A lot of effort is going into making virtual reality the next big thing for the living room. From the Oculus Rift to PlayStation VR, it seems like everybody is trying to get some form of virtual reality equipment out on the market. Even Valve, the company behind the Steam platform and Portal, is trying to make moves in the VR space through a partnership with HTC.
The HTC Vive recently went up for preorder with a $799 price tag (plus $30 shipping). Now we've gotten our first look at what comes with the Vive, letting potential buyers know exactly what they'll get if they decide to go ahead and order the system.
Polygon revealed the breakdown that was sent when their preorder was processed, which included a full list of items contained in the Vive box. The list is actually fairly impressive, as the Vive appears to ship with everything that's needed for the experience. In addition to the base units, link box and headset, buyers receive two controllers, mounting kits for the stationary components, charging cables, an HDMI cable and even earbuds and a cleaning cloth.
Of course, the one thing that's not included with the Vive is the PC that it connects to. The Vive is a fairly serious piece of VR hardware, and requires a decent PC to properly render the environments that users interact with. It's not just creating the VR environment that puts pressure on the computer, either; the Vive has a front-facing camera, a collision detection system to prevent users from running into objects, two independent controllers and other features in addition to the main VR component that your PC will have to process while rendering the virtual environment. HTC's recommended system requirements can be found here.
It's easy to see that HTC is trying to make the Vive into the definitive VR experience. They've gone on the record as saying that they're proud of the system's $799 price point, so it's unlikely that they'll strip down features to try and undercut the Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR in the future. The company wants to give its customers a satisfying experience, and a big part of that seems to be making sure there aren't any accessories or additional purchases (aside from games and apps) that are required to get the full experience.
While the Vive is the most expensive of the three VR systems currently coming to the market, it's also the most feature-packed. Reviews of the system are generally gushing, and there are some pretty amazing hands-on videos out there, like an animator making virtual art that he can walk around and interact with. While the Vive is obviously being marketed toward gamers because of the role Valve has played in its creation, the system has a wide range of uses beyond gaming. It's not necessarily targeted toward the general consumer, but there will likely be a good number of people who order one anyway.
The HTC Vive is currently available for preorder. Units are expected to begin shipping in May 2016.