Vive Cosmos: HTC Offers Details of Next-Gen VR Headset

HTC is set to debut the Vive Cosmos next-generation VR headset that aims to simplify VR for gamers. The PC-compatible Cosmos is portable, featuring a single cable from the left side of the headset. It relies on four cameras located on the headset, one on each side and two on the front, plus two others that can be added via a removable faceplate with cameras on the top and bottom. Removable speakers are integrated on either side of the headset. By being self-contained, the Vive Cosmos can be used in more play environments.

Digital Trends reports that the Vive Cosmos’ tracking technology offers six DOF (degrees-of-freedom) and gesture-tracking support, “making it more intuitive than past VR headsets.” The front of the headset is vented and its materials and design are, respectively, breathable and lighter, making it easier for gamers to enjoy for longer periods of time without sweating.

The Vive Cosmos also allows the user to “flip the front lens component upward without adjusting the band, allowing you to move in the real world before reentering virtual reality.” HTC designed the Vive Cosmos as modular, with “an ever-increasing suite” of modifications such as the afore-mentioned faceplate. Vive general manager Daniel O’Brien won’t get into details but said there is “a lot more to come.”

The Vive Cosmos, “the first device to make use of HTC’s Creative Labs’ Vive Reality System,” first brings the user into the “Origin” environment, which is a hub for other experiences and features “different content each time, including changing artwork.”

“We want VR to feel less like launching apps and instead like stepping into worlds,” said Creative Labs vice president Drew Bamford at CES 2019. It also includes Lens, a feature that “allows you to quickly view the time or battery life, and launch a separate app without having to go through a traditional menu.” Mozilla will launch a VR browser for use with Vive Reality System.

The new headset will offer 2880 x 1700 resolution, “nearly double the resolution of the original Vive, and it will reportedly have 40 percent higher lens clarity,” as well as offer up to 90 frame-per-second refresh rates. Also new for the Vive Cosmos are “heavily-illuminated controllers … designed to track every single move you make in conjunction with the cameras on the headset.” The buttons feature an “ergonomic overhaul … fully compatible with older VR titles … [and] the thumbsticks closely resemble the Xbox One’s controller.”

The Vive Cosmos “will be compatible with the games you purchased on Steam … [and] OpenVR and SteamVR, though using these will likely mean you won’t be accessing the new Vive Reality System interface … [as well as] the Viveport Infinity subscription service. HTC hasn’t announced a specific release date but is aiming for Q3 2019. The company also hasn’t announced a price, but Vive Cosmos is expected to be under $900.