HTC Vive Cosmos Launching Q3, Will Have Full SteamVR Compatibility

by David Heaney • June 12th, 2019

HTC’s Vive Cosmos VR headset will launch in Q3 of this year.

HTC’s getting started guide explains that the headset uses the OpenVR SDK, so it should support existing Vive and Vive Pro content. The company provided 3D models of the new controllers and is calling on developers to update their games to work well with them.

HTC’s PC VR Headsets

The original HTC Vive launched back in 2016 for $799. Today it’s sold at $499, but with new headsets like the Oculus Rift S and Valve Index on the market its resolution is looking outdated.

The Vive Pro, released in 2018, was targeted towards enterprise. It improved on resolution and comfort, but kept the same controllers and the full kit started at $1100.

HTC Is Back In The Consumer Space

Cosmos is HTC’s next “consumer-centric” PC offering. Unlike the original Vive, it was designed and developed at HTC, not in partnership with Valve. Valve is now releasing their own VR headset, the Index– without HTC.

Cosmos aims to improve on the resolution, lenses, and comfort of the Vive and switches to inside-out tracking with four cameras. Like Microsoft and Facebook, HTC has developed a computer vision-based tracking system that also tracks the controllers.

The controllers have been completely redesigned, bearing a resemblance to the new Oculus Touch controllers for Rift S and Quest. And like the Touch controllers, these new controllers use thumbsticks, not trackpads.

HTC claims Cosmos has its “sharpest yet” screens. Given that the Vive Pro used 1440×1600 OLED panels, this could mean it uses the JDI 2160×2160 panels the HP Reverb uses.

Like all HTC headsets, Cosmos features mechanical IPD adjustment. It connects to the PC with a cable– it’s not yet known whether the Vive wireless adapter will be compatible.

Because HTC believes some users only want external tracking, or rely on their Vive trackers, the original Vive should still be sold. Unlike Facebook, HTC is not retiring their 2016 headset. HTC hasn’t yet announced whether the Vive will get another price cut, but it seems possible.

Place In The Market

Depending on how HTC price it, Cosmos could be positioned as a middle ground between the Rift S and the Valve Index. Some enthusiasts believe the Rift S makes too many major compromises and doesn’t improve enough on the original Rift. At the same time, however, for many Valve Index is too expensive.

HTC has teased at Cosmos getting support for smartphones for specific Android content, but this functionality won’t be available at launch and doesn’t have a release window yet. This would also likely only work on specific Snapdragon 855 devices.

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