HARDWARE COMPANY HTC has unveiled a virtual reality (VR) headset developed alongside Valve which it hopes people will prefer over the market setting Oculus Rift.
The Valve link is going to appeal to Steam users, because frankly that's the type of punter that it is aimed at. HTC is opening up orders on 29 February, which only comes round every four years, and presumably hopes that punters will be caught up in the thrill of an extra day on the planet.
"The countdown has begun and is ticking away toward 10am Eastern time on Monday 2/29 at which time pre-orders will open worldwide with pre-order fulfilment and full commercial availability starting early April 2016," said the firm in a promotional blog post about the headset.
"Vive will be delivered as a complete kit allowing users to instantly jump into a fully immersive virtual environment using two wireless controllers, 360-degree tracking and room scale movement sensors. The integration of SteamVR into the bundle ensures that all Vive equipment is kept up-to-date with the latest features."
It's all fun and games. Well, two games anyway. HTC showed off one launch title that appears to let gamers do things like make toast and cook chops. If that sounds boring, the video is below. Don't worry, because there is a headache- or fit-inducing soundtrack to really immerse you in the experience.
Users may also appreciate Vive's new head strap and some other last minute polishing efforts, at least that it is what HTC will be thinking. The firm made much of the thing's non-gaming capabilities, including features like phone compatibility that lets you answer a call while cooking an aforementioned chop.
"Enabling you to stay connected to the real world, without exiting the virtual world, Vive Phone Services demonstrates the ability to combine both realities without losing touch of either," said the firm in the blog post.
"By allowing you to receive and respond to incoming and missed calls, get text messages, send quick replies and check upcoming calendar invites directly through the headset, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for consumers and businesses."
This won't come cheap, though, and other VR headset options are available, but HTC reckons that you will get your money's worth.
"From the beginning, Vive has been at the forefront of VR, with HTC pioneering several ground-breaking technologies," added Cher Wang, chairwoman and CEO at HTC.
"Since announcing Vive this time last year, we have worked tirelessly with Valve to deliver the best VR experience on the market, winning multiple awards and receiving critical acclaim from media, consumers and the industry.
"With the Vive consumer edition we are now able to realise our ultimate vision of bringing Vive into homes around the globe so that people can experience immersive VR in a way that fires the imagination and truly changes the world."
The Vive VR set will cost $799 (£554), about $200 more than the Oculus. However, the Oculus has more than a taint of Facebook and controversy about it. µ
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