HTC goes all in on VR after confirming Vive’s pre-order date

Vive, HTC's VR headset. Photo: HTC

Vive, HTC’s VR headset. Photo: HTC

HTC Vive, the virtual reality headset that could make or break HTC, is going up for pre-order on February 29. Like the Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR system, Vive has its own display and needs no smartphone — but you will need a pricey PC.

Vive has already become HTC’s priority, according to founder and CEO Cher Wang. The Taiwanese company has struggled to make its latest smartphones a success amid strong competition from Apple, Samsung, and others — so virtual reality is now its focus.

“Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables and virtual reality is more important,” Wang told The Telegraph.

Developed in partnership with Valve, the studio behind Steam and games like Half Life and Counter Strike, Vive is a complete virtual reality system — not just a headset for your smartphone. It has also been improved to sit more comfortable on your face, even if you wear glasses.

HTC has also added front-facing cameras, so that you can see your surroundings when you need to. This means you don’t have to remove Vive to interact with others, or when you take a break from gaming to grab a snack — though you probably should anyway.

It’s unclear how much Vive will cost, but its main competitor, Oculus Rift, just went on sale with a $599 price tag. Of course, the headset isn’t the only piece of equipment you need to enjoy movies and games in virtual reality.

You’ll also need a computer to power Vive, and it’ll need to be a good one, capable of displaying images at around 90 frames-per-second. According to chip and graphics card maker NVIDIA, less than 1 percent of the world’s computers are powerful enough to do that.

If that doesn’t put you off, mark your calendar for February 29, when you’ll be able to pre-order your Vive for the first time.