You’ve seen and read a bunch about the Valve & HTC Vive being demonstrated on a show floor or in some cavernous conference room; you might even have been able to try it for yourself in such a space. What’s been more of an unknown is how the much-anticipated ‘room-scale VR’ hardware holds up when used in a more average-sized house, and for long periods rather than just the length of a demo. I’ve had one in my small terraced home in Brighton for just short of a week, and I have a great many things to tell you about it. Specifically, things about space, comfort, image quality, performance and cables. What that all boils down is the essential question of whether this is a device I’m going to use a lot, or just a little. Or: is the VR revolution here yet?
All of the guidance and impressions in this article are based on use of an HTC Vive Pre sent to me by Valve for testing purposes. Other than having a different name stamped on it, it is apparently functionally identical to the consumer Vive due for release in a matter of weeks.
Which leads to this vitally important proviso: everything I have tried is essentially pre-release. To the best of my understanding there are no noteworthy hardware differences between a Vive Pre and a consumer release model, but all software – including firmware, drivers and configuration tools – is subject to change. Particularly, all of the games I have access to are either just demos or in some state of incompleteness. This article focuses more on the practicalities of using a Vive than on what the software experiences are like for precisely that reason. Come April, and a flood of releases, we’ll be saying a whole lot more about that side of things.
I’m going to break this into categories, purely for ease of navigation and comprehension. The links below will take you where you want to go, or there are page links at the bottom of the page if you want to read it all.
We’ve written a lot about the Vive elsewhere on the site, too. If the above sounds like it won’t answer your question, try these:
And if you want to try the HTC Vive for yourself, consider coming along to next month’s EGX Rezzed in London, where the headset will be playable with five games.