It’s no surprise that the HTC Vive was always going to be expensive. In fact, HTC has been upfront about it being a high-end product with a high-end price tag since day one. So the news coming out of Taiwan today that the HTC Vive might be priced as high as $1,500 might not be such a shock to some.
Personally, I expected it to be even higher. But considering how upset everyone got when the Oculus Rift was revealed to cost $599, it’s safe to say there’s probably going to be a bit of brouhaha about the HTC Vive price too.
The good news in all of this is that there is literally a VR headset for every budget. On the low end of the spectrum, Google Cardboard can be built for free and Samsung’s Gear VR is under $100. The Oculus Rift jumps to $599 and Sony’s Playstation VR is rumored to have a price tag anywhere between $800-$1,200. Against this backdrop, a $1,500 HTC Vive is simply the most premium so far.
In all fairness, I’d have to say it’s also the best VR experience you’ll find. I haven’t had a chance to try the final version of the Rift yet, but if it’s anything like the countless non-final versions I’ve demoed, it simply doesn’t stack up to the immersive smoothness of the Vive.
Of course, at more than double the price of the Rift, the HTC Vive will need some very positive feedback when it launches in April, especially when the Rift ships a month earlier. But the Vive was always going to be a niche product. HTC didn’t set out to make a premium VR headset at a bargain basement price; it set out to make the best virtual reality experience available, and it wisely partnered with Steam VR for the win.
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But there’s no saying this is the absolute final price for the HTC Vive either. The figure was reported by Focus Taiwan, based on estimates by “foreign brokerages”. Those estimates laid the cause of the higher price tag at the feet of the Vive’s spatial recognition and advanced wireless controllers.
Considering the HTC Vive is pretty similar to the Oculus Rift specs-wise, at the outset it might be a hard sell for HTC to justify a price tag that’s two and a half times higher. Once both devices are on the market and consumer feedback floods the market, we’ll soon see if that higher price is justified.
What VR have you tried? What do you think is a reasonable price for the HTC Vive?