HTC is now selling a headset-only package of Cosmos Elite priced at $550. Released in March, Cosmos Elite was initially only sold in a package that included controllers and base stations for $900. To boot, you can now also buy the Elite Tracking Faceplate separately too.

Update (May 2nd, 2020): HTC is now selling its Vive Cosmos Elite headset-only package for $550, targeted at users who already own base stations and controllers. This includes a pre-installed External Tracking Faceplate on the Cosmos headset.

The company is also now selling its  External Tracking Faceplate for $200, the module that allows all versions of Cosmos to be tracked by SteamVR base station versions 1.0 or 2.0, original Vive or Vive Pro controllers, and Valve Knuckles controllers.

Original Article (April 1st, 2020): In an op-ed last month I outlined the confusing positioning of HTC’s various VR headsets and noted how the modularity of Cosmos wasn’t practical when considering the pricing structure. Among those issues is the fact that HTC left no clear path for its existing Vive owners (who already own SteamVR Tracking controllers and base stations) to buy into the Cosmos headset without re-buying controllers and base stations:

This modularity would make a bit more sense if HTC would sell the Cosmos headsets separately. After all, that way people who bought into their VR hardware with the original Vive (which means they already have SteamVR Tracking base stations and controllers) would benefit from that investment by simply buying the Cosmos Elite headset by itself to use it with their existing hardware. Instead, HTC has left no clear path for loyal, existing VR customers to choose Cosmos.

By only selling the headsets bundled with controllers and other hardware, HTC has created a roundabout path where—if you already have SteamVR Tracking base stations and controllers—your best option is to buy Cosmos Play for $500 and then add the Cosmos Elite faceplate for $200, effectively getting you the Cosmos Elite headset for $700 (instead of $900), but still leaving you with two Cosmos controllers you don’t want but had to pay for anyway.

By announcing that it will sell the Cosmos Elite headset by itself for $550, HTC has created a much more welcoming path for anyone who already owns base stations or compatible controllers to pick up Cosmos Elite without paying more for hardware they already own.

HTC is launching the headset-only Cosmos Elite package on a rolling basis in different regions:

Country       Pre-Order       On Sale
CN        N/A       16-Apr
TW       1-Apr       16-Apr
EU       7-Apr       27-Apr
UK       7-Apr       27-Apr
CA       1-Apr       1-May
US       1-Apr       1-May
AU        N/A       May
KR        N/A       May
NZ       N/A       May
JP      To be announced      To be announced
KSA       1-May       18-May
UAE       1 May       18-May

HTC has also announced the regional release dates for the Cosmos External Tracking Faceplate, the $200 add-on faceplate which brings SteamVR Tracking to the base Cosmos headset.

Country On Sale
KR Late April
CA 1-May
US 1-May
EU 15-May
UK 15-May
AU May
ME 10-Jun
TW Late April
JP To be announced

HTC is also including a digital code for Half-Life: Alyx with the purchase of any package of Cosmos Elite or the External Tracking Faceplate.

Cosmos Elite & External Tracking Faceplate Review – Better Tracking, Same Core Issue

Though this change makes it far more practical for owners of existing SteamVR Tracking hardware and peripherals to consider Cosmos Elite as their next headset, at $550 it’s still got a price disadvantage compared to Valve’s Index headset which is sold by itself for $500.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
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  • Mettanine

    Finally something from HTC that makes sense. And yet I still can’t see many people favoring this when you can get an Index for less. Once again, the wireless option is the only real selling point for this headset.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      But the wireless option is already available for all the other Vive headsets. This headset has a slightly higher resolution than the Vive Pro, and reading some reviews, even for LCD panels it doesn have really good blacklevels. So why get an Index if you can get something that might be better than the index? What makes the index so much better?

      • Mettanine

        I can’t say that it’s much better, because I never used a Cosmos. However, judging by the specs alone, Cosmos is at best equivalent to Index and still more expensive.

        One thing I can say with confidence is that the audio solution on the Index is better. Cosmos looks very similar to my old Vive strap and the hovering speakers of the Index are so much better.

        Then there is the higher refresh rates (120/144hz), which Cosmos does not support.

        I may still be wrong, of course. But considering all the info I have, Cosmos would need to be 100-150$ cheaper for me to even consider it.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          But for me the hovering speakers is what I don’t like about the index, yes it might sound good, but it doesn’t occulde enviroment noise which is the biggest problem (I like the headphones to stick firmly to my ears.. And yes the higher refreshrate is certainly a plus, but only if you have the hardware to drive it. But I also read somewhere that the blacklevels and color fidelity of the cosmos are much better than the index, and that’s something I think is much more important than having 120/144hz displays.. BUT i think it will come down to preference, and for most they have no ability to actually test it before buying..

    • Caven

      The ability to use the Vive wireless adapter I already have was definitely a major selling point, but the tip-up feature can be quite useful–at least for developers. I’m doing development work in VR, and constantly putting on and taking off the headset is a real nuisance.The tip-up feature sounded promising, and now that I’ve tried it for myself I’m really happy with it. Even outside of active development, it’s quite nice being able to put the headset on, but not being semi-blind when putting on the controllers. It’s also a quick way to get out of VR temporarily if I need to interact with someone, and it’s something I wouldn’t be able to do with the Vive Pro. I’m already quite spoiled on the tip-up feature. I’ve found it to be a lot more useful than I expected.

      I sure wouldn’t buy the whole Cosmos Elite kit and be saddled with Vive wands, but pairing the Cosmos Elite headset with Index controllers is turning out to be a nice combo so far in my opinion.

  • Arashi

    Dead on Arrival

  • Zantetsu

    Are HTC lenses still abysmal?

    • sfmike

      Still the same annoying Fresnel BS.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Just like those of the Rift or Index, yep, still fresnellenses..

    • Caven

      They are. While I’m quite happy with the Cosmos Elite, Probably the most glaring shortcoming is the lenses, which have an annoyingly small sweet spot. Though now that I think about it, I don’t recall god rays being an issue the way they are on some of my other headsets. That being said, I wasn’t really looking for that, so I’d probably have to specifically check for it to see how the effect is. If someone doesn’t care about wireless, it might make more sense to look into a different headset, but for me, wireless and tip-up capability were important enough that the lens shortcoming isn’t that big a deal to me–especially since I was already used to dealing with that sort of thing out of my original Vive.

      • Zantetsu

        What is “tip-up capability”?

        • Caven

          The front of the headset is on a hinge, so if you need to interact with the real world for a moment, you just tip the headset up on the hinge, and now you can see your computer, other people, etc. It’s more useful for developers, who will often need to test something in VR, exit VR to make a quick change, go back into VR to test, and so on. But even outside of development, it’s nice to be able to put on the headset, yet still be able to see your controllers when you go to pick them up. It’s also good for double-checking for obstacles during play, interacting with people when interrupted, or for performing tasks on your computer that can’t be easily done in VR, such as typing a quick message or interacting with a prompt that didn’t pop-up in VR.

          While it’s certainly not a critical feature, I’ve already found tip-up functionality to be much more convenient than I expected.

          • Zantetsu

            Ah now that you explain it, the meaning of the phrase is obvious. Thanks for your detailed explanation.

  • gothicvillas

    It doesn’t matter any of the specs when the FOV is the same low. Period.

  • Not even a tiny bit interested in this headset.

  • Jerald Doerr

    HTC!!! Save some stock for all the RMA’s!!

    • Andrew Jakobs

      It’s not like Valve or Oculus doesn’t have any problems with their headsets, I think it’s the same amount of RMA’s.

  • Finally they have listened to the community! $550 makes some sense, probably they’re aiming at selling this to whoever can’t buy an Index because the Index is out of stock

  • ArSh

    Why would anyone get this over the Vive Pro?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Cheaper? I just wished they would change the awful fresnellenses to clearlenses as the GearVR mods for Vive prove to be perfect replacements with a few minor flaws which probably can be corrected if they are fully designed for the Vive and their software. It’s the only thing that I really hate about my Pro, the awful fresnellenses with it’s awful godrays and always ‘smudgy’ look..

      • It’s probably beyond their R&D budget to create a new lens design, it takes serious money to get right

        look at the amount of development time Google spent on their 2017 daydream lenses, to move from aspherical (original, seen here) to Fresnel, running millions of light ray simulations on super computer.

        The Fresnel offered a measurable improvement in clarity, field of view (+10 degrees) reduction in pupil swim and chromatic aberration, but at cost of god’s rays. I kept my original Daydream for media consumption as many YouTube VR were spoiled by God rays.

        Not an easy problem, Oculus have made great strides forward with their Fresnel lenses since the CV1, but spent alot of money getting there.

  • AJ_74

    Does anyone else see the insanity here? They’re charging $350 for two first-gen controllers and 2 first-gen base stations. THREE HUNDRED AND FIFTY US DOLLARS. How is this company still in business?

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Well, the v2.0 hardware is even more expensive while according to Valve when they were touting the 2.0 hardware it was cheaper to produce and yet we all know now that 2.0 basestations are much more expensive..

      • Caven

        True. The Index base stations and controllers are $500 when part of the whole Index kit, and almost $600 when purchased separately.

  • kontis

    Hey RtVR – your idea to update old articles even with not directly relevant information is the wrong approach and you guys are the only ones doing it.

    • kuhpunkt

      I don’t like it either, but Ben said it help with google.

  • impurekind

    So, how does the actual headset itself compare to the likes of the Index and Rift S in terms of specs, features, performance, etc?

  • NooYawker

    $500 buck the cosmos and another $200 for an addon faceplate to make it actually work. What a load garbage.

    • Caven

      To clarify, the $550 Cosmos Elite headset includes the SteamVR faceplate. The $200 faceplate is only for people who already own a non-Elite Cosmos headset.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    This company was the biggest seller and now is the least.Who that seeks God is wise and if you humble yourself He will exalt you.Jesus delivered me from alcoholism and suicide.Jesus is my Lord and Savior ! He I hope will you also put your faith in.