In an interview with The Telegraph, HTC CEO Cher Wang confirmed that the company’s Vive virtual reality headset will finally be available for consumer pre-order on February 29th. (Prepare for an abundance of “Leap” jokes.) Wider commercial availability will come in April, placing it hot on the heels of the March 28th ship date for Oculus Rift.
This still leaves us with the question of what the Vive will cost when it is up for pre-order. It’s safe to assume that it will be comparable (if not higher) than the $599 price point of the Oculus Rift, otherwise HTC would be squandering an opportunity to head off some Rift pre-orders by announcing pricing now.
Wang also explained that HTC’s shifting focus to wearables and virtual reality was brought on by heavy competition in the smartphone market from the likes of Apple and Xiaomi (as well as other Chinese manufacturers) that are able to throw dramatically greater resources behind marketing than HTC.
While the VR market is in no way as crowded as the smartphone space, it is hardly an empty field at this point. The Facebook-backed Oculus and the Playstation VR, the latter of which has the advantage of merely requiring a $349 console rather than a ~$1,000 PC, are both considerable rivals.
Time will tell if this bet was the right one for HTC.