HTC’s Vive pioneered room-scale virtual reality, and brought it to the homes of enthusiasts. That innovation came at a price—it launched at $800, costing hundreds more than its closest competitor, the Oculus Rift. As of March 19, 2018, it finally has a price tag of $500.
You can now buy the standard Vive for $500 (give or take a dollar), which comes with a copy of Fallout 4 VR, the headset, two motion controllers, and two sensor Base Stations that you place around your room. Those Base Stations help detect your exact position, enabling you to get off your chair, stand up, and walk around game worlds with ease. In my experience, it feels like walking on a Star Trek holodeck of sorts. If you are a Trekker, like me, Star Trek: Bridge Crew is a fantastic game to play in VR. The headset also comes with two free months of HTC’s Viveport service, which lets you play five VR games a month, from a selection of around 500 titles.
Need a Vive-ready PC? This test and spec sheet will tell you if your PC can handle VR. When buying, try to look for “VR-Ready” logos and double check the specs to make sure the PC has at least 6GB RAM (optimally 16 GB), an Intel Core i5 or i7 (7th or 8th generation), and a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or higher graphics card (or Radeon RX 480). It will also need HDMI or DisplayPort connections. Amazon has some decent VR-ready Desktops and Laptops here.
How to Preorder the HTC Vive Pro
The big reason Vive is falling in price is HTC’s new Vive Pro, which is up for preorder. It was one of our WIRED Best of CES 2018 picks. It has a clearer display (more pixels), integrated hi-fi audio headphones, microphones for audio isolation, and a more comfortable strap. It can also create a VR space up to 10 x 10 meters wide, which is so ginormous it would fill the entirety of a very large, open basement.
The Vive Pro starts at $800, but that will only nab you the headset and a free six-month subscription to Viveport (two months if you order after June 3). If you don’t already own two motion controllers ($130 each) and two Base Stations ($135 each), you’ll need to purchase those separately. These additions bring the total cost to about $1,330. If that’s out of your budget, we highly recommend just purchasing the standard Vive. Your experience will still be stellar and you will have access to every game.
Vive Pro should run on any Vive-ready PC, according to HTC representatives, but the most powerful your machine, the better.
You can preorder the Vive Pro on Vive.com. It begins shipping April 5.