You May Not Be Able To Get Valve’s Vive Until Next Year

Good news: Valve Time hasn’t entirely disrupted the planned Holiday 2015 launch of the Vive, their much-anticipated VR collaboration with HTC. It’s still on course to happen before the year is out.

Bad news: But, er, only for a lucky few. The main launch has been pushed back to next year.

We don’t know why, but it’s not unexpected, especially given there’s no concerete release date for the consumer Oculus headset yet, so the race is not as acute as it might be. Here’s all we’ve got to go on, sent to us via Valve press release: “Later this year, HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems, with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016.”

‘Limited quantity’ is very much open to interpretation, of course: it could mean hundreds of thousands, it could mean a handful. Expect a web-wide rush and panic once they open orders, however. I sold my Oculus Rift DK2 a few months back in readiness for this, and now just have pray I’m not asleep once Vive orders open.

Hopefully Q1 2016 is a real Q1 2016 too, in which case the masses should only have to wait until Spring. But, Valve Time. We shall see.

Valve also confirm that “over 80 VR titles are known to be in production for the Vive”, and that they’ve had a slightly frightening 10,000 inquiries about dev kits. How many of those are actual developers, and how many of those are actually in a position to develop VR games we don’t know, of course.

The latest game announced for the Valve/HTC Vive is Fantastic Contraption, from Incredipede dev Colin Northway. Graham wrote about that yesterday, if you missed it.

49 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Harlander says:

    Was the front of the Vive designed to unsettle people with Trypophobia or something?

    • Gorm13 says:

      To anyone reading this: Do not image search “trypophobia”, for your own sanity’s sake. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

      • Runty McTall says:

        From Wikipedia:

        Trypophobia,[2] is a claimed pathological fear of holes, particularly irregular patterns of holes. The term was coined in 2005 from the Greek τρύπα (trýpa) “hole” and φόβος (phóbos) “fear”.[3] Thousands of people say they have the condition.[1] It is not recognized in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) or other scientific literature.

        And yeah, the google images that pop up when you search for it are seriously weird / disturbing.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Why did you tell me about this? Now these images are burned into my brain.

        Shudders

      • vlonk says:

        Naturally after your comment I immediately did the opposite of your recommendation and then instantly regretted my decision. I can now attest that I do not fear holes. The pictures where pretty disgusting though, thx for the warning, should have taken it seriously.

      • Al Bobo says:

        Yesterday I watched trypophobia screening video just before I went to sleep. I saw a nightmare, where intelligent zombies full of holes destroyed the humanity and turned half of the people into powerful ghoul slaves that needed heart blood to live. Trypophobia videos, never again…

      • 123kings says:

        Thank you for making me search.

      • Elusiv3Pastry says:

        Well, that’s enough internet for today.

      • Emton says:

        The horror…. the horror…

    • jellydonut says:

      It’s nowhere near dense enough to qualify for that.

  2. Phinor says:

    So small quantities in mid 2016 and proper release late 2017. Like with Oculus. Got it.

  3. Cinek says:

    I’m not surprised at all.

    “via a limited quantity of community and developer systems, with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016.” – Is it just me, or all it means is that Q1 2016 still won’t be a release but rather just a distribution limited to the “community and developer systems”?

    • Asurmen says:

      It’s slightly ambiguous but I suspect the larger rollout is more than community and Dev.

  4. Pulstar says:

    How many of those fabled VR devs will churn out anything better than alpha tech demos?

    • Premium User Badge

      Thirith says:

      A pretty rich scene of (mainly indie) developers has been working on VR material ever since the first Oculus Rift Development Kit came out. In addition, a fair number of games (e.g. Elite Dangerous) already work pretty well with the DK2. You may want to check out this website: link to theriftarcade.com

    • K_Sezegedin says:

      Don’t know, nor do I care, – I’m getting a VR set as an upgrade to my Track IR in sims, as Oculus DK2 *already* works and works great in DCS, Elite Dangerous, Rise of Flight, and even Space Engine.

      Also works in Arena Commander and probably Rogue System will be getting VR support soon too.

      Any other games that come along are just icing.

      • Reapy says:

        I was wondering oculous would be a ‘tactical’ upgrade over track IR. It is no doubt an immersion one (and that enough is reason to use it), but I wonder if the ww2 pixel hunting game is better on a large, high rez monitor? I was lucky enough to try the crystal cove but didn’t have a good basis for figuring out the resolution changes. On a DK2 in elite it was a bit tough to pick out craft at a distance, I felt I could have noticed changes easier on a good monitor.

        In any event, I can’t wait to feel like I’m flying an old ww2 plane for real when I get my oculus, to look around the cockpit and peer out around me.

  5. Themadcow says:

    I remember reading recently that they planned to go in with higher end pricing than Oculus and Morpheus partly due to their ‘first to market’ proposition which would reduce price sensitivity. If they end up delaying it until near the time of the other VR sets then that’ll have a real impact on their business model.

  6. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Got too burned with early adoption in recent years. Was happy to buy a DK2 and was lucky enough not to have problems with it, but I am going to be waiting until other mu … people have ironed out the wrinkles for me before buying one. I am not making another “X99 mistake”

    • SingularityParadigm says:

      “X99 mistake”? I’m trying to imagine how owning an X99 platform system could possibly be a mistake, and I’m failing to come up with an answer. Care to elaborate?

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I should have said “buying X99 at release mistake”. A lot of the mobos and initial cpu batches were very shaky.

        • SingularityParadigm says:

          Hmm… I bought in at release and I’ve had some issues with my 5820k installed in an ASUS X99 Deluxe randomly downclocking (to 700MHz) recently. I wonder if I’ve fallen into the same problems you encountered? A restart and jiggering a few things in the UEFI seem to have solved it though and its running at 4.4GHz again. Might just need to repaste and reseat the the waterblock.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Yeah I have the exact same board, and the first one was just toast. Either it wrecked my CPU or vice versa, but my first 5820K would go to JUST ABOUT 4.GHz (way below the average at the time), and then started becoming unstable. There were weird crashes in the BIOS screen, the machine was unstable even unclocked. There were a lot of articles at the time about power delivery problems with the Deluxe at release, and a lot of complaints. Thankfully I got an exchange after a lot of heartache with amazon on the deluxe, and then got a new 5820K via the intel tuning plan. System has been happy at 4.5GHz ever since.

            Didn’t stop me from having another similar experience with the ACER XB270HU, which was actually withdrawn from sale on amazon for a while due to it quality issues. So yeah, early adoption is not a thing I am doing anymore. Having something first is a bit like having a nice chocolate bar. Once you’ve eaten it you can’t eat it again, and it gives you a headache anyway and can be very difficult to … give back.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            I wish edit would come back. When I said “became unstable”, I mean it would OC to 4 fine at first, then over a month or so it would only do 3.8, then less etc. The above just made it sound like an unstable overclock.

      • pepperfez says:

        Maybe that commenter got the seminar version rather than the executive? I would certainly be frustrated by that.

    • Reapy says:

      No doubt a smart move, I’d be firmly in your camp any other time, but the VR hype train has been nipping at me since I first watched JC’s quakecon talk.

      My wait was to skip the DK’s, but I’ll be all over the consumer release. I do KNOW that you are 100% right, wait for the v2 to fix issues as well as have sufficient time pass for the good software to bubble to the top…b..bu.buut VR MAN, FUCKING VR!!!!

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        The DK2 was and is great, but the biggest problem with it was lack of content. Devs had been working hard on games for it, but Oculus was in a constant state of flux with the SDK. A LOT of devs deserted it and stopped developing until Oculus had a finished unit. This means that when the consumer rift releases, its likely to suffer from a PS4 problem, where there aren’t actually that many compelling experiences for it. Sadly, that it what lead to a lot of DK2 owners putting the thing in the cupboard.

        So this combined with the inevitable technical issues that are going to crop up means it only seems wise to wait until the thing has been out for a while. Batches will be better quality, the SDK and drivers will be nailed down. I can’t blame you for really wanting to try it out, after all that’s why I bought the DK2: I couldn’t wait :D

  7. Not_Id says:

    I am bored with vr before it even begins. At this point it would have to be something truly momentous to get me to spend any money on a vr headset. If Valve were to release another Half-Life game that is VR ONLY then I’d buy one.

    • K_Sezegedin says:

      It’ll probably be niche gear, if you’d be interested in it for FPS you’re not going to bite, as that’s likely its least interesting and least useful application.

      If you’re not using a HOTAS control scheme + head tracking solution already, just watch VR from the sidelines and see if it turns into something appealing to the mainstream.

    • Reapy says:

      HL3 VR seems like a really good bet to make.

      They mentioned that each half life had to have some sort of ‘oomph’ and really a VR driven half life would be the same kind of step up the other ones brought. Half life shows how to do scripted sequences, Half life 2 shows physics engines in action, Half life 3… what ‘new’ tech do we have around? Better scripting/physics? Been done to death. VR, not yet… and what would move VR units better than half life 3?

  8. Synesthesia says:

    Does anyone know if both vr platforms will work with the same games? I’d rather buy a vive, but if I can’t play assetto corsa, dcs, etc etc with it, i’ll be forced to buy an occulus. Poor me.

    • Elusiv3Pastry says:

      I’d like some clarification on this as well.

      • Not_Id says:

        PCGamer Q&A with Oculus VP Nate Mitchell:

        PCG: I think Oculus Home is an interesting thing for PC gamers. You can get PC games in a lot of places, but most people get them on Steam. I think there was probably an assumption two years ago that you’d be getting Oculus Rift games through Steam, and now that’s probably not the case. Can you talk about what it’s going to be like to publish games for Rift? Will they only be available through Home, or will that just be one place you can get them?

        Mitchell: It differs from developer to developer. We’ll have some exclusive games that you can only get through Home. Probably a lot of our stuff, right? That just makes sense. If we’re making it, we want to sell it through our own store. But there will be stuff you can buy directly from developers, for example. We’ve said from the beginning that the Rift—the hardware itself—is an open platform, and that’s really important to us. We think it matches the PC ecosystem really well. So, for example, if we make a game together, we can sell it directly to a consumer, they can run it, they can play it on the Rift, awesome.

        But on the flip side of that, we want to make sure it’s a great experience for us to get our game to Rift users really easily. If I’m a Rift user and I go home, I install all the Rift software, I put on the Rift, and I drop right into Home. We can put our game front and center in the store right there, they can buy it, install it, play it, all without taking the headset off. That’s an experience that you can’t get through Steam, you can’t get anywhere, really, even from us as developers. We really want to make sure that user experience is as seamless as possible, for users and for devs. Does that make sense?
        link to pcgamer.com

        • Elusiv3Pastry says:

          Thanks, I missed that article. So that’s a no, then?

    • Not_Id says:

      Both will have their own exclusive and multiplatform games. So yes and no.
      If you like the look of any Oculus and Valve exclusive titles then you’ll have to buy both.
      Looks like the future of gaming isn’t going to change any time soon. Corporations and developers are still stuck in that console mindset.

      • Synesthesia says:

        I’m sure there will be exclusives, regarding the movement limitations the vive does not have, but i seriously hope games that only require head tracking will work with both. It would be a bit of a dick move if they didn’t.

        • Not_Id says:

          Doesn’t look like that will happen:

          “Expanding on that point, he said that developing software for multiple types of VR headsets is a more complex process than most people realize, largely because of the proprietary SDKs involved. Because of that, the Oculus Rift store won’t carry software developed for other platforms because it will have no way to ensure it will work properly. “When the software people purchase through us stops working, they don’t care about the reason, they feel like they got screwed,” Luckey wrote. “We can’t build our business on workarounds that we have no insight or access into.”
          link to pcgamer.com

          • ResonanceCascade says:

            Yeah, but how many VR developers are really going to fragment their audience and only release on one headset? I guess if one of them flops and the other one is a big success that might be an issue, but I think most projects will be released for both systems.

        • SingularityParadigm says:

          Oculus Constellation is also capable of Room-Scale walking experiences. The Rift and the Vive have feature parity.

  9. ResonanceCascade says:

    It’ll be interesting to see how this affects the sales of both the Rift and the Vive, since the only big selling point for the Vive was the release date (unless you’re part of the uber elite superniche that is planning on having a dedicated VR room).

  10. Timbrelaine says:

    Big break for Oculus.

    In some ways I’m glad that there will be multiple competing platforms, because more ideas for controllers etc. will be tried on the market; in the long run, it may be good for everyone.

    On the other hand, the user base was already small, and now it’s split. VR will need to be a pretty big hit to sustain itself.

  11. Flavour Beans says:

    “a limited quantity of community and developer systems”

    My Spider-Senses tell me that ‘community’ means that the first batch is going to be going to YouTubers. Ugh.

    • malkav11 says:

      Why would they prioritize Youtubers? They can’t make videos of the games, just themselves looking dumb in a headset.

  12. racccoon says:

    Yep lets all look like douchebags.. Wear a VR headset!!
    These ideas are OLD DUMB Stupid & f u Seeed…

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      You’ve been drinking Buckfast again, haven’t you