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HTC's VR headset will cost more than Oculus Rift

By Leo Kelion
Technology desk editor

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image copyrightGetty Images
image captionHTC's Vive headset includes a front-facing camera so the wearer can see nearby real-world objects

HTC has revealed that its virtual reality headset will cost $799 (£554) and become available towards the start of April.

The Vive was originally supposed to launch in 2015.

It is now set to begin deliveries a few days after Facebook's rival Oculus Rift, which is $200 cheaper.

One expert said consumers were suffering "sticker shock" from both prices, to which they must add the cost of a powerful enough PC.

"It's going to be very difficult to make a judgement as to whether the Vive is worth the extra $200 until we see the range of games it is launching with," said Ed Barton from the tech consultancy Informa.

"Oculus's cost already put the Rift firmly into enthusiast territory, so I think it will be difficult to create any substantial market at an even higher price, which HTC needs to do if it is to build up an ecosystem around its device."

image copyrightAP
image captionFacebook's Oculus division says it will begin deliveries of the Rift headset in March

The price comparison, however, may not be totally fair.

HTC has said that its price tag includes two bundled controllers. The Rift's controllers will not become available until some time after June and their price has yet to be disclosed.

HTC also revealed that it would include two games as part of its deal:

  • Fantastic Contraption - a building game in which people construct machines with their hands
  • Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives - a humorous title set in a world dominated by robots in which people can see what it was like to have to do jobs themselves

The Taiwanese firm made the announcement in Barcelona ahead of the start of the Mobile World Congress tech show.

It also said that it would begin accepting pre-orders in a week's time.

Higher specifications

Many people who have tried both headsets believe that the Vive has the potential to offer a superior experience.

Unlike the Rift, it includes a camera system that allows the wearer to see real objects close to them, helping them to avoid bumping into furniture.

By pressing a button on a handheld controller, the objects appear in ghost form, superimposed onto the virtual reality environment.

The Vive has been developed in conjunction with Valve, a US firm whose Steam platform is one of the most popular ways to buy games online, which should give it another advantage.

media captionSony's chief executive says more than 100 titles are being developed for its VR headset

Even so, many are predicting that Sony's more basic PlayStation VR could become the most popular of 2016's headsets if the Japanese company makes it cheap enough.

"PlayStation VR has a fantastic opportunity," said Mr Barton.

"But Sony may have to sell its hardware at a loss to begin with and try to make it up via volume, game sales and licensing revenues over the lifespan of the device."

Related Topics

  • HTC
  • Virtual reality

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