HTC today announced the release date and recommended retail price of the HTC Vive Pro, the upgraded version of their high-spec virtual reality headset.
The Vive Pro, revealed in early January at the Consumer Electronics Show, will retail for $799 in the US and £799 in the UK and will be available for purchase from April 5, 2018.
HTC also announced that the release of the Vive Pro will have an impact on the pricing of the existing Vive. This will now retail at $499/£499 – a 100 dollar/pounds saving for consumers.
It should be noted, however, that while the existing HTC Vive will continue to be sold with two controllers, two base stations and arguably the headset’s flagship game, Fallout 4 VR, thrown in, the HTC Vive Pro package will only contain a headset.
This suggests that HTC see the Vive Pro’s primary market as existing Vive gamers rather than new entrants to the VR market. Owners of the original Vive are unlikely to be troubled by the absence of controllers and base stations in the Vive Pro package, since the new headset will be compatible with their existing peripherals, but those looking to make the first step into VR are unlikely to be impressed by shelling out 800 dollars for a headset that lacks the necessary controllers.
Nonetheless, those who pick up the Vive Pro by the third of June will earn a six-month Viveport subscription with access to free games each month. They will also benefit from the Pro’s substantial technical advancements, notably a screen resolution of 2880 x 1600 (compared to the 2160 x 1200 resolution of the existing Vive).
Virtual reality hasn’t quite grabbed the gaming market by the scruff of the neck, but the very fact that HTC have seen fit to offer an upgraded version of the Vive, two years after the landmark release of the initial headset, highlights that VR has gained some traction.
The HTC Vive Pro will lead the home VR market in terms of technical specs from April the fifth and could leave HTC well positioned in the market if VR catches fire.