For a while there, to get a high-end VR headset, you had to place an online pre-order and then wait months for it to show up on your doorstep. For the very best VR headset, the HTC Vive, that wait is no more. HTC is now shipping new Vive orders within 72 hours and is also expanding its retail presence.
HTC announced today that, in addition to the mere two- to three-day shipping wait for online orders from HTC, the Vive is also launching in "select" GameStop, Microsoft Store and Micro Center brick and mortar stores. And if you pre-order through one of those stores, you'll be able to get your order starting this week.
It's been a rocky launch for high-end VR – not because of the headsets themselves, but because of shipping issues. The Oculus Rift shipped without its hands Touch controllers anywhere in sight (they won't launch until later this year), leaving the headset with gamepad-only play for the time being. Rift pre-orders are still delayed as well, with current purchases estimated to ship in August. It briefly made a retail debut, but those flew off the shelves quickly.
The Vive's delays were never quite as bad as the Rift's, but at launch you still had to wait over a month between order and reception. Oculus and HTC even took a week or longer to cycle through pre-orders placed in their first few minutes of availability.
The Vive's new near-instant availability now makes high-end VR a potential impulse buy for the first time. Considering the Vive is our top recommendation in this burgeoning space, that isn't a bad buy for those with money to spare.
Product page: HTC