At ViveCon 2021, HTC VIVE’s potentially annual flagship event this May, the company made several product reveals and announcements that they hoped would rock the VR industry. Now that ViveCon has wrapped and HTC VIVE’s next-gen devices have been unveiled, it’s time to assess just how excited VR fans should be.
A New PCVR Pro
The most exciting ViveCon 2021 reveal for general VR consumers was the announcement of the forthcoming HTC VIVE Pro 2. Boasting a larger FOV than Oculus Quest 2, HTC’s newest gaming-geared HMD appears to be a direct challenger to Facebook’s mega-seller. With none of the social media requirements or questionable privacy practices Facebook’s detractors cite as reasons to steer clear of Quest 2, HTC VIVE Pro 2 offers a fantastic alternative – only at more than twice the price.
HTC VIVE Pro 2
- 120° FOV
- 5K resolution (2.5K each eye)
- 120Hz refresh rate for smooth motion
- Dual stacked-lens design
- Adjustable IPD
- Display Stream Compression technology (first of its kind)
- Certified hi-res 3D spatial sound
- On sale June 4, 2021
- $799 pre-order headset upgrade
- Full VIVE Pro 2 kit available August 2021, $1399 retail price
A New Focus on Business
HTC VIVE general manager Dan O’Brien has made HTC’s intentions clear regarding potentially conflicting enterprise and consumer markets, noting “the enterprise and professional market is a very healthy and rapidly growing market where we can bring real value and solutions.” Confirming this intention, the HTC VIVE Focus 3 has been designed with extensive business, enterprise, and industrial use in mind.
HTC VIVE Focus 3
- All-in-one HMD
- 120° FOV
- 2448×2448 per eye, 90Hz refresh rate
- 57mm-75mm adjustable IPD range
- Improved pixel density
- 8 GB RAM
- Newly designed controllers
- Durable, lightweight magnesium alloy body
- Tethered PC use via VIVE Business Streaming; wireless forthcoming
- 2 hours battery use from 1-hour charge;
- Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2 processor
- On sale June 27, 2021, $1300 retail price
Looking Forward (Eyes Optional)
Eye-tracking is reportedly coming to the HTC Vive Pro 2 in Q3 2021 from China’s 7invensun, whose Droolon F2 module will be available for $299 USD. At twice the price of HTC VIVE’s eye-tracking add-on, some users may balk at forking out for the F2. And with a lack of clarity about which markets will even see the module distributed, along with the existence of the HTC VIVE.
Pro Eye and its native eye-tracking could be seen as a disappointing move by the company. Some users are already growing tired of the extensive range of add-ons and upgrades like the latest line of motion trackers released earlier this year.
With HTC representatives being quite vocal about the value of privacy (and the potentially nefarious data accumulation and data sales practices of some of its larger VR competitors) and the importance of maintaining high technological standards for all its users, there’s unlikely to be a shortage of dedicated VR advocates eager to upgrade to HTC’s next generation.
“I think the consumer story is still yet to be told from HTC, but that’s something to be told in the future,”
Dan O’Brien, HTC VIVE general manager.
Straight from the GM’s mouth, those statements just about sum up HTC’s current position. Aim hard at enterprise, providing high-quality VR solutions applicable to many industries with an extensive suite of accessories and add-ons, all while giving VR gamers something solid to chew on while they await the next major hardware development.