HTC today provided clarity on the cost of purchasing all the necessary hardware (minus a PC) to use its Vive Pro headset. For anyone who is not upgrading from the original Vive and therefore doesn't already own touch controllers and base stations, HTC will offer a starter kit bundle for $1,099, beginning April 5.
The starter kit pairs the upgraded Vive Pro headset with two Vive 1.0 controllers and two 1.0 base stations, neither of which are included with the $799 headset. Purchased as a bundle, you're essentially paying $300 the base stations and controllers. If purchased separately, they would run about $530.
HTC's pricing is definitely on the premium end of the spectrum, even when factoring in the higher resolution. The cost of VR has always been one of the main barriers, and with HTC pricing its bundle at over a grand, that is probably not going to change for new VR entrants wanting the newest stuff. And there's the other rub—the base stations and controllers are both first-generation products. According to UploadVR, second-generation models are expected to release later this year. HTC hinted at this on its blog.
"We've got more in store soon on the full 2.0 Vive Pro kits, but it was important to us to get this out as quickly as possible," HTC said.
What the Vive Pro brings to the table is a higher resolution and more comfortable design, compared to the original Vive. HTC upgraded the resolution to 2880x1600 (1440x1600 per eye), versus the original's 2160x2160 res, and made it fit better.
Chris had a chance to play with the Vive Pro and notes that it fits much better over his glasses. While he wasn't blown away by the upgraded resolution, the comfort level has improved appreciably over the previous model. Check out his write-up for more thoughts on the headset.
While the pricing is not likely to attract any bargain hunters, HTC maintains that it "pushed for an aggressive price and value package," further noting that it wants "customers to realize the savings we've made in material costs since Vive was introduced."
For existing Vive owners who purchased the Vive Pro, it's offering a $100 Viveport content credit. It's also extending the Viveport subscription to a full year.