HTC Vive Gets Enthusiastic Reception, Ideas for Improvement

The HTC Vive virtual reality headset, priced at $799, just released and at least one review gives it a thumbs-up. Although the Vive didn’t get the high-profile attention afforded the Oculus Rift, which was released a week ago, consumers who try it are impressed, says one critic, who avers that it “certainly beats the Rift in terms of immersion.” A VR system is made up of numerous components and the Vive doesn’t compare favorably in every single one, but one reviewer says it’s on track to create an ecosystem beyond gaming.

TechCrunch put the HTC Vive through its paces, with the critic mentioned above saying the consumer Vive wins “the crown” compared to the Rift. Although he labels the Vive as “a bit less refined and intuitive in terms of its feature set… it nails so many of the futuristic pursuits it reaches beyond reality to find.”


More specifically, the Vive requires “a decent amount of room” to accommodate the system’s room-scale tracking. The motion-tracked controllers, which are “a bit oddly shaped,” feel solid and offer a stellar button layout, he adds, although he prefers the ergonomics of the Oculus Touch. Like the Rift, the Vive is a “tethered experience,” but the critic questions the tether’s form factor, a “thick flat cord” and notes how the user’s constant movements can make that tether “restricting at times.”

One caveat is that the user will require a powerful PC; the critic was disappointed with its performance on his $1,200 Alienware X51 gaming PC with an Nvidia GTX 970 graphics card: “It’s important to remember that even if your PC meets the recommended specs, you’re likely still going to see performance issues when the going gets tough.”

The Vive also takes some inspiration — not all of it positive — from Valve, creator of the Steam game store, which partnered with Vive. In particular, TechCrunch criticizes the headset for taking design inspiration from Steam’s disappointing desktop interface. The HTC Vive debuted with 70 titles, live on Steam, but the critic was underwhelmed by “Fantastic Contraption,” “Job Simulator” and “Tilt Brush,” which are “short, bite-sized adventures that utilize full motion-tracked body movement” and merely “representative of the type of content that succeeds on the platform.”

Several titles use a separate gamepad or keyboard/mouse for gameplay, which the critic deems “ambitious,” in that it does many things and gets most, but not all, of them right. Conclusion? “The experience is in a lot of ways so much richer than any other headsets out there, including the Rift.” A video on TechCrunch shows one of many videos HTC has debuted to show what it looks and feels like to experience the Vive.

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