Community Download: Does The HTC Vive Need A Price Cut?

by David Jagneaux • August 13th, 2017

Welcome back to the Community Download, our weekly series that lets you, our members of the UploadVR Community, voice your opinion on a wide range of topics.! Last week we reflected on AltspaceVR’s closing a bit, asking whether or not social VR is really the future of our industry and this week we’re pointing the lens to the hardware side of the spectrum instead.

Oculus recently extended the Rift + Touch bundle $399 sale a few more weeks to let more people that are interested get in on the action. Meanwhile, HTC’s Vive continues to cost a full $799 — twice as much as its competitor. With the addition of Touch and its second sensor (plus a third sensor you can buy separately) the Rift can achieve a very, very similar roomscale 360-degree VR experience, as well as play almost all of Steam’s VR titles.

When you look at it that way, it’s a massive price difference with little practical discrepancy.

 

So we wanted to ask you what you think: Does the HTC Vive need a price cut?

HTC has only dropped the price of Vive for extremely limited sales like Black Friday in the year and a half since the Vive launched, and even after this sale ends the Rift + Touch bundle is still going to be tremendously affordable by comparison. Meanwhile, HTC maintains its stance that the Vive does not need a price cut. So, what do you, as a consumer, think of the price situation in the market right now? UploadVR’s own Ian Hamilton thinks it needs one to stay competitive.

Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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  • Duane Aakre

    I don’t think HTC Vive will ever be able to compete on price, particularly against the upcoming Windows competition. I think HTC/Steam should focus on getting 2nd generation gear out there to justify a higher price point. I think there are a lot of people still sitting on the sidelines not because of price, but because of the limitations of this first generation hardware.

    • Duane Aakre

      I’ve been watching the rumors about the upcoming Iphone 8. It looks like it will cost about $1100 and if Apple could build 40 million of them this year, they’d sell every one. Being in the thousand dollar price range is not a barrier for many people, if they perceive they are getting good value for their money.

      But what if HTC could drop the price of the Vive to $100 and could, magically, make it work on the low end PCs most people have. Would that even be a good thing? I can’t wear mine for more then 30-40 minutes without feeling like I’m overheating. The image quality is terrible. The wire is a major annoyance. There’s no compelling software for the average person like Angry Birds, Candy Crush, or Pokemon. I think all they would do is turn a lot of people off to the whole concept of VR for years. This generation of hardware/software is simply not ready for the general public irregardless of price. And I think this applies equally to the Rift and the upcoming Windows devices.

      • mirak

        but you bough one

        • Duane Aakre

          My original intention was to wait for the second generation, which I thought would be out this year. When it became appear the second generation was coming that soon, I decided to get a first gen. The way I looked at it, I’m 60 years old and if I waited a couple more years, I might be wasting a significant portion of my remaining healthy years just waiting. And, truthfully, I’ve enjoyed it even though I mostly just use it to play paintball on RecRoom for 30 minutes about four or five times a week.

          • mirak

            I bought it thinking it would have a lifecycle similar to smartphones.
            It means that I was prepared to change after one year in case something really awesome came out and couldn’t resist, or that I would just be satisfied with what I got.

            After one year who feels it’s outdated tech ?
            There is no way because there is nothing better.

            And even if there is, I am still amazed each time I put HTC Vive by how the optics are clear, and how the tracking tracks well.

      • mirak

        The cable is a tiny annoyance in comparison of having a full roomscale 1:1 experience at home, that you would not even have dreamed of 3 or 4 years ago.

        I don’t care if average Joe think it’s expensive.
        There is no Chinese copies yet.
        And if there is none it’s because it’s not easy to do.

      • NooYawker

        All legitimate complaints, but such is the burden of being an early adopter. The first iPhone in retrospect was pretty shitty, didn’t even have an app store. I’m sure we’ll look back one day and people will laugh at the first Gen HMD’s.

        • Chris Orris

          A significant factor for me in buying my Vive was wanting to pull it out of a dusty box in 20 years to show people for kicks.

          • NooYawker

            I had the exact same thought. I have the box put away with the instruction sheet still in it. I want the box to be pristine. I bought replacement foam so the original foam is put away as well.. slightly used.

      • “There’s no compelling software for the average person like Angry Birds, Candy Crush, or Pokemon.”

        VR was never made for those kinds of games, and never was intended to be. VR is a technology with gaming enthusiasts in mind first and foremost –the very people who’ve been pushing for it to come to market for nearly the last 30 years.

        Really, we don’t need people like that anyway. People that are only up to the challenge of Angry Birds, and its ilk are not going to be able to handle VR’s hardcore 3D anyway, simply because they don’t have the sensory acclimation from years of gaming in more advanced engines that require a person to think differently than simple puzzle games do.

        VR isn’t for those players in the same way that a top end LeMans racer isn’t for street use, nor a fighter jet for toting your grandmother to the store. If someone’s most articulate expression of their gaming capabilities is Angry Birds, they’ll only hate VR due to their own lack of capabilities and they’ll blame VR, not themselves.

        Not trying to dog you here, but it’s also a misconception that most people are running out and straight out buying an $1100 iPhone –they’re not; the iPhones are most often (over 95% of the time) subsidised by the carrier –which is why you have a phone-contract; meaning that the cost of the phone is wrapped into the cost of the contract, and the phone has basically been financed to you by your phone company on behalf of the manufacturer.

        But you’re right otherwise –this gen of hardware is most certainly not for mass consumption; it’s for the enthusiasts and hardcore gamers that tend to be early adopters that give a lot of feedback to the OEMs to in turn help perfect the next generation. It’s the conundrum of being an early adopter –if you care about such things, you get the advantage of access before the masses get their grubby mitts on it, but you also get screwed by paying more for equipment that isn’t *as refined* as it will be in a few generations.

        But, if someone’s not a hardcore gamer, I wouldn’t recommend spending money on VR hardware anyway because they’ll just be spending money on something that they won’t use enough to justify the ongoing costs of further hardware, further software, and what will eventually evolve into a technological arms race –about like it did with GPUs just 1-2 decades ago.

        But no… HTC doesn’t need to bother dropping the Vive to $100… that’s just not going to happen. Low end PCs can’t handle VR, and trying to adjust VR to work better with them is only asking for more problems than good outcomes –there’s a reason why VR requires the resources it does. Below a certain threshold of framerate, it’ll cause really bad nausea in a lot of people, and headaches in just about everyone –as Nintendo found out some 22 years ago. Those who want to get involved in VR should realize that it’s not going to be a cheap hobby –like anything worth doing, you get what you pay for, and if you buy cheap VR gear, you’ll get a cheap experience.

        • mirak

          It is a cheap hobby.
          I mean if you want to do kite surfing it’s 1500€ for board and sail.
          If your hobby is cars it’s way worse than that.
          There is so many hobbies way more expensive that I don’t understand how gamers can think something that revolutionise gaming is to exepensive.

  • Jeff

    Short answer is yes; top end VR is too expensive for consumer adoption, and can’t be justified through manufacturing and r&d cost either.

    Long answer is no; obviously if it NEEDED a price cut to stay competitive it would already have gotten one. If it is not competetive it has no value to HTC. For many reasons I wish it would get a price cut, but it will only get one if it needs one to stay competitive- so clearly it hasn’t needed one yet.

    • mirak

      It’s adopted by consumers, otherwise it would not be sold in mainstream stores, where you can buy a washing machine.
      This is a big win already.
      It’s sold where you can also buy Apple and Bose products, that’s really a huge win.

  • Kev

    They need to release a Vive Pro or something to that effect. It would have all the existing improvements like tpcast and the deluxe strap + a little bit better resolutions and fov. Double down on the high end because the low end is dominated by massive competition in a race to the bottom.

  • koenshaku

    Cheaper is always better I must say first off, but I think HTC always marketed the Vive as more of a corporate product and a large percentage of their sells probably comes from businesses like from all the VR arcades that have been propping up. This is why they’re likely content without having to market the device where consumers can really purchase them anyway. You only rarely see it in brick and mortar stores with exceptions like MS store or PC outlets like fry’s and microcenter.

    The answer HTC sees is a no, for your casual VR gamer that would be a resounding yes. The rift is certainly inferior tech, but at half the price I don’t know if I would even over look it if I had to choose which of the two to purchase again.

    • TDUBS

      I don’t buy your “the rift is inferior tech b.s.” Maybe a year ago, but not now.

      • koenshaku

        A year after they are still using the same camera sensors which aren’t as efficient or practical as steam’s lighthouses. You don’t have to buy it, but it is what it is.

        • brian greyson

          As the article notes: “the Rift can achieve a very, very similar roomscale 360-degree VR experience.” I haven’t tried both but from reading online it seems apparent that although the lighthouse tracking system may be somewhat technically superior, the average person probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference or even care that much.

          Maybe it’s kind of like wine. Some people really can appreciate a a $100 bottle of fine wine but most people can’t or don’t care and are perfectly satisfied with a $10 bottle. If you buy a vive right now you will be paying a significant premium for a feature that is of questionable value at best.

          • koenshaku

            I agree for the most part you will hear mixed opinions judging by people that own the device. You still have to use three UBS 3.0 ports for room scale and since they’re cameras it just isn’t going to be as accurate. I have heard it works fine from some people, but I have heard that about the PSVR too which uses similar tracking technology without IR though.

          • Mario-Galouzeau de Bocsa

            Actually I have 3 sensors, 1 is plugged to 3.0, the rest to 2.0, this is the advised setting. Works fine. I agree that lighthouse is a better solution for most ppl, but once on your head, you can’t notice the difference of tracking, so it’s a minor issue in my opinion, even at same price. With 400 USD difference, it’s a no brainer.

  • Joseph Paulling

    I don’t have sales numbers to support this opinion, just solely from experience and usability, but oculus has a much better chance of making residual monies from the oculus store than HTC has from viveport.

    HTC lowering their price point would be to maintain their market leadership for high end HMD, which would ensure devs don’t give up on the vive. But with steam being the primary entry point for sales, viveport has to be very weak, meaning all profitability comes from hardware.

    • Xron

      Certainly better? only in bigger roomscale? thats all… Oculus has more games to offer, only bad thing for most people here is that its owned by FB. But as hardware and software platform its equal atleast…
      Ofcourse Vive has Tpcast, deluxe straps, new controllers are comming soon enough, but it all costs extra cash…
      Anyway I wish both headsets would be a great success for their companies.
      P.s waiting for 2nd gen. aswell, but I guess it won’t come until 2018 2h atleast ;(

      • A Hyena

        HTC seems to be going down am ore module route when ya think about it. The knuckles and that wireless headset will probably be as close to a “second gen” as you get from them

    • NooYawker

      Everyone who realized they didn’t have to use Viveport uninstalled it.

  • Cl

    Bundle the deluxe strap with it for $600. Its not competitive at all with oculus being $400.

  • K E

    Give them a break, the Oculus $399 sale begun only a month ago. Maybe the executives at HTC who makes these kinds of decisions have been on summer holiday. (full disclosure: I’m European)

  • Joan Villora Jofré

    Does Oculus Rift price matter if you only get “presence” from HTC Vive? But it’s too expensive for what it offers, I just hope the LG product will also work for me.

    • Justos

      LOL the most fanboy thing ive read in a while.

      • Joan Villora Jofré

        I have interviewed quite a few professionals who use the two daily and everyone says that HTC Vive gives more presence. If I talk about moving from HTC to another company, what company am I a fan boy? Have you tried several HMD’s, including Vive?

        • Mario-Galouzeau de Bocsa

          When were those interviews ? This year ? We’re not talking about the experience provided at release. The advantage Vive had over Oculus was obvious then, but we all (?) knew it was temporary. Did those professionals bother to set up the 3 sensors correctly ?

          • Joan Villora Jofré

            They are companies, not individuals. In total seven companies. Some interviewed them a month ago, the last one less than a week ago. The latter is responsible for facilitating experiences and developments as services to other companies, use all types of headsets, all types of languages. And they have six years of experience. All are Spanish companies. Some have been doing things since the times of the ZX Spectrum, with thirty years of experience behind them.
            I do not talk about room scale; I’m just talking about the headset, without even the controllers. It seems to be an open secret, but, for some reason, I do not see it being discussed. In any case, I have tried all the headsets and I notice it a lot. I do not have any headset, yet. I want to see what have LG or Varjo to offer.

          • Bundy

            I’ve tried both, the sense of “presence” felt the same in each. I didn’t get the impression that one was better than the other in that aspect.

          • Joan Villora Jofré

            It may be because of the demos you tried, or that you are of the lucky ones that both give you presence. Everyone is different. But the usual thing is that Vive gives more; Why? I don’t know. The lenses are pure fresnel, the screens are aligned to slightly different heights, and are just slightly bigger, I do not say it looks better.
            I just know that there are people who claim to feel “presence” with both, I believe it, others only feel “presence” with Vive (as I do) and the last, the least, who have no sense of “presence” with any of them.

          • Mario-Galouzeau de Bocsa

            It’s an impass then. You claim to feel and have testimonies about feeling the presence. I’ve been following VR since DK1. No one I know who tested The Vive and Oculus back up your statement, including satisfied Vive owners. I guess we can agree to disagree. Genuine or not, your feedback on presence is very thin compared with all saying the experiences provided by Vive and Oculus are very close.
            And, back to the beginning : yes, for the same experience, price matters, except maybe for the happy few that can see no one else can. I always advised to test all headsets before making a decision, but since price cut, not anymore.

          • Joan Villora Jofré

            I always advise to test all, and yes, the price matters. But better wait until LG appears (and then test LG too).

  • leodagan

    what i want never will never happen (at least not with this headset in particular) for me, 150 or 200 euro will be the best, not this expensive and not very cheap either

  • NooYawker

    At this point definitely. It’s been out for some time now.

  • GreasyMullet

    Yes because it is no longer the best VR system out. It is just marginally better than Oculus now and the price is absurd. If this was a Gen2 for $800 then I would be fine with the price. For tech thats almost 2 years old with Gen2 around the corner… heck no… and the current price is insulting.

    • polysix

      No it’s not even ‘marginally’ better than rift, I’ve owned both and sold the Vive. Where are you getting this sht from? just repeating other’s opinions on the net?

      Get this – the RIFT is by far the better product all round, comfort, screen clarity, black levels, usage, fit and finish, controllers, software, built in phones (no stupid DAS needed for even more money) and is so slick and comfy to use vs the Vive brick. The only thing vive does, slightly, better is larger roomscale,, and after using it that got old fast. I’m fine now with a 360 + a few steps space, it’s all you need unless you happen to have a warehouse to actually make real use of roomscale without the chap grid continually annoying you.

      Rift > Vive after touch was released even at the same price, at half price? it’s not even close. Vive is closer to DK2.

      • Ryan

        And I’ve owned both and sold the Rift. Rock solid wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling tracking is important to me. With a 100 x 70 degree camera fov, this just isn’t possible with Rift.

  • polysix

    Man it NEEDED a price cut even before the rift offer. I owned one (at full price) and it just wasn’t good enough, felt like a DEV kit, terrible SDE, crappy touchpads, awful ergonomics.. they expect you to spend even more to transform it into something like a consumer kit (DAS… etc)?

    Nah, just get the rift already. Superb build quality and much comfier (and better clarity/in game looks). Gen 1 is DONE. Rift has, at the late stage, WON. There is nothing HTC can do now, price cut or not, nobody’s gonna buy it now word is out that rift is just better.

    • mirak

      Looks like you have a lot of shit pouring out of your mouth …

    • NooYawker

      Won… what?

  • Josh Yates

    yes

  • impurekind

    Yes.

  • nathan willard

    I think the next steam vr head set will really force htc’s hand. I imagine valve is not happy with htc, and has been working to get other manufacturers LG. However with valves controller manufacturing plant I would love nothing more then for them to make their own hardware.

  • Konchu

    Price will need to be lower for mass adoption. I feel sooner is better as the completion is cheaper and the coming competition is cheaper. If I was new to VR and planed to buy today I would by Oculus plain and simple simply due to cost and even that may be slightly higher than these devices should be for mass adoption but its pretty close.

  • chaos_in_ashland

    What HTC and Valve need are the killer games to justify the price. I’ve had my Vive for over a year now, and while there are some fun games, it needs something like a VR specific Half Life game to really bring in the masses.

    That and more simulators. The VR version of Dirt Rally is awesome with my logitech 27 wheel and gaming rig and buttkicker. The problem is that it’s merely a port, along with other racing games like Pcars and Assetto. While they’re appreciated, the port versions are kind of annoying to deal with, and seems to add like 5 steps just to get a game running. Maybe Valve should dedicate a team to work with outside companies and developing better ports if Valve isn’t going to release any VR specific games like Half Life.

  • MrLonghair

    Price and software is key to success. Without a good price that people will accept, there’s not going to be enough sales to make a market large enough for enough investments in software. OR feels right with that Rift+Touch bundle price, PSVR feels right with its price-point and then its software.

    VIVE feels like it’s got Apple written on it.

  • laast

    I use my Rift since its release and…I’ve no Facebook account. People should realize that the bad advertising around Oculus using the Facebook argument is spread by Vive fanboys or VR haters.

    Ferrari now belongs to Fiat, a manufacturer which have always producted cheap cars, yet Ferrari’s cars are more awesome than ever.

  • Wish

    Perhaps someone further down the forum chain mentioned this, but the reason why HTC doesn’t have to drop the price is because HTC is Taiwanese. Their market is mainland China – NOT the average US and other western nation home user. Their primary demographic is selling and licensing the Vive to arcades and VR funhouses across China and other places in Asia like Japan. Just Google VR Zone Shinjuku for an example. I went there on opening day and it was pretty insane.

    My point is if they drop the price of the Vive they wont increase their market share for home users enough to warrant the losses they’d experience from their commercial level customers that would have no problem buying them for 800-1200$. I mean, the Vive is basically the cost of a high end gaming monitor or a high quality 55+ inch TV but… is a VR HMD… 800$ + 800 – 1500$ (USD) for a VR ready PC really isn’t that outrageous for the experience you get from it.

    But back to my original thought, HTC and Valve have the upperhand in the commercial application markets, I think until there is a reason for home users to really own a VR HMD system (ie. high replayability entertainment versus ‘experience’ level entertainment) and to have compelling ongoing multiplayer user experiences, there’s just no real ‘viral’ home user market for it. Although I did buy a pre-order Vive and have played most of the best games out there for it, and cannot wait until the TPCast or equivalent hits the US market, I’m still pretty bummed there’s nothing worth playing for more than 5 or 6 hours overall (Arizona Sunshine being the game I feel has the most compelling experience overall so far.)