.27 + $110 AUD shipping. Customers in France pay 899,00€ + 73.20€ shipping. Customers in the UK pay £689.00 + £57.60 shipping.

You can order the HTC Vive through Steam or through the official HTC Vive website at HTCVive.com.

The upfront sales price is just one part of the HTC Vive’s final cost. You’ll also need a beefy computer in order to run the VR system in the first place.

What Kind of Computer Hardware Do You Need?

To run the HTC Vive and its games, HTC recommends the following specs:

-Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 / AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater

-Intel i5-4590 / AMD FX 8350 equivalent or greater

-4GB or more of RAM

-HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer

-1 x USB 2.0 port or greater

-Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, or Windows 10

These specs are very similar to the Oculus Rift’s requirements (right down to the same video card and processor recommendations). The only major difference between the two in terms of requirements is that the Oculus Rift recommends 8GB of RAM or more as well as 2 x USB 3.0 ports.

What Do Reviewers Have to Say About the HTC Vive?

Ultimately, the HTC Vive is already getting high praise from across the tech community. TechRadar.com has come out and said that the “HTC Vive might have won the VR war before it ever begun”. The device has been widely praised for offering a more complete VR experience along with intuitive controls. Reviewers have also praised the partnership with Valve, which should deliver plenty of games in the future, including plenty of interesting independent games in addition to big budget titles.

The only real complaints we’ve read about the Vive so far revolve around the $800 USD price tag, the requirement for a high-end GPU, and the requirement for plenty of hard drive space.

The HTC Vive will go on sale starting on April 5, 2016.