HTC took to the stage at CES 2019 to reveal not only eye-tracking technology for the prosumer Vive Pro headset, but an all-new headset dubbed the Vive Cosmos. HTC shared a handful of details about the upcoming headset, including a brief look at the design and headline features including inside-out tracking.

If you weren’t lucky enough to go along to CES 2019 and see the announcement yourself, don’t worry; we’ve got everything you need to know about the Vive Cosmos right here, including the latest release date, pricing and feature news.

When will the Vive Cosmos be released?

While the Vive Cosmos has been revealed, there’s no firm release date in place. At the reveal, HTC teased that it’s “coming soon”, although developers will be able to get their hands on development kits at some time in “early 2019” to prepare content for the headset.

We’re hopeful for a late-2019 launch, but it could well be 2020 before we see a worldwide release of Vive’s next-gen VR headset.  

How much will the Vive Cosmos cost?

The Vive Cosmos certainly looks like an impressive headset, but its success will be dependent on pricing. If it’s too high, HTC risks pushing users into the arms of Oculus with the standalone Oculus Quest headset. While the HTC Vive was originally £700+, we don’t think the company will launch the Cosmos at that price – it’s way too expensive, and more in-line with HTC’s “prosumer” Vive Pro.

Instead, we expect the Vive Cosmos to cost a similar amount to the HTC Vive, currently priced at £499 in the UK. It’s possible that the release of the Cosmos could lead to a further discount of the Vive, making high-quality VR accessible to more people, but we’ll have to wait and see what HTC has planned.

What does the Vive Cosmos offer?

So, what is the Vive Cosmos and why is it different to the HTC Vive and the upcoming Vive Focus? While the exact specs of the headset are still a mystery, the main focus of the Vive Cosmos is simplicity. The headset is described as offering an “easy setup” and will provide “absolute comfort” both at home and on-the-go.

How does HTC plan to offer this?

It’s simple; the Vive Cosmos and accompanying handheld controllers don’t require external sensors for 6DOF tracking. It should remove the process of outlining your play area whenever you want to jump into the world of VR, as is the case with the Vive and Vive Pro at the moment. It should make it accessible to more people, and not just dedicated VR gamers who don’t mind installing wall-mounted base stations.  

The Vive Cosmos will connect to PC initially, but HTC has suggested that you may be able to link the Cosmos with a smartphone in future. This was further reinforced by a teaser video that shows the headset next to a smartphone and the accompanying press release, which states that the Cosmos will have “the capability to be powered by more than a traditional gaming PC”.

HTC’s reveal video also teases an all-around improved headset design, including features like a flip-up HMD that lets you see the real world without having to remove the headset, tracking cameras on the front and sides of the cameras and the handheld controllers have had an upgrade too. Gone is the fiddly touchpad, replaced by a joystick and accompanying buttons that look a little more like Oculus’ Touch controllers.