The HTC Vive is a virtual reality headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation. The headset uses "room scale" tracking technology, allowing the user to move in 3D space and use motion-tracked handheld controllers to interact with the environment.
An HTC Vive head-mounted display with a camera near the bottom rim; two wireless handheld controllers; and two 'Lighthouse' basestations
|Type||Virtual reality headset for room scale virtual reality|
|Release date||5 April 2016|
|Manufacturer||HTC, with technology by Valve Corporation|
|Display technology||PenTile OLED|
|Resolution||2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)|
|Refresh rate||90 Hz|
|Field of view (Nominal)||About 110 degrees|
|Tracking system||Lighthouse (2 base stations emitting pulsed IR lasers)|
|Weight||470 grams (previously 555 grams)|
|Platform/operating system||SteamVR running on Microsoft Windows in addition to Linux support, with macOS support coming|
|Connection||1× HDMI 1.4 or DisplayPort 1.2 and 1× USB 3.0|
|Controller input||SteamVR wireless motion tracked controllers|
|Camera||Front-facing camera - enabling users to view the external world and a key component of the device’s 'chaperone' safety system.|
The HTC Vive was unveiled during HTC's Mobile World Congress keynote in March 2015. Development kits were sent out in August and September 2015, and the first Consumer version of the device was released on 7 June 2016.
Prototypes of a Valve-produced virtual reality system were demonstrated during 2014. On 23 February 2015, Valve announced SteamVR and that it would demonstrate a "SteamVR hardware system" at the 2015 Game Developers Conference. HTC officially unveiled its device, Vive, during its Mobile World Congress keynote on 1 March 2015. Preorders started on 29 February 2016 at 10:00 a.m. EST. Valve and HTC have since announced that the headset will be free for selected developers.
During his Immersed 2015 keynote, Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer for HTC and founder of the HTC Vive, explained that he "stumbled upon VR" and later, HTC met Valve, which turned out to be "serendipity". Chen also explained that HTC and Valve don't have a clear dividing line between each of their responsibilities, and HTC is very much a partner in the research and development process.
In June 2016, HTC announced the release of their 'Business Edition' of the Vive for US$1,200 which would include a Professional Use License, a 12-month Commercial Warranty, access to an exclusive support line, a 5-meter (16 ft) cable extension kit, and it included the Deluxe Audio Strap.
At Google I/O in May 2017, Google announced a new, all in-built 'Standalone VR' system that would be made by the Vive team and also by Lenovo. Whilst in June 2017 Valve revealed details of a second variation of Vive controller which utilizes finger tracking called the Knuckles Vive controller.
Hardware and accessoriesEdit
- Vive Headset: The Vive headset has a refresh rate of 90 Hz and a 110 degree field of view. The device uses two OLED panels, one per eye, each having a display resolution of 1080×1200 (2160×1200 combined pixels). Safety features include a front-facing camera that allows the user to observe their surroundings without removing their headset. The software can also use the camera to identify any moving or static objects in a room; this functionality can be used as part of a "Chaperone" safety system, which will automatically display a virtual wall or a feed from the camera to safely guide users from obstacles or real-world walls. Inside the headset's outer-shell divots are dozens of infrared sensors that detect the base stations' IR pulses to determine the headset's current location in a space. Other sensors include a G-Sensor, gyroscope and proximity sensor.
- Vive Controllers: The controllers have multiple input methods including a track pad, grip buttons, and a dual-stage trigger and a use per charge of about 6 hours. Across the ring of the controller are 24 infrared sensors that detect the base stations to determine the location of the controller. The SteamVR Tracking system is used to track the controller location to a fraction of a millimeter, with update rates ranging from 250 Hz to 1 kHz.
- Vive Base Stations: Also known as the Lighthouse tracking system are two black boxes that create a 360 degree virtual space up to 15x15 foot radius. The base stations emit timed infrared pulses at 60 pulses per second that are then picked up by the headset and controllers with sub-millimeter precision. Wireless syncing lowers the amount of wires as well standard threading making the base stations practical to use in a home.
- Vive Tracker: A motion tracking accessory; it is designed to be attached to physical accessories and controllers, so that they can be tracked via the Lighthouse system. Vive Trackers feature a connector that can be used to communicate with the accessory it is attached to. On launch, the Vive Tracker was sold as a standalone product, and in bundles with accessories and games designed to integrate with it, such as the Hyper Blaster (a light gun-style controller), and a racquet designed for sports games. Other third-party accessories have been developed for use with Vive Trackers, such as bands designed to be attached to a user's arms or legs to enable body tracking.
- Vive Deluxe Audio Strap: In June 2017, HTC released the Deluxe Audio Strap for US$99. It added integrated over-ear headphones as well as improved the HMD's comfort through better weight distribution.
- Vive Wireless Adapter: The Vive Wireless Adapter was launched as an accessory in September 2018 for the original Vive and Vive Pro. It allows to connect the Headset with the Computer wirelessly. The Wireless Adapter is priced at $300 for Vive and $360 for Vive Pro.
- Valve Index Controllers: The Vive can use the Valve Index controllers (known during development as Knuckle Controllers) developed by Valve.
By March 2016, the time at which the pre-orders for the HTC Vive opened, 107 games were known to be coming to the virtual reality format.
In February 2017 Valve CEO Gabe Newell announced via Reddit AMA 'ask me anything' session Valve is developing three AAA VR IPs.
Valve released its OpenVR software development kit (SDK), an updated version of its Steamworks VR API with documentation and examples of how to build software that supports SteamVR hardware. It provides support for the HTC Vive Developer Edition, including the SteamVR controller and Lighthouse.
On 30 April 2015, Epic Games announced support for Valve's SteamVR technology, allowing developers to create VR projects with Unreal Engine 4 for the HTC Vive. Epic said that SteamVR is completely integrated into Unreal Engine 4 across Blueprint visual scripting and native code, meaning projects can be built without being dependent on programmer support if needed. Epic's own Showdown tech demo can already be experienced on SteamVR using the Vive headset.
In July 2016, VR news website Road to VR used game session figures from the Steam VR platform to estimate that approximately 100,000 Vive headsets had been shipped since launch. In the same month, SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI), a computer vision company, integrated its eye tracking technology in the HTC Vive to turn it into a dedicated eye tracking solution for research and professional applications. In November 2016, Vive announced that it would begin the first retail sales of its headsets at JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman stores in Australia later that month.
On 23 November 2016, HTC announced that the Vive was sold at a profit and that HTC Vive sales were "much higher" than 140,000.
On 8 January 2018, HTC unveiled an upgraded Vive model known as HTC Vive Pro. It features higher-resolution displays, now at 1440x1600 resolution per eye, along with a second outward-facing camera, attachable headphones, a microphone for noise cancellation analysis, and a refreshed design with a more "balanced" form, lighter weight, and a sizing dial. The Vive Pro uses a USB 3.0 (USB Type A) and a DisplayPort connector to connect to the PC. A hidden USB-C connector can be used to connect an additional USB device to the Vive Pro HMD. The Vive Pro is sold alongside the original as a high-end model; it is sold in headset-only as well as in full bundles. The Vive Pro headset-only package is targeted towards existing Vive users, as Lighthouse base stations are required to use the headset, but not included in the package. Two different bundles are sold since April 2018:
The Vive Pro Starter Kit includes a Vive Pro Headset and the original SteamVR 1.0 Lighthouse base stations, as well as controllers.
The Vive Pro Full Kit includes a Vive Pro Headset and the more recent SteamVR 2.0 Lighthouse base stations, as well as controllers.
The Vive Pro, that can be used both with SteamVR 1.0 and SteamVR 2.0 Lighthouse base stations, is compatible with all existing Vive accessories. However, not all Vive accessories support both available versions of the Lighthouse base stations. SteamVR 2.0 base stations can not be used in combination with the controllers shipped with the standard Vive Package and the initial Vive Trackers (before "Vive Tracker 2018"). SteamVR 2.0 base stations allow to use more than two base stations in one (optically undivided) room, which allows to support a tracked space of up to 10 x 10 m in size.
Vive Pro EyeEdit
In January 2019, at CES 2019 HTC unveiled an upgraded variant of HTC Vive Pro called Vive Pro Eye. The new device features built-in eye tracking that enables foveated rendering and hands-free interaction in VR and accessibility options for users who can't use regular motion controllers.
Vive Focus is a self-contained (as opposed to tethered to a computer) headset first launched in China and then worldwide (in 37 countries) in November 2018. The headset introductory price in US was US$599.
In November 2018 HTC filed a "Vive Cosmos" trademark application. The headset was officially unveiled on January 7 in a very brief announcement at CES 2019 and via Twitter. The presentation video showed a headset with a flip-up screen enabling user to see the real world without taking off the headset completely, four inside-out tracking cameras (two in the front and one on each side) and two handset motion controllers. An additional add-on for the headset, set to be released in Q1 2020, will allow compatibility with the original SteamVR tracking system. However, the Cosmos controllers will not support SteamVR tracking. HTC has announced the release date for the headset will be October 3, 2019
- Hutchinson, Lee (22 March 2016). "Ask Ars: I can't choose between Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR!". Ars Technica. Retrieved 24 September 2016.
- "HTC Re Vive".
- "Advanced VR Rendering, Alex Vlachos, Valve" (PDF).
- Machkovech, Sam (5 June 2017). "SteamVR is coming to Mac—and Apple says it will actually work". Ars Technica. Retrieved 5 June 2017.
- "Valve's VR headset is called the Vive and it's made by HTC". The Verge. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "VIVE NOW SHIPPING IMMEDIATELY FROM HTC, RETAIL PARTNERS EXPAND DEMO LOCATIONS". www.htc.com. Retrieved 28 January 2019.
- "Valve is making a VR headset and its own Steam Machine". Engadget. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Valve showing off new virtual reality hardware and updated Steam controller next week". The Verge. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "Valve's VR headset revealed with Oculus-like features". The Verge. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "HTC Vive pre-orders to start on February 29". Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
- "Valve, HTC Offering Free Vive VR to Developers". The Verge. Retrieved 6 April 2015.
- "HTC Vive Pre impressions: A great VR system has only gotten better". Ars Technica. Retrieved 28 January 2016.
- Neil Schneider (8 October 2015). MTBS-TV: Conversing With Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer, HTC. Event occurs at 11m55s – via YouTube.
- Neil Schneider (8 October 2015). MTBS-TV: Conversing With Phil Chen, Chief Content Officer, HTC. Event occurs at 16m46s – via YouTube.
- Hayden, Scott (9 June 2016). "HTC Announces Vive 'Business Edition' for $1200". Road to VR. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
- "VIVE | Business Edition and Commercial VR". www.vive.com. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
- "Hands-on: TPCAST's Wireless Vive Kit Really Works". UploadVR. 19 December 2016. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- Byford, Sam. "HTC's wireless Vive add-on actually works". The Verge. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- "Google Announces Standalone Headset to be Made by HTC and Lenovo". VRFocus. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2017.
- "Valve Provides Details on Upcoming Knuckles Vive Controllers". VRFocus. 22 June 2017. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
- "Valve and HTC reveal Vive VR headset". GameSpot. Retrieved 1 March 2015.
- "HTC: Why Vive Will Beat Oculus VR at Its Own Game". Tom's Guide. Retrieved 18 July 2015.
- Buckley, Sean. "This Is How Valve's Amazing Lighthouse Tracking Technology Works". Gizmodo. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
- "VIVE™ | VIVE Virtual Reality System". www.vive.com. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
- "Exploring the magic behind the HTC Vive controller". VRHeads. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
- "Welcome to Steamworks". partner.steamgames.com. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
- Lang, Ben (13 April 2017). "Latest HTC Vives Are Shipping with Tweaked Base Stations, Redesigned Packaging". Road to VR. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
- "HTC launches Vive tracker bundles". The Verge. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- "Everything you need to know about the Vive Tracker". VRHeads. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "HTC's Vive Tracker adds much-needed tactile control to VR". Engadget. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
- "HTC's Vive Deluxe Audio Strap is coming in June for $99.99". The Verge. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
- "VIVE™ | Vive Deluxe Audio Strap". www.vive.com. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
- "Wirelss Adapter on Vive Webpage". www.vive.com. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
- Lang, Ben (24 September 2018). "Vive Wireless Adapter now available". Road to VR. Retrieved 25 May 2019.
- "Valve launches SteamVR support for Linux". Engadget. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
- Stead, Chris (29 March 2015). "107 games revealed ahead of HTC Vive pre-order launch". Finder. Retrieved 29 February 2016.
- "Oculus Reverses DRM Course After Public Backlash". Techdirt. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
- Takahashi, Dean (30 April 2015). "Valve launches OpenVR dev kit for virtual reality hardware makers". VentureBeat. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Wawro, Alex (30 April 2015). "Valve launches new OpenVR SDK to expand SteamVR development". Gamasutra. UBM plc. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
- Feltham, Jamie (1 May 2015). "Valve Launches OpenVR SDK". VRFocus. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- "Valve Is Bringing Native Unity Support To SteamVR". uploadvr. Retrieved 11 February 2016.
- Hall, Charlie (30 April 2015). "Now anyone can build for SteamVR with Epic's Unreal Engine 4". Polygon. Vox Media. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Kastrenakes, Jacob; Robertson, Adi (30 April 2015). "Steam's virtual reality just got a boost from the maker of Unreal Tournament". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Cowley, Dana (30 April 2015). "Unreal Engine 4 Releases With SteamVR Support". Unreal Engine. Epic Games. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Parrish, Kevin (30 April 2015). "Epic's Unreal Engine 4 Will Support Valve's SteamVR". Tom's Hardware. Purch. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
- Lang, Ben (30 April 2015). "HTC Vive-enabled Unreal Engine 4.8 Coming next Week, Devs Can Start Work with Rift DK2". Road To VR. Retrieved 3 May 2015.
- Lang, Ben (4 July 2016). "HTC Vive Headset Nearing 100,000 Install Base, Steam Data Suggests". Road to VR. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
- Durbin, Joe (22 July 2016). "SMI Releases Eye Tracking Developer Kit For The HTC Vive". UploadVR. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- Graham, Peter (22 July 2016). "SMI Reveals Eye Tracking Developer Kit for HTC Vive". VRFocus. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
- Bogle, Ariel (4 November 2016). "HTC Vive's virtual reality headset is opening stores in Australia". Mashable. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
- Lang, Ben (23 November 2016). "HTC Confirms Each Vive is Sold at Profit, "Much More" Than 140,000 Units in Sales".
- "Connecting the Vive Pro to the PC". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
- "Connecting a USB device to the Vive Pro". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
- "Website of HTC Vive Pro". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
- "Product Comparison on Vive Website". Retrieved 25 May 2019.
- "$1,099 Vive Pro Starter Kit has everything you need for VR but the PC". Engadget. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- Hayden, Scott (23 April 2018). "Vive Pro Bundle With 2.0 Base Stations & Controllers Now Available at $1400". Road to VR. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
- "Valve announces the first big SteamVR 2.0 feature: waaay more space". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- "A closer look at HTC's new higher-resolution Vive Pro". The Verge. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- "HTC's Vive Pro will add more pixels to an otherwise familiar-looking VR system [Updated]". Ars Technica. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
- Statt, Nick (7 January 2019). "HTC announces new Vive Pro Eye virtual reality headset with native eye tracking". The Verge. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Robertson, Adi (8 November 2018). "HTC's China-exclusive Vive Focus VR headset is now launching worldwide". The Verge. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- "HTC Files Trademark For 'Vive Cosmos' VR Equipment". UploadVR. 19 November 2018. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Robertson, Adi (7 January 2019). "HTC announces a PC-powered VR headset called the Vive Cosmos". The Verge. Retrieved 14 January 2019.
- Lang, Ben (12 September 2019). "Vive Cosmos to Support SteamVR Tracking with Optional Faceplate Add-on". Road to VR. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
- Lang, Ben (12 September 2019). "Vive Cosmos Priced at $700, Pre-orders Open Today for October 3rd Release Date". Road to VR. Retrieved 16 September 2019.