Historic week for Valve and HTC: Monday, February 29 began shipping the consumer version of the 3D viewer for virtual reality HTC Vive which uses Steam VR system, whose pre-orders as expected were launched at the end of February, while the full commercial availability remains fixed at the beginning of April. The kit being sent to buyers includes a viewer, two manual controls, 360 degrees and environment scale tracking sensors.
All the components are wireless, to ensure the most complete freedom of movement given that while Oculus Rift seems to point to a “sitting” virtual reality, HTC Vive was developed for a “walking” virtual reality. HTC Vive consumer edition, moreover, is including the phone function, to allow the user to receive and send calls and keep in touch with the real world without having to stop the virtual experience (and this reminds us a lot the integrated 3D viewer of Iron Man shown in the eponymous movie franchise sequences).
The price of the complete kit is now 799 $ in the US, 689 £ in the UK and 899 Euros in Europe, but it can vary slightly depending on the individual countries since in some markets you can ship the kits only through an express delivery, slightly more expensive than regular shipping. This does not appear to have scared first buyers if it is true that in the first ten minutes of Monday, were shipped over 15,000 kits, as twitted Shen Ye, HTC VR product specialist.
Good news for the company, since it means a turnover of about 12 million dollars in a few minutes making it more likely a positive outcome of the bet made on virtual reality and in fact if you order now the HTC Vive kit, this will not be shipped before May because of existing orders tail (similar situation at Oculus Rift, where if you order a viewer today, it will not be shipped before June).
But above all it is a confirmation that the forecasts of those who, like Goldman Sachs, saw a virtual reality market by tens of billions of dollars over the next 10 years are not as “crazy” as might have seemed to the most skeptical until a few weeks ago. what from now on will make the difference will be contents: the early, shipped with both the HTC Vive both the Oculus Rift, are little more than examples that allow you to appreciate the functioning of the new devices and focus in the field of animated films and video games.
In the future, however, should come to market even educational contents, for design, for the health sector or the automotive, for professional use. Only then we will know if the virtual reality and its 3D displays are here to stay or if once past the “wow effect” the media hype will fade, and this form of virtual reality will keep company with virtual worlds like Second Life who were able to ignite the imagination only a niche, however creative and tenacious, users from around the world, without ever actually become a mass market.
I believe that this time will be different and that virtual reality and augmented reality will be integrated and become a technological scope of everyday use as they are already flat screen televisions, smartphones, remote surveillance systems, 3D printers and drones. If you want to know how it goes, continue to follow Mondivirtuali.it, even through our account on Twitter and our fanpage on Facebook (but remember: Mondivirtuali is also on Flickr, on Pinterest, on Scoop.it, on Paper.li and on Youtube).