Having revealed SteamVR and the Vive VR headset just six months ago, Valve and HTC set an aggressive consumer release date of Q4 2015. This would make the companies first-to-market over major competitors. Now, however, Valve is dialing back expectations for the HTC Vive release date, saying that most of the headsets will go out in Q1 2016.

While Valve and HTC’s announcement of an entry into the consumer VR landscape came last compared to its two nearest competitors, Oculus and Sony, the company had impressively planted the first flag in the ground for a consumer release of the headset in Q4 2015, with Oculus and Sony following in Q1 and Q2 2016 respectively.

That lead out the gate doesn’t seem quite as far now, with Valve announcing today that only a limited quantity of units would be shipped before year’s end.

Later this year, HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems, with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016.

While there are reportedly a few hundred Vive Developer Edition kits now in the wild, Valve says that they’ve received more than 10,000 signups for the Vive dev kit. Other than nearing the shipping date, this is likely a major reason behind closing signups for the kit as the company did just the other day.

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While Oculus doesn’t plan to ship the consumer version of their Rift headset until Q1 2016, they have stated that pre-orders will start sometime in 2015. With Valve’s latest announcement, the ‘first-to-market’ advantage may not be quite as clear cut as expected.

The ‘big three’ headsets have yetto be priced for release.

Lead photo courtesy Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)