We expected the HTC Vive to cost a bit more than the Oculus Rift, since it includes its motion tracking controllers in the box (the Rift's Touch controllers don't launch until later this year). That suspicion was confirmed today, as HTC announced the consumer Vive for a whopping US$799.
While the Oculus Rift is taking more of a baby steps approach to VR, starting off with seated games and gradually building up to standing and moving experiences, HTC and Valve are going all-in on room-scale VR from the get-go. The consumer Vive includes (almost) everything you need to walk around a large space in VR, including headset, Vive controllers (which give you hands inside virtual worlds) and Lighthouse base station emitters, which plug into wall outlets to track your movement. Unlike the Rift, the Vive doesn't include any traditional gamepads in the box.
The "almost everything" is due to the fact that you'll still need a powerful gaming PC to power the Vive. HTC says it's still "fine-tuning what is possible with the Vive," but recommends similar minimum specs as the Rift: Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD 290 or greater, Intel i5 4590 or AMD 8350 or greater, with 4 GB RAM and necessary ports. That should make for a (roughly) $900 or more gaming rig, like the Rift. That puts the Vive's minimum total cost somewhere around $1,700.
In addition to all the things we'd previously seen in dev kits – all the room-scale VR components and front-facing camera to help you avoid obstacles – the consumer version of the Vive will also introduce a phone syncing feature that lets you take phone calls and reply to texts while inside VR. HTC hasn't yet gone into detail on what that means, but it's almost certainly a Bluetooth connection between your smartphone and the headset, complete with in in-VR UI for basic messaging functions.
Though it's only for a limited time, early Vive buyers will also get two games bundled with their purchase: the absurd and hilarious Job Simulator and building game Fantastic Contraption. The Rift also includes two games, Lucky's Tale and Eve: Valkyrie, though that's a permanent bundle in Oculus' case.
One other item to note about the consumer Vive is that it doesn't appear to have built-in headphones. So while you get two base stations and motion controllers in the box with the Vive, you also miss out on the Xbox One gamepad and built-in audio that the Rift gives you. All for $200 more than the Rift.
The consumer Vive will be available for pre-order starting on February 29, with the first shipments going out in early April. Be sure to check back at Gizmag, as we'll have a hands-on with the consumer version before long. In the meantime, you can revisit our latest hands-on with the Vive Pre developer kit.