The HTC Vive UK price and release date info has been around for a few weeks, but we've now got information on where you can go to get a hands on demo of the system (don't forget to check out our own Hands on: HTC Vive review).
From 17th March 2016, ViveTM will be available for hands-on demonstration and pre-order in participating stores across the UK, with the product reaching consumers from May 2016. The full list of participating UK stores is:
- Currys PC World, Leeds (Birstall)
- Currys PC World, Reading
- Currys PC World, Tottenham Court Road
- Overclockers UK, Newcastle-under-Lyme
- Scan Computers International Ltd, Bolton
Each store will boast a Vive demonstration station, fully open to the general public for individual sessions. You can also pre-order in advance of the main pre-order date (see below) there, too.
We know that the £689 cost is considerably more expensive than Oculus Rift, but it's worth bearing in mind that you get a lot more than just the headset with Vive. There are also two controllers, two base stations, the link box, ear buds, two gaskets for different types of "human geometry" (really) and all the cables that you need.
The base stations can be at any height and don't have to be tethered together, they can be anywhere in the room. And they're wireles from the PC (Windows, Mac, Linux) that's running the Vive system, too.
Much like the Rift, HTC does have one stumbling block that Sony's PlayStation VR doesn't have to worry about (the need for a suitably powerful PC to run it off - the PS VR simply links up to your PS4). We also found out the recommended PC specification for the Vive, notably an Intel Core i5 processor and Nvidia GeForce 970 or AMD 290 graphics.
At MWC 2016 recently, HTC's Dan O'Brien was keen to talk up the Vive's advantage over rivals, especially the fact it 'chaperones' you within a playing space so you don't need to worry about walls.. "This is for a complete system [with 360 tracking and chaperone]. Everything we've thought about to make it the best possible experience. We're really excited about it, it's all there for you."
When is the HTC Vive pre-order?
The VR wonder goggles will be available for pre-order worldwide from 29 February (10am ET, 3pm GMT, 4pm CET) and it'll be available in various countries including the UK.
We know that the kit will come with these two VR 'experiences' for a limited time:
- Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives, by Owlchemy Labs: In a firmly tongue-in-cheek world where robots have replaced all human jobs, step into the 'Job Simulator' to learn what it was like 'to job'
- Fantastic Contraption, by Northway Games in collaboration with Radial Games: Imagine walking around a grassy island floating in the sky, building a machine the size of a horse with your own hands, and then watching it roll out into the world.
- Tilt Brush (Google)
HTC also said at MWC 2016 that the built-in microphone and camera can be used to make and receive calls and texts as well as being able to see what's in the physical room at the time - say you want to take a drink, you can now 'see' it rather than having to take the goggles off.
Why not check out: Lost in sound - gaming for the visually impaired