When HTC first announced the HTC Vive, people were sceptical: Oculus had been the only real player in the VR world, and many initially thought that the Vive wouldn’t be able to compete with the experience the Rift could offer.
But they were wrong. HTC’s accurate room-scale tracking technology offered a totally unique VR experience when compared to other headsets on the market.
Fast forward to 2017, and there are rumbles of a second-generation HTC Vive appearing online. Could we see the launch of a wireless HTC Vive in 2017? Carry on reading to find out all the latest rumours about the HTC Vive 2.
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When is the HTC Vive 2 release date?
So, when should we expect the second-generation HTC Vive? It’s hard to say at the moment. While some suggest that we could see the HTC Vive 2 before the end of 2017, we think a 2018 reveal is more likely. This is made more plausible when you consider the fact that HTC is still working hard to develop and release accessories for the first-generation headset.
However, recent comments from HTC’s president of global sales Chia-lin Chang suggest that something VR-related is on the way this year, although it may not be another high-end headset.
At the launch of the HTC U series in Singapore, Chang suggested that the company is planning on releasing a mobile-level VR product before the end of the year. “We’re a VR company, we’re going to have something,” he remarked.
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How much will the HTC Vive 2 cost in the UK?
Of course, with rumours about the upcoming headset rather light on the ground, it’s hard to speculate about the potential cost. We imagine that to keep Vive in a competitive place in the market, HTC won’t up the price of its second-generation VR headset – especially as Oculus recently made Oculus Rift & Touch more affordable to prospective buyers.
With that being said, we imagine that the HTC Vive 2 will cost somewhere between £750-800 in the UK, although the exact price will depend on the features offered. A completely wireless VR headset may set consumers back slightly more, for example.
We’ll update this section with news as we receive it, so make sure you check back soon for the latest information on UK pricing.
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What should I expect from the HTC Vive 2?
So, what can we expect from the second-generation HTC Vive? After all, the first-generation HTC Vive with room-scale tracking and motion controllers changed the way that gamers interact with the virtual environment, with the likes of Oculus only recently catching up with the release of its Touch controllers.
While admittedly there aren’t many rumours just yet, there are a few whispers online that give us a glimpse at what to expect.
New Base Station system
There’s a rumour (albeit not the most exciting one) that the next-generation HTC Vive 2 will come with improved ‘Lighthouse’ base stations. Many first-generation HTC Vive owners have complained about the Base Stations: they’re loud, bulky and break fairly easy due to the number of moving parts inside.
It’s easy to understand why when you know how it works: the current system uses two rotors that sweep lasers across your play area and pick up the headset and any other peripherals. The lasers are used by the headset and accessories to calculate their relative position in the physical space and allow for room-scale tracking. Sounds straight forward enough, right?
Not straight forward enough for HTC apparently, as the second-gen base stations are said to be much simpler in design. The new Base Stations are apparently designed to provide the same level of accuracy as the first-generation Stations, but only use a single rotor.
Valve engineer Ben Jackson has suggested that it’d make the Base Stations not only quieter, but cheaper, lighter and more power efficient. We also hope it makes them cheaper to buy, as a single replacement Base Station currently costs £122.
It also suggests that the HTC Vive 2 will feature the same tracking system as the first-generation product, deciding against an inside-out tracking system touted by many upcoming VR headsets that negate the need for Base Stations.
Redesigned Vive controllers
First spotted at 2016’s Steam Dev Days, the Vive 2 could come with redesigned Vive controllers that can compete with Oculus’s impressive Touch controllers. As you can see in the below tweet, the controllers feature a strap that attaches the controller to your wrist and allows you to completely let go of the grips to simulate ‘dropping’ a virtual object.
Plus, it’ll be handy to give your sweaty hands a rest during times where the controllers aren’t required.
Being a prototype, specs are unconfirmed but there are rumours circulating that the prototype controller featured as many as 21 sensors, allowing them to be accurately tracked in the physical space at any angle.
There’s also a possibility that the redesigned controllers will be compatible with the first-generation HTC Vive, although we’ll have to wait for an official announcement from Vive first.
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