Editorial: HTC Vive Needs A Major Price Cut To Stay Competitive

by Ian Hamilton • August 14th, 2017

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on July 14th, 2017 and has been republished to coincide with recent news of the Oculus sale extension and our previous Community Download discussion topic.

Since the bombshell price drop earlier this week by Facebook’s Oculus, a number of theories have emerged regarding the Rift’s temporary $400 price tag.

Is Oculus preparing a second generation and hoping to clear stock? Is Oculus struggling so much that Facebook is dropping the price of the Rift in a last ditch effort to save it? Is Facebook under pressure to move units fast because they are concerned about a ZeniMax injunction after the $500 million judgment earlier this year, as China’s regional President of Vive suggested in this tweet:

I don’t think there’s any cause for the price drop other than competitive aggression at a smart time and the fulfillment of a promise by Oculus’ earliest team members to lower the price of quality VR hardware as much as possible. With the reveal Oculus is working on a low-cost standalone headset, we’ve also heard the company isn’t releasing new hardware this year — so clearing stock to make room for a new device isn’t true. In addition, the company has now confirmed after the sale is over Rift will carry a price of $500 for the Rift and Touch package.

Then Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe said in 2013 they’d love to give away the Rift for free:

We’d love it to be free one day, so how do we get it as close to free as possible? Obviously it won’t be that in the beginning. We’re targeting the $300 price point right now but there’s the potential that it could get much less expensive with a few different relationships and strategies.

It is easy to forget that many of Oculus’ earliest employees were big fans of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In the novel, kids in the future are given free VR headsets to attend school in a virtual world while more expensive equipment can be purchased for specific use cases like full body immersion. Here’s a video Oculus posted about Cline’s visit to Oculus which describes how some of the earliest team members joined the company because of the book:

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Oculus got the Rift to $400 and $500. It’s actually a surprise the price drop didn’t happen sooner. Before his departure, co-founder Palmer Luckey took an incredible amount of grief for his messaging of a “ballpark” price for the Rift only to have it arrive at a surprisingly high $600 minus motion controllers. He expressed a bit of vindication this week for that “ballpark” number:

To be fair, early adopters were further shocked when the HTC Vive revealed its price at $800, though Vive included more freedom to move around the room in VR and motion controllers for a more immersive experience. For much of last year this difference in price complicated efforts to explain which headset to buy. You could get a Rift with access to content on both Steam and Oculus but decreased freedom of movement and no hand controls, or you could get a Vive with more freedom but access to content only from Steam.

By the end of 2016 Oculus finally released its superior Touch controllers and started to expand tracking to three sensors, bringing the systems closer in price and capability. Now in 2017 with hardware parity in hand, Facebook is accelerating its efforts tremendously.

In March, the company packed the Touch together with Rift at $600. With a third sensor costing around $60, Rift was more than $100 cheaper than Vive for similar capabilities and more content. Oculus also continued to fund major content initiatives — Lone Echo and its multiplayer counterpart is about to release and Oculus is hinting at another major content reveal soon.

At $400 or $500, though, the difference between Rift and Vive becomes stark. For buyers this is the choice:

  • Option 1: For around $460 plus tax ($560 after the sale ends) get a room-scale Rift with hand controls and access to content on both Steam and Oculus.
  • Option 2: At $800 ($900 with integrated audio solution like Rift) you get room-scale Vive with access to content on Steam. Use a hack to access content on Oculus.

Vive’s Only Advantage Right Now

The only advantage HTC Vive has at this point is a tracking system that doesn’t require it be physically connected to a PC. This is very convenient because as I type this I’m staring at a USB cord snaking across my ceiling connecting the third Oculus sensor for my Rift setup. It is ugly as hell. But is the convenience of erasing that cord and making my room look prettier worth $350? For some it might be, but for the majority cost is key.

“Less expensive hardware means more people have more money to spend on content and more people in general come in,” said Jason Rubin, the company’s head of VR content, in an interview with UploadVR for the March price cut. “This is 101 for expanding your ecosystem.”

Which brings us to Microsoft. The $400 price cut brings the Rift headset directly in line with Microsoft headsets which aim to offer a bundle at this same price heading into the holidays for an Acer headset and motion controllers.

Frankly, this sets up the holiday 2017 PC VR market as being a battle between Facebook and Microsoft. Where Vive sits in this battle is unclear at best. At worst, it might be pushed into a corner of the market reserved for arcades and niche setups.

HTC Vive’s Difficult Position

I adore the HTC Vive and the innovative tracking system it uses developed by Valve. The headset brought greater freedom and hand controls to early VR adopters long before Rift ever did — and inspired a whole generation of VR content.

That said, it is now in a difficult position where its price and other factors might relegate the system to a small subset of the PC VR market or worse.vive tracker

The most exciting thing about the Vive right now is the ecosystem of tracked peripherals the company is building with developers. A whole series of accessories is on the way that attach to a small tracking device allowing the accessory to be precisely located throughout a room — bringing guns, cameras and extra players into VR.

But there remain lasting questions regarding this peripheral and how it fits into a hardware ecosystem driven by its partner Valve Software.

All the critical technology that drives the HTC Vive is owned by Valve, the company behind SteamVR, the Steam store and a well-loved set of games including Dota 2, Team Fortress 2, Half Life 2 and the Portal series. Valve’s tracking technology is approaching its second generation later this year. This new generation will offer base stations for tracking headsets, controllers and accessories that are lower cost and better than the current generation in almost every respect. The new units are even planned to include technology allowing them to expand to warehouse-scale installations. This could allow the base stations to take over the tracking equipment used by location-based VR startups like Disney-backed The VOID.

It is unclear if, how, or when HTC plans to support this next generation low-cost hardware. In short, this means the future of HTC Vive for home use is totally unclear.

What’s next for Vive?

I believe HTC Vive needs a major price cut to stay competitive.

After the Rift price cut in March Vive stayed firm at $800, though some temporary sales since then have seen price cuts by $50 or $100. But with Rift committing to a $500 price tag, and the option of the $400 sale returning in time for the holidays, Vive cannot compete at $800, or $900 with audio strap.

Personally, I want to see Vive dropping to at least $600 this year taking advantage of the new 2.0 base station technology from Valve. Ideally, HTC would roll out out Vive Trackers to consumers at the same time with a host of profit-driving accessories.

But what if HTC isn’t ready to upgrade? It is certainly plausible the company would need to stay with the first generation lighthouses for longer than expected because it doesn’t have the money to redo the manufacturing line just yet. What’s more, what if HTC wants to get the Trackers to market to differentiate itself from Oculus and ships them in a way such that they are only compatible with the first generation lighthouses? That could be disastrous.

The core of the concern here is that Valve and HTC are different companies with different goals and internal dynamics. HTC is out to make a profit on hardware while Valve is making money from the sale of software. Valve is a private company with a flat management structure and individual employees who pursue projects that personally interest them while HTC is a public company with a team distributed over the globe and shareholders to please. Valve is only partially invested in VR while HTC may see it as the company’s saving grace.

“We’re optimistic. We think VR is going great. It’s going in a way that’s consistent with our expectations,” Valve’s leader Gabe Newell told Polygon earlier this year. “We’re also pretty comfortable with the idea that it will turn out to be a complete failure.”

The bottom line is that these very different companies need to stay aligned going forward or innovation with both Valve’s SteamVR Tracking technology and HTC’s Vive Trackers could stall or get delayed. If second generation base stations emerge from Valve and they aren’t compatible with Vive Trackers, why would anyone buy either piece of hardware? We’ve reached out to HTC to ask whether the Vive Trackers will be compatible with the new 2.0 SteamVR Tracking technology when they’re available for consumers.

Regardless of what happens with the tracking technology underlying Vive, any kind of a price decrease for the headset might be small because HTC has so little hope of making a profit from software alone. Meanwhile, Facebook can sell Rift at a loss in hopes of making money from the sale of software and maybe eventually other services. HTC needs to make a healthy margin on hardware to profit and stay in business. Valve isn’t going to help in this regard because Steam is totally compatible with the Rift, too. As might be suggested by Newell’s quote above, Valve isn’t hurt at all if HTC Vive fails as Rift prices it out of the market.

HTC needs to get aggressive, too.

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What's your reaction?
  • GreasyMullet

    This is an understatement. The press release a little while ago from them about being the high end headset etc etc was bull crap. There is nothing high end when your system out of the box requires a ton of expensive accessories to make it what it should have been out of the factory. Accessories and custom stuff is great but not when those items are to fix areas that are neglected in the product.

    The deluxe audio strap needs to start shipping with the VIVE and the whole thing needs to cost $499.

    Oculus has caught up and in some ways surpassed the VIVE as far as quality. HTC is making a huge mistake to think their current success predicts future success. They are at a huge risk to go the way of BETA vs VHS. They need to improve their product and slash the price… and hopefully be ready to release a competitive Gen 2 product soon.

    • Justos

      100% agree. That was all marketing speak.

      The simple truth is they CANT lower the price, they are making profit off vive. If they do, they wont. They need money to stay afloat. It’s that simple.

      Oculus have pretty much cornered them and their marketshare will take a dive for it.

      • Smokey_the_Bear

        I agree completely. Oculus/Facebook is simply flexing their wallet, a MUCH bigger wallet then HTC has.

      • koenshaku

        I think they are trying to clear stock before the injunction personally.

        • polysix

          Wrong! They are releasing a NEW bundle – all in one pack with touch. They WERE clearing the old SKU but it had nothing to do with that stupid zenimax BS.

          They wanted to cut costs and to bundle touch to get every rift owner to have touch (this is GREAT news and should have been like this from day one). So the new bundle which is already starting to filter through as they ran out of stock of the old seperates bundle has had the xbox pad and oculus remote removed (cost cutting) and will retail at $499 after the sale. So it was a sku clearance and a chance to boost their market. win/win. There is NO GEN 2 rift on the near horizon either.

          • G-man

            dont you remember? they said it only costs a few dollars to bundle in an xbox controller. so either they were lying and bsing people back then trying to convince people the xbox controller would do. or they dont really save very much on making this bundle.

            they are panicking because up until now the vive has outsold the rift two to one, and oculus have fragmented their hardware base by not having everyone who has oculus has the touch. whereas everyone who has a vive has the tracked controllers. devs need reassurance of their potential customer base if they are going to agree to timed exclusivity.

          • NooYawker

            They’re not panicking, they just have a different business model. Theirs is similar to Google. HTC on the other hand is more traditional and need to make a profit on the actual products they are selling.

          • G-man

            facebook clearly wanted to make some profit on hardware sales. it blew up in their face, they launched without tracked controllers at a higher price than people were expecting, screwed up pre ordering, screwed up deliveries, just constant screw up. then they launched touch at a too high price for people, fragmented their hardware base s devs now couldnt rely on everyone having touch. so they had to halve the price of the touch, and how they have had to reduce the whole price to compete with the vive. as much as any business can panic when they have billions in profit every year anyway, they are panicking.

          • selderane

            Holy crap, you’re right! Getting the Xbox gamepad and remote never occurred to me. I just looked at the bundle from Oculus and it doesn’t include them.

            Thank God I’m impatient and had a Best Buy credit card. LOL

          • sdrawkcab

            same here…i kept seeing the new Rift set that didn’t include the xbox control, remote and rockband thingymabob. Thought they screwed up and sent me more than I should have got but I guess it was what I was supposed to get. Made the deal even sweeter.

    • Ethan James Trombley

      I agree completely! As a vive owner I am still immensely satisfied with my purchase, but I made that purchase nearly a year ago. If I was to jump into the VR market today I would have to choose Rift. Even with the convenience of the tracking the price point gap is simply too great. If they start to ship it at $599 with the deluxe audio strap equipped then I would start recommending Vive again, but that’s unlikely to happen.

      • polysix

        I wouldn’t rec VIVE even with a price cut and strap inc. I’ve had both. Rift is just so much better in too many areas (other than slightly less robust tracking but still amazing tracking).

        I sold and never missed my vive and would rather rec people wait for GEN 2 than buy PSVR or Vive. But rift? It’s awesome!

        • NooYawker

          Is it possible to have an actual discussion without your rabid fanboy posts?

    • Daffster

      Can’t help but point out; “when your system out of the box requires a ton of expensive accessories to make it what it should have been out of the factory. Accessories and custom stuff is great but not when those items are to fix areas that are neglected in the product.”

      Sounds like you’re forgetting the fact that motion controlller’s and the entire concept of Roomscale were a bundled selling point with Vive at launch, while a later, cost additional, item with the rift. Everything in this field is evolving constantly. I agree with everything else you say (and really want one of each headset although I can’t afford it even with the discounts) but I don’t begrudge Valve for pumping out value added accessories at a cost any more than I begrudge Oculus catching up and selling motion controllers. It all helps and moves the field on, and man is it coming at a rapid pace.

  • David D. Taylor

    Great editorial! My feelings exactly!

    • Robbie Cartwright

      Yeah, a lot of great ideas and info here. Excited to see what’s next for both companies. ^^

  • Frogacuda

    The LG factor can’t be ignored either. LG’s headset, likely featuring 2.0 tracking, higher resolution, and better ergonomics, seems poised to occupy the “premium” category. It can arguably justify a higher price then Rift — even moreso if it includes the new Knuckles controllers. But it would completely disrupt the already tenuous position HTC has as the “premium” choice — basically the strength of its tracking and consumer loyalty to Valve are its main selling points at this point.,

    • Ian Hamilton

      Yeah, LG is a good point too. I am unclear on the release schedule for LG, but it doesn’t seem to be on tap for this year. I focused on these other elements because I think the price drop needs to happen before the holidays in order for Vive to keep up.

      • LG headset developers also said that one of their focus was making the headset wireless that might be what has made them take so long to release what looked like a nearly finished headset.

        • Gregory Martin

          The interesting thing here is that HTC may have such a command of the Chinese market that they don’t care too much about losing market share in the States (which is still pretty robust for their specific segment)

          • daveinpublic

            Being ahead by a few hundred thousand doesn’t sound like much of a command in any country.

          • Gregory Martin

            Meh, in a niche market a few hundred thousand is not nothing.

            140,000units*$800=$112,000,000 gross

            Not sure what Oculus has sold in China (couldn’t find the numbers), but I recall reading somewhere that they didn’t have much of a presence in China/globally like HTC.

    • NooYawker

      No one can be ignored at this point. The race hasn’t truly started yet.

  • PSVR needs a price drop, too, now. Or keep it at $400 and bundle the camera, Move controllers, and Farpoint/Aim controller.

    • Get Schwifty!

      Agree 100% at the very least for that price it should have a revised tracking system.

      • G-man

        theres not much more they can do with tracking

    • NooYawker

      They could, but they have a captive audience and no competition.

  • Mike McLin

    Here is another angle… Rift is actually keeping its userbase too by dropping the price. Here is my predicament… I own both Vive and Rift. I was going to sell my Rift. Now I feel I can’t. I’m just going to hang on to it because I just can’t bring myself to sell it for pennies on the dollar so quickly. I’m a tech enthusiast, and I understand paying the early adopters tax. However, the Rift has been a horrid investment financially. They have really undercut their owners. It will definitely make me think twice about buying their next generation products at launch.

    I guess the shining light in all of this is the barrier for entry to high end VR is that much cheaper now.

    • David D. Taylor

      I get what you are saying. I bought the rift last December with the launch of the touch controllers, for $800. It pains me to see it so low now, but I’m glad to see it more affordable. My cousin is now able to afford/justify purchasing the rift.

      But, if I had to do it all over again, I would. Having access to both, even from the launch of touch, I’d still recommend the Rift over Vive. Personal preference.

    • Get Schwifty!

      It’s not about keeping their user base whatsoever, no one in the business of selling anything worries about its buyers aftermarket prices on resell I can assure you. It’s all about expanding their market in significant way in a market that is still truly anyone’s for the taking. If you think they are worried that most of their previous buyers are going to be offended by a price cut I think you are misreading their thinking process and the general early adopter market which is pretty used to these moves. This is a bit like the guy who bought a plasma television only to see prices drop 50% in two years and getting mad that early tech is coming down in price and he can no longer sell his television used for 80% of cost. There is no “investment” in early tech, that is about as absurd as saying I bought a typical 25,000 USD car and calling it an investment, it’s going to depreciate, and rapidly in most cases even for top of the line vehicles in the first year alone. OTOH, you could get a Vive and then pay more and more for upgrades… would you feel better with that? Good luck also selling that Vive, with Oculus move it’s depreciated considerably as well…

      A wise man would put that Rift in it’s box if he were uninterested, along with the controllers, sensors, etc. and store it away and sell it in 30 years when it will be a novelty for the first VR real commercial device to market. Just saying. First gen apple computers sell for like $1500 now… and at one point were up to $2500.

      • Mike McLin

        Not saying the move was to keep their userbase. Just as an interesting side effect it has helped do that (like in my case). Also, I made it clear that I am well aware of the early adopter tax (and I’ve gladly paid it time and time again). I’m just saying, that the Rift has dropped terribly quick.

        Obviously I don’t intend on the Rift being an investment in a traditional sense. I’m talking about the fact that for MANY people there is a secondary market (like eBay) where people sell off their goods. You expect a certain amount of liquid value (the ability to sell it and get something for it at a moments notice) in your tech purchases. If I spend $1000 in tech, I expect to be able to sell it for about $600 in a year. In this case, I spent $800 in tech, and now the tech can be purchased new for $400, meaning the value of my purchase has dropped to probably $300, maybe (probably?) lower.

        • Schorsch

          Frankly, you need to seek out another area and not exactly high-tech electronics for investing, reselling and speculating…IMO.

          • Mike McLin

            You’re making it a tad personal by telling me how to spend my money. I didn’t come on here doing a complete troll job and complain about Oculus. It’s not an outlandish statement to say they undercut their customers with such an aggressive price cut so quickly. I also mentioned that the bright spot in all of this is that VR is cheaper for everyone now. So, maybe reread everything I said, try to keep an open mind and realize you might not agree with 100% of what I say, but I’m not spitting out trolling nonsense.

          • Get Schwifty!

            I just have to disagree – they set the price at any time – you buy it at that price, there is no “undercutting” here. They have no social contract to maintain prices to ensure you have liquidity in the market with a purchase. As you said, many people “expect” to have a liquid value, say 60% to 80% of price – and the reality is this was true for like 18 months, but just about everyone would expect a high price going in for “ultra-new” tech on the market to drop rapidly, hence the analogy to plasma televisions.

            The other thing is this very well might be a temporary price cut to these levels, I would not be surprised to see the prices rise back up to say around $599 for the HMD, controllers and two sensors, still a significant price change. If you frequently flip things on Ebay I can see it being aggravating, but it’s always a gamble with any technology and cost. I have had laptops where it was discovered there was a critical flaw that killed prices, thanks to Intel for instance. It’s aggravating, but I try to keep in mind it’s the nature of the beast.

            There is also the aspect that a vastly increased market while it flattens hardware prices to a degree, does make the whole platform more attractive and retain greater value over time. In other words, maybe dropping to $400 currently means that even in a year selling for $300 is possible whereas if they market didn’t grow, you’re value could be even lower 😉

        • care package

          I’m still confused why you would want to keep a Vive over the Rift. Everyone has opinions, but a Rift favoring one has quite a bit more bullet points most would agree on.

          • Mike McLin

            The simple answer is I like it better. The Vive has a larger install base and the Rift’s going through multiple price slashes, so I can’t imagine I’m the only one that feels this way. To be honest, it’s really splitting hairs for me between the 2. At the end of the day, I prefer the lighthouse technology. To be completely honest, I don’t really care. I play less than 1 hour of VR a month. I’m sort of on cruise control for the next couple years until the successors to these headsets come out.

          • NooYawker

            What’s confusing about it? You obviously prefer the Rift, but he prefers the Vive. It’s like being confused someone prefers Coke over Pepsi.

          • care package

            Great logic there dude. If you had said an ice cold Coke for half the cost of a warm Pepsi then I might agree. As my post stated, more bullet points most would agree on. It’s not a f’ taste test.

          • NooYawker

            Oops. I wouldn’t have responded if I knew you were an idiot fanboy.

          • care package

            No please keep responding. The internet needs you.

    • Schorsch

      You buy high-tech electronics within this super-fast moving industry to “invest financially”? Can you elaborate on that? Perplexed reading this how they “undercut their owners”, because one could almost read it as if a cheaper price would be “bad”. Hint: It isn’t 🙂 Or I seem not be getting why you think that a lower price would be bad. (High quality) VR (like Rift or Vive) is still suffering from some lack of mass-adoption, and this is still the biggest issue that is plaguing VR currently. As a VR enthusiast, EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of these many posts on reddit now about people experiencing VR for the first time…it fills me with happiness 🙂 Because VR is something where I feel other people MUST SEE THIS, MUST EXPERIENCE IT…and Oculus now does promote exactly that. And this is great.

      • Mike McLin

        It is great. Cheaper prices are great. Mass adoption (which isn’t happening any time soon) will be great. I’m all for it. Can it be great, and can they undercut their owners at the same time? Absolutely. They are not mutually exclusive. Heck they could start giving it away for free. I think that would be amazing for VR. I’d be all for it. But it doesn’t mean I’m not going to feel a little sting deep down because of what I paid.

    • koenshaku

      Well the Rift is an exception in this case since it is stolen tech that was just fined in court. Now you can get it cheaper than a PSVR Trump: “Sad”

  • Robert Cole

    It’s an interesting and magical time for VR enthusiasts, especially for those of us for whom Vive/Rift has been the second time being exposed to VR (Virtuality in ’91 for me).

    I’m sitting on the fence, waiting for releases from LG, Windows HMDs, new HTC and Lenovo standalone, new Oculus $200 standalone, Vive 2, Valve Knuckles….wow 🦄

    I’ve owned 2 Vive (recovered 2/3rd value on selling) and dabbled with Rift, PSVR, GearVR and currently have a modified Daydream running on Pixel XL.

    Lowering price removes primary barrier to entry, especially when figuring in a VR capable PC.

    Vive and gtx1070 was not cheap…less $$ for software.

    Great and timely article

  • Jason M

    You stated that you wanted to see the Vive take advantage of the 2.0 base station. Would that not mean it would need a new design as well? I believe the 2.0 base stations will not work with currently Vive headsets, but all future headsets coming out will work with current base stations.

  • Helixx vr

    Missing some Crucial Points, HTC have the Arcade Market sewn up, That was and still is a Major focus for Vive,
    You also have Apple Entering into the VR Compatible Mac’s We already seen Vive featured in some of Apples artwork and on its Web page.
    If Apple and HTC Team up and launch a bundle why would they price need to drop? The Apple Fan base like to spend top quality money.
    I wont even bring up the Negative press law suit ! that could be a game changer.

  • Swans

    I just bought the OR because of the price reduction. The way I view it is that VR as a whole is still in the ‘tech-demo’ stage of its lifecycle, so what I buy today is not what I’ll end up with. Therefore I am not willing to splash on Vive for a few small advantages that will ultimately be short-lived; if VR takes off, I’ll be replacing what I have today within a year anyway.

    So yes, OR have put the Vive in a tricky position here, as they can fund a price slash far more easily than Valve can.

  • polysix

    Had all 3 (Vive, PSVR and now Rift). Vive definitely needs to do something, but now the good word of mouth rift is getting I think even if they were the same price they would have trouble selling vives going forward. The jankyness of the vive continues with or without a price cut, I sold mine as while it was impressive tracking, nothing else about it felt better than rift, and much of it felt worse. Rift is just a far more polished and finished product, a better HMD (ergonomics, sweet spot quality, build in phones without buying a ghastly looking $100 strap that still won’t stop the face brick Vive weight problem so much as transfer it), better software, much better controllers, better customer support, better build quality (as in reliability and doesn’t break with a bit of sweat in it).. the list goes on.

    None of GEN 1 are perfect but rift has the least flaws and the most nice points going for it. The only area as you say where Vive is ‘better’ is if you want a certain type of full room scale tracking without a couple of wires. Though I find it MUCH easier to custom wire a usb cable vs the short power leads my lighthouses had which meant they dangled across a wall stretched to reach an extension trying to reach a plug. So frankly the cable thing is neither here nor there and is based on your house and plugs.. clearly it’s much easier to move your pc, and some USB cables than it is to bring plug-sockets where you need them!

    The cameras on rift dont’ take up much room, being black they blend in wiht my black desk, speakers etc, and (now) track very well indeed.

    Putting Rift on is simplicity, similar to PSVR you pull to extend it then let it go when on your head, while the face comfort on PSVR wins, the rift isn’t far behind at all when set right, and I think the HEAD comfort on rift beats PSVR and definitely beats Vive. Rift is the lightest and it shows, it’s so comfy on the top and sides of the head vs the PSVR too, and much better on the face than the Vive that would hang off me like a brick, esp when bending down (it would drag up blurring the scene) or looking up it would drag down.. sure DAS will cure that a bit I’m sure but.. more cash.. again.. for a system that simply does NOT compete on ‘feel good’ and luxury like the Rift does. Rift even makes PSVR feel cheap and plastic… would love those lenses and RGB screen of PSVR though but overall the rift with the higher res and everything else is just better.

    Oh and god rays? on both vive and rift, but rifts are somehow softer and less annoying to me, I can filter them out better. On Vive I hated it on audio shield menus for example the white would trigger the Vive’s concentric ring flares on the lenses and it felt like my eyes were watering! It would induce a kind of claustrophobic locked in feel (not good) and contributed to feeling hot, sick etc… just wasn’t a nice overall experience. Sold!

    Rift is a JOY to put on by comparison and I can wear it longer than both Vive and PSVR without discomfort. Lastly the controllers are brilliant compared to vive and esp PSVR, and the built in headphones are beautiful in both sound/3Dspatial and ease of use. I hated having to put phones on afterwards on Vive/PSVR.

    So… Does vive need to do something quick? Yeah.. but I don’t think HTC actually care enough.

  • towblerone

    I wouldn’t support Facebook at any price point. It’s Vive/Vive 2.0 or whatever LG comes out with next year.

  • Ugur

    First of all: I have both the Rift and the Vive and develop for both, too.
    I think both are great devices and each very good choices.
    There are some own strengths and weaknesses for both, but both are a very good purchase.
    That all out of the way, i don’t think Valve/HTC has to do a price cut right away to match the Rift’s price cut.
    But what i’d like to see asap would be that they’d include the deluxe audio strap in the default package asap.
    I think it’s very cool i could upgrade my existing vive with the deluxe audio strap, so i love it when such options exist going forward to upgrade the existing headsets for accessories/enhancements where it makes sense.

    But when it’s about something like the deluxe audio strap, where the thing is obviously way better than the old version and would not make the default package way more expensive if included, i’d like it when that is then included in the new default package going forward immediately.
    Because while i love that i could upgrade my existing Vive that way, if i was gonna buy a new Vive now, i’d be a bit bummed that the deluxe strap is not included in the box.
    It really makes it so much better to wear the Vive =)
    And that change alone would already make people feel like an a bit upgrade/price drop for the base package for a while.
    Sure, then, once they get closer to shipping a next generation of the headset (which i think is still a good while away), they could drop the price on the current package some (or do so after the new one comes out to clear out remaining stock of the older one).

    • Robert Cole

      here’s an easy win for HTC:-

      -Supply all new Vive with the new “audio strap” but without the head phones (earbuds bundled in box) to lower OE cost

      -Offer new “audio strap” with headphones for aftermarket $$

      • Ugur

        Hm, not sure if the headphones make the thing massively more expensive, but if not, then it would be way better to include them. Paying 100 more is not the end of the world to a lot of people, i think it’s more a perception thing in this case of someone who doesn’t have a headset yet and comparing options and looking for what “offers the more complete package”

  • Well, great questions about Vive Trackers and the issues with HTC selling hardware. But, first of all we don’t know if HTC and Valve have some sort of agreement on profit sharing on VR… I guess not, but it could be. Then, Vive until now has sold 2x the Rift, so at the moment they’re selling a lot more and this is satisfactory for them, they could wait to see what happens with Oculus price slash and then decide. Then there are arcades: with a clear Business licensing and a hardware suitable for arcades, HTC has a huge business market that Oculus can’t reach in any way, even going priced at $199. We don’t know if for HTC are more profitable consumers or arcades… this may be the reason why they’re not interested in reducing the price

  • Denis

    It’s not Oculus vs Vive. It’s Oculus Home vs Steamvr. HTC is just trying to make their profit while they can on the hardware. Oculus is now losing tons of money on hardware, software exclusives and legal battles. Plus, any Oculus owner with half a brain is buying all of their none exclusive games on Steam, a store that can’t fail. So why aren’t any articles addressing this?

    • daveinpublic

      But if you buy an Oculus, you’re going to be using Oculus Home even if you buy games through Steam. Facebook just wants more control over the software, and they’re buying their way there right now. They’ve already added Facebook to Oculus home, and it will keep getting more and more social. They’ll release social platforms on Steam as well. They’re not trying to make their money from selling games, but from getting users into a VR social platform.

  • Shawn Blais Skinner

    We’ll have to see whether this spurs sales or not, but I can say that we have not seen a sales spike with our game since this went on sale.

    Feels to me like this is a bit of a desperation move from Oculus, to really test the market and see if they can really move units. If they don’t announce some sales numbers in the next quarter or two, we’ll know it didn’t really work.

    I think you underestimate the Steam users general disdain for the Facebook owned closed market. My bet is that VIVE can sit comfortably at $800 for quite a while, without ceding much ground at all to Oculus, mainly due to it’s inherently better room-scale tracking approach, and the fact that it is made by VALVE, which while it is a walled garden, it’s one that all PC gamers are already inside of, and also run by a company that most gamers view favorably, as opposed to FB.


  • G-man

    htc is relying on hardware? not heard of viveport and their subscription service then?

    • Mark Angel

      Thats a joke right? It’s rubbish. I bought a rift, joined viveport expecting to see some good titles. After a look at their store, I cancelled my sub strait away and haven’t bothered selecting anything on it. It’s all experiences and hardly any games.

      • G-man

        whether you use it or not they still arent relying only on hardware.

        dont bother to reply with “but if people dont use it then they will be relying only on hardware” or something equally as irrelevant to my point. they are selling software too

    • NooYawker

      The second I was told I didn’t need Viveport i uninstalled it. I reinstalled it when I got the free trial subscription service.. tried a few of the games they offered uninstalled the games and viveport a few hours later. There isn’t enough good games to justify a subscription and there isn’t anything compelling about Viveport to use it.

      • G-man

        there is for businesses and people who want subscription content.

  • Kimberly Martin

    Good Article – Well balanced too.

    As someone who wanted to get into VR & AR development, I first jumped in on the Vive which was recommended to me, though I had tried the Rift (Sans touch controllers) 6 months earlier at a public library. I found the Vive experience was mindblowingly great but at a high financial cost, and although it was great, it was only after purchasing a Rift with Touch controllers that I realised I much preferred the comfort of the Rift and the Touch controllers battery life, I was getting basically the same 360 room scale in the Rift as the vive had but at the time in March it was 1/3 the price I paid for the Vive.

    I have now sold my Vive at a big price reduction and hope the purchaser enjoys it. I now have funds to put towards Apples MR product or even Microsofts.

    Though glad I still have my Rift to play my Steam and Oculus titles.

  • laast

    Yes obviously it needs a major price cut, but what is happening is exactly the opposite: not only the Vive is still sold at 800$, but HTC chose to charge their users with 100 extra $ for audio strap, and later a few more dozens (hundreds?) $ for new controllers. And for what purpose? To offer something more or less similar to Oculus Rift, which is 50% cheaper…

    Wake up HTC fanboys, your hate toward Facebook is starting to cost you a lot of money.

    • NooYawker

      If someone is an HTC fan, they already bought their device. So, it’s not costing them anything. I personally this Facebook is a crap company and I would never buy their products because I value privacy. But I’m definitely in the minority, people are more than willing to save money and go with FB. There is a billion FB users afterall.

  • Michael Sherman

    Participating in the Oculus Rift experience

  • VR Geek

    We had the worst customer service experience with HTC and would never buy a thing from them again. Love the Valve tech, but it is going to be dated fast and unless HTC gets their act together, they have no future even with their upcoming HMDs.

  • JesperL

    If I look at the VR market as a whole, the most important mission for every VR Company is/should be to grow the market of VR owners.
    More VR owners will bring more VR content development, which will again bring more VR owners.

    The VR market need to get the number of VR owners up to the point, to start a positive snowball effect.
    The goal is to hit the number of VR owners, where the big AAA developers can see a profit in creating the AAA content.
    Once that happens, then the VR market will enter a positive loop, where new content creates more VR owners, that will encourage new VR content.

    So the Vive price needs to drop, not only to stay competitive, but also to contribute to the overall VR market growth.
    All VR companies need to work together towards this common goal, and not run the “everyone on his own” mentality.
    Work together, grow the market together. It will be an investment that will benefit all in the end.

  • JesperL

    They should just include TPCast and they win VR 😀

  • Mermado 1936

    Some people never will get a Oculus so thats a good strategy.

    Oculus sucks as a company… some people never will get an HMD of this company. This is why Oculus have to maintain the offer… the sold a little and HTC got the market in the pocket with 2x price.

    • NooYawker

      Oculus doesn’t suck as a company, Zuckerberg and Facebook does. But at half the price many people would put that aside. I personally wouldn’t but most would.

      • Mermado 1936

        Oculus is not Oculus anymore… now is Facebook.

  • NooYawker

    Christmas is coming.. what to do what to do.. Consumers will see one device twice as expensive as the other. And from my personal anecdotal observations, when I speak to non-technical people they always go.. that ocu.. thing. oculus is more recognized by the general public than the Vive which is more favored by gamers. But at the end of the day Gen 2 will tell more.

  • daveinpublic

    Spot on.

  • sdrawkcab

    i bought the Rift because it was cheaper.

    • Shade Smith

      I bought Google Cardboard because it was cheaper.

  • Hone McBone

    For some real progression in VR, we don’t need a price cut for the Vive, we need to see the release of the next iteration with a higher resolution, eye tracking, wireless, a better head strap and Valves new controllers/lighthouses.

    • WkFish

      You are not talking about the “next” iteration, are you?
      🙂 If you put them together you make a Vive 3rd or 4th gen.

      • Hone McBone

        Maybe not the eye tracking, resolution would be pretty obvious and I’d expect everything else since it’s already/almost available.

        The eye tracking is possibly what would give us the resolution without the need for more processing power so I wouldn’t be surprised seeing it.

        • gothicvillas

          If they up the resolution, wouldnt we need a new graphic cards to run the thing? I do have Titan X and honestly Im not sure if its enough to run solid experience. Leave alone anything below 12GB.

          • Hone McBone

            Well there’s continuous improvements to the software side to help with that, also if eye tracking is implemented we might see something like foveated rendering.

  • Wish

    I think HTC’s biggest pool of consumers is in China and eastern Asia, namely Japan. In the West, we see the Vive as an HMD with no real software and a couple of ‘neat’ user experiences to show off for friends. But in China, the Vive is being sold to, licensed by, and maintained in thousands of VR arcades. I know this editorial is old now, but if Ian Hamilton sees this, I wonder if in the Western nation based press, you often think of or consider that at all. The Rift is useless in a multiplayer arcade setup due to the way the sensors work, but the Vive thrives in that sort of arena. Granted, I’ve only been to the VR Zone in Shinjuku as an example, but from what I saw there, the sales, support, and licensing that HTC generates revenue off of from that sort of customer must be far more profitable than a few thousand people who bought and played with Vives for like 10 hours in the US, Europe, and Oceana, and then put them away in boxes or sold them on eBay.

  • RedReb14

    Just got one of the sale Oculus’ for dev purposes having used the Vive for 4 months and done side by side tests. I’m really impressed at half the price of the Vive, not as robust a system but for the average consumer the Rift is a great deal. I agree with the article Vive needs a 25% drop to compete.

  • Andrew Webster

    Yep, agreed… I have a vive and it’s an incredible piece of hardware, but Rift at £399 in the UK, it (Vive) looks utterly overpriced… if they are not careful this will completely erode their market share and their brand competitiveness in only a handful on months…

  • Lance

    Package the vive with the deluxe audio strap and sell it at 499.00

  • Trooper

    “The vive only has content on Steam” ………… Did Viveport shut down and no one told us ?? or has the author of this creative piece not bothered to research as they only are interested in the Rift ???

    I’m all for informative writing but only if it includes the facts of all pieces of tech and not just the writers bias.

  • JustNiz

    I agree that Vive just looks too expensive now, however I’m guessing the Rift’s price drop leaves Oculus in a position where they are actually losing money on every Rift sold. They are OK with this as they have Zuckerberg’s endless $$$ behind them, and have other far bigger priorities right now, such as even remaining relevant as a company and a giant lawsuit to worry about. HTC won’t go there because they can’t afford to: HTC as a company are still loosing big money every year. Oculus might just see this as a part of a longer term strategy to totally eliminate HTC by undercutting them on price, even if it costs them on every Rift sale to do so.

  • gothicvillas

    I am gobsmacked 🙁 Wanted to buy Oculus and already sat down and put the thing in my Amazon basket and BOOM – price is back £480 🙁 Missed the price drop by 1 day!!!!
    Now looking at options but Vive is still WAY overpriced imo. If they add headphones in the package, I may bite.
    I have £400ish to spend and now i find myself out of options.