HTC Still In Planning Stage For ‘Vive 2’

by Joe Durbin • August 26th, 2016

As with all technology, the HTC Vive started becoming obsolete the moment it was officially released in April. It’s no secret HTC is interested in one day creating a follow up to the Vive that will keep the brand on the cutting edge of the industry but, according to one higher up at the company, that day may be further in the future than most people realize.

Raymond Pao is the vice president for future technologies at HTC and its newest subsidiary: Vive Corporation. As such, his job is to scour the world for the most bleeding edge tech he can find and then figure out how to either buy, borrow or otherwise collaborate those innovations into the next generation of the Vive. Pao is a man in the know when it comes to the still unnamed “Vive 2” project, and in an interview at Upload’s offices in San Francisco, he indicated the company hadn’t settled on a plan for the next headset.

“We are still having internal discussions as to what the next generation will be. And we don’t feel that we are limited by time or any one particular new feature,” Pao said in response to a question as to whether or not he feels the Vive 2 must be wireless. “Internally we have a couple ideas but its not solid yet and its not at the stage where we are confident that we have a plan.”

Because this technology is so new, no one has really been sure what to expect in terms of a headset’s life cycle. Some argue that we could see marginally updated headsets every year or so, similar to the iPhone, but there are those in the industry who reject that notion. Game consoles generations, however, can last seven years. Pao’s comments seem to suggest indicate that VR headsets, at least for HTC, might be leaning toward the longer side.

This may be a disappointment to some Vive owners who were hoping to pick up a higher resolution model with a more agreeable form factor by next Christmas. According to Pao, “at HTC our vision is to see VR become the next major computing platform. We want our next headset to be something not just for gamers. We focused on gamers at launch but in the future we want to build something that could revolutionize healthcare, commerce, socialization, and travel.”

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  • unreal_ed

    They want to cut the price dramatically and yet add maximum gizmos (hand/eye tracking, better lasers, etc etc) so not that surprising they’re taking their time. My bet’s on Q3-4 2018

    • DougP

      Yeah, in time for holiday shopping 2018. 🙂
      Enough time for foveated-rendering to dev+mature & next-gen nvidia/amd gpus to come down in price. Basically, get “apparent 4k” type visual display, whereby hmd could replace a monitor – THAT would drive more affordable adoption of VR hmds.

  • JustNiz

    Dear Mr. Pao no more fresnel lenses please!

    • unreal_ed

      I’d imagine that’s one thing they’d improve, yea

      • Magnus Roe

        It would make the lenses a LOT thicker and heavier though.

        • unreal_ed

          The Rift’s aren’t and the whole headset’s not that heavy, so it should be fine

          • Magnus Roe

            That may be, but consumer Rift is using fresnel as well.

  • Ghosty

    Take your time and make v2 a giant leap forward… Better screens, better lenses, better ergonomics, eye and face tracking, foveated rendering, FOV increase, Li-Fi wireless, okay maybe that one is a Gen 3 tech but one can wish!

    • someoneperson

      I’d rather see 18 month life cycles over 5-7 year ones, the tech is too young to take its time and mature, maybe it can do that by gen 4 or 5 but right now it needs to get certain features in and fast.

      • unreal_ed

        18 month is too short imo. 2 years is good. But i totally agree with the opinion

      • Ghosty

        I agree it shouldn’t be 5 to 7 years but 2 to 3 is reasonable… There maybe presure from other companies that will force their hand to move faster also… If I was Oculus who is lagging behind I would iterate as quickly as possible to leapfrog HTC… But that’s me… We will see what happens…. But I’m enjoy every minute of the VR ride!

        • Agree with 2 years, fellow ghost 🙂 . But IMHO plans will change depending on competitors.

          • someoneperson

            Hopefully there’s a lot of competitors as competition breeds innovation which VR desperately needs!

    • Chris Pow

      Isn’t Li-Fi limited to a very low bandwidth? The opposite of whats needed for a VR headset?

      • Ghosty

        No… Lifi can send data over multiple light bandwidths giving it tremendous bandwidth.

        • Oriato

          A close second in advantages of Li-Fi over Wi-Fi is, that I don’t have a low powered microwave attached to my skull for hours a day.

          It’s a “naaah don’t care” mentality these days, when it comes to health related effects of Wi-Fi. But the SAR values of cellphones are meant for 6 minutes of use a day.
          Using a second/third gen. HMD multiple hours a day, seven days a week with a GHz antenna close to my skull won’t happen. Maybe in 20 years when there is a real treatment for most brain tumors.

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    I’d put money on it being released Q3 2017. A year and a half is a long time for for something this new. New advances are always rolling in, and if you don’t incorporate them into YOUR headset, then someone else will beat you to the punch, and put it in THEIR headset. My Vive is still fun, but sometimes I think about selling it, because I hate the cord. I always step on it, which in turn will (sometimes) pull on my headset, or I step on the wire with my left foot, and then take a step with my right foot which will unplug it from the link box. Nothing is more annoying then that damn cord.

    • Zerofool

      Maybe you should start thinking of getting a backpack PC instead 😉 This will solve your cord problems for the time being.

  • CMcD

    I plan on selling my vive for the newest iteration, I just hope the current one is still worth something when the new one comes out

    • unreal_ed

      I wouldn’t be too worried about that. It’s a very “wow!!” product

    • Starman3482

      There will be/is a huge second hand market.

      • Roger K

        It is my only hope for possibly even considering entry. And that is a depressing thought considering that the painful cost of my second hand purchase does nothing to contribute to further development.

    • ..

      I just sold mine for $725 in a month.
      It’s not really for me due to being less than room scale, annoying wires and wearing comfort (I have a scar around my eye), I hope the new buyer treat it well though.

  • Surykaty

    Why not create a Vive 1 Pro that will feature higher res panels with HDR with some other slight improvements?? For +300$ higher price and released Q1 2017.. this way you wont spoil anything for Vive2 and you’ll figure out how people will be coping with more resolution to push at good fps.

    • Superkev

      Totally agree.

    • Nicholas

      The problem is not the panels but the GPU hardware. Current GPUs (yes, even the mighty GTX 1080) can barely keep up with the current resolution at 90fps without gimping on some of the eye candy, and the gaming engines are not supporting SLI for VR (yet). Almost every existing title that’s been retrofitted to be “Vive compatible” (i.e. the seated simulation stuff) is currently an unpleasant judderfest with a 1080.

      • Surykaty

        You are talking like a depressive and pessimistic slob.

        Sooner or later the game engines and graphic cards will find a way to work with VR in SLI/Whatever AMD has although I find it kinda easy in theory to let 1 gpu handle left eye and 1 gpu right eye. Simply it can be done and will be done in case if identical twin gpus.

        Also to reach 90fps you simply have to decrease some effects and details but a better screen would make up for any geometrical/shader/effect loss. You can setup detail levels in games since 90s so this is NOT an argument.

        I always buy graphic cards in pairs so in 2017 I really do not know why I should be left using the imperfect screens which are on Vive or Oculus.

        I wish PRO VR devices for the PRO VR market would finally come with all the perks that people with low to average income can’t or do not want to pay for.

        I work in CAD/CAM but also I do my personal stuff with the help of Zbrush, Mudbox and 3dsmax (mostly subdiv to Nurbs work) so that’s why I’m interested in PRO VR.

        • Nicholas

          No need for personal insults. You obviously haven’t tried the existing stuff – they already have the detail cut down to a minimum and still struggle with the framerate on a single 1080.

          Yes, Nvidia’s SLI VR solution already supports GPU-per-eye rendering, but nothing is currently using it. UE4 and Unity have said they might support it at some undisclosed point in the future, but so far no commitment which is disappointing (but understandable given the small enthusiast market for VR).

          I’m quite prepared to buy another 1080 for SLI, but I’m in no hurry until I see some _real_ application support for it in VR.

          • Surykaty

            Oh get over it oh dear pessimistic one… I’m pushing over 150 fps in all of my VR stuff for Vive on my Pascal Titan while using Unity (I would love to use Unreal but C++ is an absolute show stopper for me) and well really I would sell my soul to get a better display with better res and pixel fill ratio – FOV is somewhat acceptable. The FPS argument makes no sense for the PRO VR market.

          • Nicholas

            Good for you…

          • Surykaty

            Me and tens of thousands of others who do not wish using VR HMDs for games but for PRO applications. Hmm ZBrush in VR… I’m already moist

      • Guy

        Don’t forget, upscaling is a thing, and it may not give us more data, but it will reduce the screen door effect. Besides, as long as it’s backwards compatible, theres no reason to not put out better hardware. It gives profit incentives for other industries to catch up. In other words, you don’t refuse to manufacture the automobile just because gas stations don’t exsist.

      • If my RX 480 can handle DOOM 2016 completely maxed out with Vulkan in 4K with 120+ FPS at all times, then today’s graphics cards are more than good enough. Make a 6K display and drop the graphical details slightly and you’ve got yourself a powerful VR experience.

  • In my opinion, they know more that what they’re telling us, but that’s ok, it’s part of the game…

    • DoubleD

      If they were to give a list of things what they would like to implement, then the competition would easily know how to trump them.

  • Ugur

    I’d most like eye tracking for foveated rendering support. Regarding the controllers i’d like to see a mixture of the vive controllers and the oculus touch controllers. It would be very cool to have full body motion tracking, but not sure if feasible for gen 2 already.
    Higher resolution screens are always teasing but unless they get eye tracking and with it performance improving foveated rendering going, i’m worried about the performance impact.

  • LarZen

    I think the number one priority should be to make it wireless. For seated VR I’m fine with a cable. But when using roomscale it’s the cable that is taking me out of the immersion. Not the limitations of the headset itself.

    • TrevorAGreen

      I’m not on board with that, how are they going to make these things wireless and maintain the fidelity, especially when the #1 problem is that the resolution is too low. Once the screens are good enough that puts us even farther away from wireless. I don’t mind if they try but a screen that allows for you to replace your monitor is way more important.

      • LarZen

        Personally I have zero problems with the resolution. If there is something I would complain about beside the cable then it’s the field of view. The glare from white objects. And the clunkiness of the headset and the controllers.

        Making a VR headset wireless is a challenge with the amount of bandwidth needed and latency. But hardly impossible if enough resources is aimed to achieve it.

        It’s fun using the HTC Vive and teleport to a virtual world. But it’s when doing the same with an mobile VR device that I realize how grounded to reality I am using the HTC Vive. All because of that cable.

        • TrevorAGreen

          There are things that work really well at the current resolution. The desktop or any fonts hello a certain size are not things that work well with the current resolution. So cartoonish for Nintendo style games work really well. Anything that resembles productivity does not. Video streaming also is only 720 which is not good. If BR expects mass adoption this resolution just isn’t good enough. And you are right the field of view is also a problem play the fruit ninja game to see why .

        • Superkev

          The resolution and FOV are major issues. Movies, productivity and distant objects are massively impacted by the existing limitations. Its epic for games where the objects are close and they keep it simple.

        • finnegan

          I need it to be wireless. My biggest barrier to buying the Vive is how ugly it all looks in your living room with all the cables and cameras and ridiculousness.

          I want one, but I’m not willing to live with a smorgasbord of cables and peripherals in my living room 24/7.

          • Magnus Roe

            If you set it up properly only two small boxes attached to the wall or ceiling will be visible. What you usually do with their cables is your own thing I guess, but the Vive itself can be easily disconnected from the hub.

      • Roger K

        Battery technology!
        for HTPC sized backpack is my wish for a Volta SLI future and outdoor park sized tracking/environments 🙂

        • TrevorAGreen

          I keep saying it, but that is AR. Even if it is just a safety camera that keeps you more in sync with the real world. Extensive motion and strict VR is not something that we should be pursuing. It just isn’t practical to have large spaces for VR and it never will be practical enough that people will make large volumes of content for that experience. AR on the other hand should allow us to have gaming experiences melded with real life that allow us to move in the way that people think they want to in VR. We aren’t there yet, what we need now is something to do in VR that is worth doing, because I actually haven’t seen much that is more than a phone game or a demo. There is no killer app. I tried minecraft and that was pretty sickening. With higher refresh rates and resolution maybe that will go away and we can play stuff like that without getting sick. Who knows.

          • Roger K

            Aww Geez I hope not…
            I already been grooming the field behind my house ( filling in the holes etc… ). google mapping all the large parks, abandoned tennis/baseketball courts.
            And been eyeballing large indoor venues like rec centers with big gymnasiums. Talking to other venues like paintball and Laser tag… The consensus is… Everyone is excited at the possibilities if there is enough support for support. Or we could be negative naysayers? I heard that is a very effective healthy route to take. And chicks dig guys who solve problems with negative brooding vibes as well. 🙂

          • Roger K

            Yeah I feel sorry for guys who get sick easy with stereoscopic nausea. Glad thats not me. But I been through a lot of the same with 3dvision. In such cases I remind such persons… Thats you. It is not a pervasive phenomenon that effects everyone.
            Don’t quite know why they are so vocal though?
            I can go deep sea fishing…. A lot of people get sea sick. Does not mean that the rest of us do not have a viable market because of their weaknesses.
            People do show up to the charter boats in the morning and vocally denounce deep sea fishing because they have weak inner ear stamina?
            Some people can go to a bar and pond a few with no ill effects.
            Many people can not at all without having to spend the night praying to a toilet.
            They do not show up to bars and denounce the industry as inviable cause they can not hold their liquor?

            So why do people who get sick whenever they put on stereoscopic devices feel the need to be so vocal in areas that have a stereoscopic concentration? ( not that I am against free speech but the volume of such vocal protest is quite rude in consideration of those who have no such health issues! )
            They start sounding like vegans who come to McDonald’s and whine that meat is on the menu.
            You get sick. I really do feel bad for you. And wish it wasn’t so. Truly that sucks fer u.
            But keep it to yourself! Please keep your nasty condition to yourself! I want these experiences. If you don’t you can then accomplish not having them as easily with your mouth shut. Then we both get what we want. Then the world is beautiful for everyone.

          • TrevorAGreen

            The reason is a practical one. If you like the idea of VR and want it to be a success you need economies of scale. Economies of scale require buyers. VR nausea is not a minority effect. It is pervasive, and the more people that put a headset on and get sick the less buyers you have. VR will be more expensive and may wither like 3D TVs before it is perfected.

            The producers of VR hardware know this, that is why there is comfort rates built into their products for the various software.

            A suggestion that people ignore this is not going to solve any issues.

            I really want these things to work well, I have an Oculus and a VIVE and there are things I can do that are fun. But I can’t play the vive more than 30 minutes – hour because it is tiring and the mask is hot. The Oculus is the same, it gets hot having your face in there and there is something tiring about the technology. Possibly to the eyes.

            Definately, VR minecraft is near unplayable. Though it is neat to be able to do it, there are other problems besides the motion sickness. You are closer to the blocks and so building is a more cumbersome experience than on a screen. I can imagine building something outside of VR and then putting the headset on to tour it or maybe defend it. I can’t imagine spending 3 or 4 hours building and mining in this generation of VR headset.

            They need to get better. And that is from someone that wants them. Getting better is the only way these things are going to end up everywhere. We shall see want happens with Playstation VR. I’m worried that if they don’t have a killer app that millions are going to buy their hardware and leave it on a shelf after playing twice and then won’t buy the next generation of better hardware.

            I want a VR headset that is desktop monitor replacement quality. I haven’t heard of anyone with a solution that gets to that level, but I think that is what we need. It is certainly not what we have now.

          • glennjridge

            if designers simply compromise and as a standard at least include regular walking movement ie forwards/backwards for all of us who dont get sick AND teleporting for those that do…then there is no problem. I see no reason why they should punish us who dont get sick by making games teleporting only that is disappointing to me. I was in a discussion with a designer for “budget cuts” and he was telling me we will get used to it almost as if he was saying, teleporting to move will be the only model and industry standard in virtual reality. I cant see the point of creating the ability to step actually IN another world essentially and then limit the fun by having to POOF! teleport here and there like that character in Xmen. its jarring and defeintly unrealistic. I mean…they are doing DOOM…a run and gun shooter…with teleportation to move around. gee…that sounds fun.

          • Roger K

            if that was true for the future I would end my hopes and participation in VR. But I can’t see progress ending in a competitive market where large venue and outside park sized tracking will hopefully assure rich immersive interactivity and a nice answer to sufferers of nausea.

  • Hogo

    2-3 years is good I think. The great thing with PC vr as opposed to consoles is that you can run multiple hmd’s without needing a new computer every time.

  • Wayne

    Given the cost barrier, VR for the consumer market is still in the early adopter phase, rather than what’s needed to justify a Vive V2. The R&D costs alone in developing a better Vive can’t be justified if the larger consumer market hasn’t yet even bought-into VR in general. Still a lot of unknowns in how the market for VR will eventually go. Think about this: the latest generation of Nvidia GPUs (10 series) can hold up decently with rendering for Vive on 1.0 supersampling, at 1.5, it’s a hit or miss, at 2.0, only the 1080 can handle graphically-complex games. The GPU demands for a 4k headset means hardware that will inevitably be a lot more than what your ‘typical’ consumer is willing to pay for.

  • Superkev

    Too many competitors out there they are going to have to rapidly innovate or get crushed. HTC sure as heck doesn’t want some big company (or an unknown for that matter) to come in and replace them. Since HTC really doesn’t benefit from the software sales their business model boils down to innovate or die. They are going to need to keep the updates coming and coming fast or they will wind up being well.. HTC vs. Samsung all over again.

  • Bobby Scotty

    Good at 800 bucks i dont think anyone wants to buy a set and see a newer better version out 10 months later.

  • finnegan

    Once the first wireless set up comes out they will change their tune fast.

  • glennjridge

    I was thinking also of other uses. think of someone who is bedridden with limited movement…this technology will give them the ability essentially have some semblance of movement.

  • glennjridge

    what blows me away….is how unknown this technology seems to be by regular people. I thought I knew what these VR helmets did before I tried one……..I had a sense all they did was make it more immersive when you play video games because the screen was closer to your eyes and you didnt see all the stuff outside your PC monitor, like your room etc etc…..I had no idea this technology…puts you IN the game.

    this is what we have been waiting for our whole lives and its here! when I tried it at a demonstration at the local mall near me I was blown away and kept going by for a couple weeks to keep trying it…and the booth was ALWAYS EMPTY! nobody seemed even interested to try it. its weird being in on this wonderful technology before anyone else is…cause you just know..when this gets rolling…its going to take over the world gaming wise. this is one of those world changing tech’s. I see no way going back to regular gaming will be possible once you’ve stepped into virtual reality. imagine being snowed in and being able to go to the beach and it be realistic…imagine when they d open worlds GTA style and be able to spend a day in a realistic looking wonderland where you feel you are actually there. wow….the next few years are going to be amazing.