HTC started to take pre-orders for the Vive today at 10 a.m. ET, introducing a virtual reality platform that will cost $799 and go head-to-head with the Oculus Rift.
HTC, which has also announced international pricing for the Vive (it’ll fetch C$1,149 in Canada, £689.00 in the U.K., and €899.00 across other parts of Europe, for example), said the pre-order package bundles in three VR titles: Fantastic Contraption, Job Simulator and Tilt Brush, a 3D painting system from Google. The Vive kit will also include two wireless controllers and a 360-degree tracking and room scale movement sensors.
HTC, which is limiting orders to one Vive unit per customer, said it expects to start shipping the Steam VR-powered platform on April 5.
Like the Oculus Rift, the HTC Vive users must tether the platform to a high-octane PC (HTC recommends PCs with an Nvidia GeForce GTC 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 equivalent or greater GPU, Intel i5-4590/AMD FX 8350 or greater CPU, at least 4 gigabytes of RAM, and HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 or newer video outputs).
Out of the chute, the HTC Vive will be a bit pricier than the Oculus Rift, which opened preorders on January 6 and starts at $599. Earlier this month, Oculus started to take pre-orders on Oculus-ready PCs and Rift bundles that start at $1,499.
Samsung, meanwhile, is trying to prime the virtual reality pump by bundling the Oculus-powered Gear VR headset with its new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge smartphones. The Gear VR regularly sells for $99, but is compatible only with select Samsung smartphone models.
Google reportedly is working on at least two new VR platforms -- a smartphone-powered viewer that would be a notch above its Cardboard platform, as well as a self-contained VR headset.
In January, the Consumer Technology Association predicted that interest in new VR products, such as the Oculus Rift, Gear VR and HTC Vive and coming Sony VR headset for the PS4, will cause unit sales to surge 500% in 2016 and reach 1.2 million units sold. CTA also expects VR to generate $540 million in revenues this year, up 440% from 2015.