HTC has knocked $200 off the price of its Vive virtual reality headset, bringing the price down to $599 from $799. That makes it $200 more expensive than the Oculus Rift, which is currently on sale for $399 for a limited time, and the $399 standalone PlayStation VR.
HTC is also bundling VR apps such as Google’s Tilt Brush, EverestVR, and Richie’s Plank Experience, as well as a free trial of Viveport Subscription, a service that lets players try out up to five titles per month. When the Vive first launched for $799 last April, its ability to provide room scale virtual experiences set it apart from the Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR. With the Vive, it’s possible to walk around a designated space and interact with virtual objects by using (somewhat) natural hand motions. At the time, the Oculus Rift only supported experiences in which the user was seated and stationary, requiring a handheld controller rather than gestures.
Much has changed since then: The Oculus Rift now also supports room scale VR and motion controls, and it’s price has also come down significantly. But the Vive’s lighthouse scanners—i.e. the sensors that scan and measure your real world room to create a virtual play area—are generally more accurate than the Rift’s cameras, according to TIME’s video game critic Matt Peckham. Those interested in buying the Vive will still need a powerful and fairly expensive computer to do so.
The Vive’s price drop is one of several efforts being made to address virtual reality’s biggest shortcomings: it’s expensive, cumbersome to set up, and limiting since users must be tethered to a computer. HTC’s decision to cut the price follows Oculus’ decision to do so in March.
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