The top widely-available VR headset that money can buy is… gonna take a lot of money to buy.
HTC has released pricing info for its Vive Pro headset that the company showed off at CES and it ain’t cheap. The company had previously detailed that they would begin selling the system as a headset-only package for customers looking to upgrade. The price for that headset is going to be a very steep $799, a price that might have made sense in 2016, but sits far above what other comparable headsets on the market are retailing for now.
Pre-orders for the headset start today and will begin shipping out on April 5. Vive Pro headsets ordered before June 3 will come with 6 months of HTC’s Viveport VR subscription service.
More positively, the company is knocking another $100 off of the price of the regular non-Pro Vive, which will now retail for $499 will all the fixings. This is much more competitive price to meet Oculus’s aggressive $399 price point for the Rift. While the Vive may not be $200 better than the Rift, for people with the available space to take full advantage of SteamVR tracking, I’d say it definitely could be worth an extra $100.
HTC is clearly in a rough position as a company, and it’s going to have to be pretty aggressive in order to stay competitive in the VR space. This really just doesn’t seem to do it in my opinion. It’s likely that when the full package (w/ sensors and controllers) comes out later this year, HTC could be charging at least $999 for it, a price that might be fine for enterprise customers, but doubles the price of the most comparable complete VR system, the Samsung Odyssey.
While Samsung’s headset sports the same dual 1440×1600 OLED screens as the Vive Pro, the HTC headset will utilize Valve’s latest SteamVR tracking system while the Odyssey uses Microsoft’s wireless tracking. Based on my limited demos with both, the Vive Pro certainly seems to be a more sturdy build quality, but that alone is not worth several hundred dollars more, especially when the setup process is so much simpler for Windows Mixed Reality headsets thanks to their inside-out tracking.
HTC fancies itself VR’s premium brand, and while this headset does seem to be the best headset that money can buy on paper. it doesn’t seem to justify this high of a price point when stacked up against the competition already on the market.