Today, Vive announced a new standalone VR headset called the Vive Pro. And it is reducing the price of the previous, PC-based Vive headset to $500.
“With the Vive Pro, we are delivering the best quality display and visual experience to the most discerning VR enthusiasts,” HTC’s Daniel O’Brien explains in a post to the Vive Blog. “Our goal has always been to offer the most premium VR platform available and to drive adoption for VR. By lowering the price of the current Vive, we are making VR more accessible while expanding the potential market for developers. Whether you’re a VR enthusiast or new to the platform, there’s never been a better time to join the most complete VR platform available.”
To date, the VR world has been split between expensive and complex PC-based headsets, like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and untethered phone-based VR headsets. The PC solutions offer a huge quality advantage over the phone solutions, of course. But they aren’t as mobile.
Microsoft’s innovation in this space is called Windows Mixed Reality. This platform improves on the traditional PC-based VR experiences by removing the need to set up and configure external sensors in a room; with WMR, the sensors are built right into the headsets. But WMR headsets are still tethered to the PC with cables. And they require fairly beefy PCs to use.
HTC’s Vive Pro offers the next logical step: A PC-less experience with no tethering cables, but with higher visual quality than is possible today on mobile. Unfortunately, this system still requires external sensors, though HTC says that the Vive Pro will work with your existing controllers and base stations if you’re an early adopter.
From a quality perspective, the Vive Pro provides the same resolution as WMR—2880 x 1600 “combined,” meaning that each eyepiece is actually outputting at 1440 x 1600—but without any wires. This is a 78 percent increase in resolution over the previous Vive headset.
“Vive Pro also features integrated, high-performance headphones with a built-in amplifier that creates a heightened sense of presence and sound through noise cancellation capabilities,” the firm explains. “These improved graphics and audio allow for users to experience VR with enhanced clarity, making it the most realistic and immersive VR experience on the market today.”
Vive Pro will ship April 5 and will cost $800. Customers who purchase before June 3 will get a free six-month trial to Viveport Subscription, an Xbox Game Pass-like service where customers can choose to play up to 5 titles per month from a library of more than 400 VR games.