Note: The embargo for this news was broken by another publication. Techradar is reporting on what is available to read elsewhere.
HTC has revealed that its Vive virtual reality system will cost $799 (around £550, AUS$1,115) – that includes the headset, room sensors, controllers, and two bundled games. It will be available for pre-order starting February 29, with shipping to start April 1.
It’s a lot of money, and $200 more than the Oculus Rift, but still a smidge cheaper than we were expecting. Remember, this is high-end VR.
HTC has also revealed what the final consumer version will look like. Not an awful lot has changed since we revealed the updated model from CES, but HTC has tweaked the headstrap a bit for added comfort and altered the branding a little.
However the bigger news is what you can’t see. HTC has introduced a new feature to the Vive called Vive Phone Services, which lets you make and receive calls (via an inbuilt mic), send messages, and check calendar updates through the headset.
It’s another way in which HTC and Valve are tackling some of VR’s practical issues, meaning you’re not totally disconnected from the real world while you’re "plugged in". The Vive headset also uses its front camera to recognise when there are obstacles in your way, so you don’t walk into a wall or kick your cat.
All eyes have been on HTC since Oculus VR announced that its Rift headset would cost $599, but while it will ship with an Xbox One controller in the box, the Oculus Touch controllers will be sold separately and won’t arrive until later in the year.
Right now we don’t know how much the Touch controllers will cost, so it’s possible the "complete" Oculus experience could end up costing almost the same as Vive anyway.
For a "limited time", the HTC Vive will also come packaged with two of its own games – Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives and Fantastic Contraption. The Rift, meanwhile, will come with EVE: Valkyrie and platformer Lucky’s Tale.
We expect HTC will reveal more about the Vive shortly, including specific international pricing, so stay tuned.