Cyber Reality: HTC Vive Pre-Orders Now Open

Your new children.

Kiss your meatwife goodbye and take a photo of yourself for your meatdaughter to cherish, for you are soon to transcend the flesh and enter the cyberworld. I mean, if you have £700/$800/€900 spare, a powerful PC, and someone who’ll refill your nutrient paste tubes and empty your bucket.

The Vive – HTC and Valve’s virtual reality system which combines cybergoggles with motion controllers and sensors to track cyberusers moving around the room – has just opened pre-orders. They will start shipping on April 5th. They are expensive.

For me here in the UK, it comes out at £746.60 thanks an additional £57.60 in estimate shipping fees and tax. That’s for the cybergoggles, two motion controllers, two movement-tracking base stations, a link box connecting all the cables to a PC, earbuds, various cables, a cleaning cloth, and copies of gadget-making game Fantastic Contraption, the silly Job Simulator, and 3D painting program Tilt Brush.

There’s a limit of one kit per customer, to slow the inevitable scalpers.

If you don’t know anyone who’s getting Vived up, a few Vive games will be at EGX Rezzed in London in April for folks to try.

What’s the difference between this and the Oculus Rift? Alec explains.

I’m not into this latest virtual reality craze myself. I’ve had a few Oculus Rift experiences, all disappointing – not quite right with my wonky eyes, and not exciting enough to merit spending a load of money or mussing up my cool hair. The Vive is more interesting to me, given that it’s made to let folks reach in and walk around, but definitely not enough at this price. And as an awful dreamer, I probably need to be in our reality more, not less. Alec, Adam, and Graham were all quite into VR when they chatted about it in September, but that was before we knew prices – I wonder what they’d say now. Can the rush of VR early adopters provide enough interest and cash for cybergoggles to live long enough to become worthwhile for regular folks this time?

40 Comments

  1. aircool says:

    One thing confuses me (ok, a lot of things confuse me). I wear contact lenses for shortsightedness, but can’t read close up with them in.

    Does that mean I need to wear my contacts or not? Not that I could afford a VR thing. In fact, if you watch that Steam video and go cross-eyed, it works like one of those stereogram pictures.

    • BobbyFizz says:

      Same eye issues here, you don’t need to wear them for VR as the screen is up close. My only experience is with google cardboard and it made my eyes ache slightly when contacts were in.

      • Zhiroc says:

        By your response it seems like you are unaware that there is a far-sighted condition one gets typically as you get older, where you can not focus on near objects. It is why we older people end up having to wear bi-focals/progressive lenses, because we need different lenses for up-close vs distance.

        • Axess Denyd says:

          I don’t think farsightedness should be an issue since the lenses on the headsets cause you to focus to infinity, although I can’t speak form personal experience.

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      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      I wonder if you would just be able to adjust the focus until it works with your impairment. Like you do with binoculars.

      I have astigmatism and never considered this before. How do these devices solve the problem of glasses?

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        DelrueOfDetroit says:

        Don’t even get me started on the problem with Maria.

      • C0llic says:

        I think you can adjust the screen positions for your eyes to solve the glasses problem. I’m sure that won’t work well for all eye problems, though. A try before you buy thing I think. I’m sure we’ll start to see them demoed in certain shops soon enough.

      • Xzi says:

        Vive has both an IPD adjustment and eye relief adjustment, allowing you to re-position the lenses closer together/further apart, and closer/further relative to your eyes/glasses. I’ve heard it said that those with glasses prefer the Vive to the Rift, although the Rift has a different faceplate insert for wearing glasses.

      • MiniMatt says:

        One day I will crowdfund my *totes amazeballs* “prescription motorbike helmet visors” idea.

        Strikes me that any idea involving clamping something inches from your eyeballs should/could have a drop-in lens option to cater for folks with wonky eyes (and particularly those who have one eye at a different strength to the other, or astigmatism etc).

        I’m getting the impression the VR market has thus far only come up with rather wonky speccy four-eyes workarounds.

        • Xzi says:

          It’s just so much easier/cheaper to allow for glasses in the HMD. Although third-party prescription VR lenses are available to do vision correction for you.

          • MiniMatt says:

            I fear (this is my guesswork based on no more knowledge than deep pools of unattractive cynicism) that in-device adjustments to accommodate glasses could result in an uncomfortable/blurry/oddly framed/headache inducing experience – counter to the product’s reason for being, as an unparalleled visual experience.

            Going back to motorbike helmets – glasses plus skid lids are mildly fiddly, and can be mildly uncomfortable – but you’ve got oodles of space in there compared to a VR headset.

          • MiniMatt says:

            (edit: oooh, but third party lens drop-ins sounds like this is already an option, so yay!)

        • Cargo Cult says:

          So long as you’re not Dame Edna Everage, wearing specs should be fine.

          (I’ve had extensive use of this hardware while wearing glasses without any problems. The gap between your eyes and the HMD lenses is adjustable, but I have it at the minimum with plenty of space between my specs and the HMD lenses.)

          • MiniMatt says:

            This thread is beginning to convince me my initial skepticism was wrong.

            Internet comments, people – a forum for reasoned debate and changing of minds. Who would of thunk it :)

          • aircool says:

            You could also attach some camera lenses to the front of the VR Visor so you can see as normal with your headset on if you need to. You could also have those cameras working in IR with an IR light source for night vision, or even image intensifiers should you not want to flash an IR source around and give away your position…

            Yes, a VR headset that also doubles as the perfect peeping tom system. Hell, you could even stream your peeping to other fellow sex pests.

            What are we talking about again?

        • aircool says:

          Kinda screwed when you lift your visor at a stop light. I’ll stick with contact lenses and a pair of specs under the seat ‘just in case’.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Seems pretty needed indeed, as those without viewing issues will start to develop them aswell with some use.

  2. ishmael says:

    Interesting. Think I’ll pass, though, because I can look like a git for free.

  3. hollowroom says:

    In Euros it’s 959.69 all in… but from what I hear the postage is somewhat elastic…

    • Sakkura says:

      990.25 euros for me. It varies by country.

      • hollowroom says:

        Interesting. What country are you in? Apparently it also varies within countries, as me and a colleague paid different prices for German delivery.

  4. BobbyDylan says:

    £58 shipping… that’s £750 for the vive.

    Sorry, but that’s just edging out of reach. I mean, thinking back to when I thought this whole experience was gonna cost me £300, seeing it grow to almost £1000 is sad. I guess I’ll wait or look on Ebay.

  5. Xzi says:

    Got my order in within 5 minutes of it going live. See y’all in the Matrix. :D

  6. dorobo says:

    crazyness.. add up those pc upgrades and that is couple of times too much.

    • Xzi says:

      GabeN will get all your money one way or another.

    • IIIIIIIbarcodeIIIIIII says:

      Totally depends on what sort of gaming you’re doing. I play a lot of sims, so keeping my system up to spec is crucial and something I would be spending cash on, regardless.

      And it’s still cheaper than a decent triple-screen or curved screen set-up.

  7. Axess Denyd says:

    I actually have a preorder in for both, but I haven’t decided which to cancel yet.

    Rift – Looks to be better made, will have exclusive software, compatible with things I already have/want

    Vive – seems less well made, but includes motion controllers, allows better walking around

    I have a feeling pretty much everything that works on the Vive will work on the Rift, but no necessarily the other way around. The Vive will definitely be better for large areas, but the amount of software that will take full advantage of that is questionable. The Rift sounds like it might be more comfortable since it is lighter and is *possible* more breathable (which is important because the thing I hate most about the Gear VR is the lens fogging and the fact that my eyes get really hot in the dead air).

    It’s a tricky choice. The *smart* choice would be “wait”, but I’m impatient.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      When I consider that this is not much more $$ than the Vive…
      link to alpackarafts.com

    • Xzi says:

      It’s a difference of 470g (Rift) and 555g (Vive). The strap system does a good job of balance and weight distribution on both, and people say there won’t be an issue in long gaming sessions with either.

      In a year or two there will be plenty of content for both, and both support side-loaded content outside of Steam/Oculus Home. That said, it seems like Vive has the better tracking system (even compared to Touch), and taller/larger FoV because of the various lens adjustment mechanisms.

      • Axess Denyd says:

        Yeah, that might be true about the tracking system being better–it definitely sounds nice, but I haven’t been able to compare them 1:1 (and very, very few other people have gotten that much of a chance to compare them yet either)…

        But I do think that the Touch controllers are a better design too, because of the shape and the way they fit the hand to the presence of actual analog sticks and additional buttons, and the touch sensors might be cool too… But again, they won’t be out until later so nothing is certian with them. I have a feeling that either decision will both make me happy *and* fill me with a bit of buyers remorse.

        • Xzi says:

          Yes, a bit of remorse is likely, but as soon as you strap on whichever HMD you’ve bought, it should fade away pretty quick.

          Not sure why Oculus decided skyboxes weren’t as important in VR, though, top of the FoV is a fair amount lower on the Rift. That was a big part of my decision to go Vive, along with the adjustable eye relief.

  8. dsch says:

    RPS has been extremely negative over the whole VR thing.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Not RPS – me, I have. Strap a milk carton to Alec’s face and he’ll giggle for a good twenty minutes before he notices what you’ve done.

    • slerbal says:

      No, that’s not true. RPS have been suitably cautious as they should be considering the amount of money involved for something that is not proven commercially viable yet. That said the articles have all definitely hoped that VR *will* work. Rift/Vive have their own marketing teams for cheerleading, I expect (and get) an honest response from RPS, you’ve just chosen to read it as negative.

  9. Alberto says:

    Maybe this is the next Big Thing, but last time I used the “Near” app in my psvita it told me the most played game around was… Youtube.

    And I feel this is the same: a glorified youtube player for first-worlders with more money than common sense.

    That said, I thought the same about smartphones.

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    syllopsium says:

    I’m looking forward to VR, but betting on the Rift. Going to wait for release because it’ll involve a completely new gaming PC.. I’ve briefly tried DK1, and it was quite fun.

    I already have some third party motion controllers arriving, after paying for their kickstarter a year and a half ago. It’s also concerning that the Vive seems to list the same limited number of games over and over again..

    Some people don’t like 3D monitors – mine’s an old Zalman passive monitor, but I still love it. Some games don’t work with it, others are marginal, but the games that suit it are exceptional. It’ll be the same with VR.

  11. twixter says:

    I’ve never been an early adopter, and I don’t even go in for preorders on games I know I’m going to purchase week one at full retail price. I’ve always gone AMD in my of builds to get the most bang for my buck. And yet here I am having preordered both the Rift and the Vive, waiting to see which ships first to decide which I will cancel. I haven’t been this excited since my parents got an Atari 2600 when I was 3.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      Exactly, I started gaming on a 2600 and a Spectravideo back when dinosaurs ruled the earth, and while all of the advances in gaming technology up to now have been awesome, they have pretty much been iterative — better graphics, better sound, more polygons. Doom was an awesome thing, but it was just the next step from Wolfenstein, which was in turn a few steps from non-real time first person mazes–I had a 3D first person Pac-Man clone way back on the PCjr (it was tile-based and turn-based, but it was still FPS-ish).

      VR though…that’s just a whole new ballgame. The Gear VR is the only technology I’ve had that amazes me every time I put it on, and the high-end headsets are lightyears beyond that.

      This is an exciting time.