GDC 2017: Vive Tracker And Deluxe Audio Strap Cost $100 Each (Updated)

by Jamie Feltham • February 27th, 2017

Update: HTC has confirmed to UploadVR that $99.99 is the final price for the consumer version of the Tracker as well as the developer units. The device will roll out to consumers later this year.

Original story: Last month HTC announced two big products for the HTC Vive in an add-on Tracker and optional integrated audio headstrap. Today, both got vital release information.

The Vive Tracker will be “available to order” to developers on March 27th for $99.99, the company confirmed just before the doors to the 2017 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona opened up, where it’s exhibiting the device. The kit is essentially another peripheral that’s tracked by SteamVR but can be attached to real world objects allowing you to bring virtual representations of them into your VR experiences for the first time. We’ve tried it with apps like a baseball simulator, local co-op first-person shooter, and even a fire fighting simulator, while other developers hope to use it to enable full body tracking in VR and more.

The device has a lot of potential, though you need tings to actually attach it to in order to use it, which is why a developer release first makes a lot of sense.

Though this initial release seems to be aimed at developers, it’s not yet clear if consumers will be able to get their hands on it, much in the same way they could easily buy a development kit for the Oculus Rift by labeling themselves as a developer. HTC did say that “general consumer availability” would be available later in the year. Earlier this month the company started to roll out 1,000 free developer kits to select teams that applied for one.

We’ve asked HTC if the price will be the same for the consumer edition.

The audio strap, meanwhile, is launching pre-orders on May 2nd for $99.99, with deliveries set to arrive in June. As the name suggests, it includes a pair of integrated headphones similar to the Oculus Rift. Previously users would have to plug in their own pair of headphones, and many fans had requested an integrated option. The strap is also being integrated into the Business Edition of the HTC Vive for no extra cost.

Neither is quite hitting the initial Q2 release window we were expecting, then, but they’re still on track for 2017.

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What's your reaction?
  • unreal_ed

    So, $100 for the deluxe headstrap is decently reasonable, but at $100 the Vive Trackers is pretty reasonably placed outside of consumers’ range. If it was $50, i could see myself getting one and hoping that a few games integrate it in a neat way and I could see myself assembling some plastic/cardboard thing to attach it to. At $100, that is definitely not happening. So it’s definitely staying as a product meant for special attractions

    • Robert Cole

      sign me up for the deluxe headstrap – I could care less about headphones, as I run my Vive with customised Sennheiser HD461

      however, the OE (original equipment) / stock head strap is absolutely terrible, I’m an industrial designer so very keen on good ergonomics in design.

      I’ve literally just come out of 3 hours in VR and had to fiddle with the strap several times despite doing a good fit at startup

      the 3in1 cable (tether) is heavy and twists during gameplay, tugs on the HMD harness rotating it relative to eye line, causing the eyes (or eye, many users find the optimum is not level) to shift from the optimum focus position within each fresnel lens = PITA

      Tetherless is another upgrade I will happily pay for 🙂

      • Totally Magical Unicorn

        I’m with you there buddy. I love my Vive, but I can’t believe how uncomfortable it is. Adjusting it is ridiculously frustrating as there is no point where it feels comfortable. Tetherless would be great as I sometimes step on the cable, snapping my head back. But I can’t wait for a new strap system.

  • wheeler

    Would be nice if you could get the strap without the integrated headphones. Also, it seems really silly that the new strap will only be integrated into the business edition of the Vive.

    • Get Schwifty!

      I am sure that’s currently, and the business edition pays a lot more for the kit with support, etc. than the home consumer version. I am certain they will eventually do away with the current strap and simply incorporate the strap into the consumer product package, but only after they get through a certain amount of stock.

    • elev8d

      The business edition is $400 more than the consumer version. I would hope they include the improved head strap that probably costs them $5-$10 to manufacture.

  • I expected $50 for the tracker… $100 is a bit above my expectations. Anyway, I’m curious about what people will do with them

  • Paulo

    Deluxe headstrap is great and a good price. It should be free with the kit at this point IMO.

    The tracker? Overpriced. The dream of tracking your beer in VR has just been smashed. I would not pay 100$ for that. Let alone 50.

    • elev8d

      I wouldn’t expect a free hardware update to a product I purchased almost a full year ago. $100 for the head strap is reasonable. I was worried it was going to be $150-200. I’m confused as to why the puck is so much, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the margins are actually worse on it, given its components and build.

      • Paulo

        I wouldnt expect that either. I meant for new buyers.

        • elev8d

          Gotcha… it’s probably too much work to update their packaging, and I know they want to capture the extra margin. Since Vive 2 is due out next year, I’m assuming they see little reason to update the base package for the current Vive model.

    • ForSpareParts

      I wouldn’t pay $100 to track my beer in VR, either, but as a gateway to other accessories (guns, etc.) I’d consider it.

  • koenshaku

    The strap I will get popping on headphones after the HMD does get old admittedly. As for the trackers it depends what they do with them for me to warrant a purchase. Kicking zombies make do the trick though.

  • MikeVR

    What’s the audio quality / soundstage like?

  • Scott C

    Hmm, up for almost a day, and nobody’s harping in the comments about the parity-price of a Vive vs. a Rift, now? I was expecting the $599 + $199 vs. $799 + $99 comments to be piling up!

    Oh, wait, I wasn’t, because the VR commenting community are all Vive fanboys. 😉 In any event, this does kind of out the farce of not conceding the Rift HMD’s better audio and ergonomics, and it takes the sting out of price comparison arguments critical of the 3rd camera for more solid room-scale on the Rift.

    • Crunchy005

      The Rift price drop is awesome, anything to help the VR ecosystem grow. Although parity between Rift and Vive is only $140 not $200 as you really need a third sensor to reach room-scale parity with vive. Also I think the burden of USB ports/bandwidth and running long cables makes the rift even less enticing for room-scale. But great for anyone who wants VR standing or sitting.

      • SOrb

        Getting an additional sensor will not bring parity for the Oculus system, lighthouse is just a more accurate system. The real cost difference is good included controllers, only recently even available for Oculus. Now add OSVR for a more open VR ecosystem and I can’t find any good argument for investing in them, despite having been an early adapter myself unfortunately. Right now the Vive is the best product at the best price, sadly it’s still an expensive price and a small market.

        These trackers are just too expensive however, and $100 for a strap which should have been included and replaceable is too much as well.