When the brand new SteamVR-powered Vive was unveiled by HTC and Valve at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year, people were blown away. Most of the audience, who had a chance to get a hands-on with the device were ecstatic. One reviewer was at a loss for words after testing it out, “It’s absolutely incredible. This thing is just…my god you guys I can’t even.” Now however, the anticipation has been tempered down by the news that the VR won’t be ready for production until 2016.
In a recent press conference Valve said, “Later this year, HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems, with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016,” while Jeff Gordon, HTC’s senior global online communications manager tweeted a similar timeframe estimate. The price however is still under wraps.
But don’t let that disappoint you, the VR headset is awesome. During the demo at the MWC, people were offered a mind-blowing experiences of The Blu: Encounter where users felt as if they were standing on the deck of a shipwreck at the bottom of the ocean while a huge blue whale swimming by enhanced the experience; Job Simulator where users worked in a kitchen and held a knife juggling show of sorts; a Tilt Brush demo which was a 3D painting simulation; and finally an Aperture Science test facility where users experienced being a robot repairman.
It is said to be a one of a kind realistic experience; it gives you an actual sense of physical transportation, where you feel as if your body moves into another world. According to experts, this illusion is achieved through two 1200×1080 screens with 90Hz refresh rate and 70 internal sensors tracked by a pair of VR base stations called Lighthouse. Two of the sensors in the device allow for positional tracking which means the user can execute any action and the game will keep up even when you walk around a 15 ft. by 15 ft. area.
To track hand and arm movements, there are two wireless controllers for each hand, both with touchpads on top. The back has a trigger for the pointer finger. The device also has an audio jack (audio will be built in as well as external in the final product); the headset is expected to be wired with a single wire while the controllers might be wireless.
Does it compare to Samsung’s Occulus Rift and Sony’s Morpheus? For that you have to get your hands on a set and that is not happening till 2016, so sit tight and wait for the Vive to hit the shelves.