In a recent interview, HTC Vive General Manager Daniel O’Brien provided a carefully-worded answer when asked specifically about a ‘Vive 2’. HTC’s current VR headset is now over year old; PC VR hardware cycles are anticipated to last somewhere between 1 and 3 years.

“We’re always continuing to listen to developers, what they think is the most beneficial next-generation improvements and that’s how we’re solving the next headset and when that will come to market”, O’Brien said in response to a question about when the company would introduce a second iteration of the headset, during an interview with Digital Trends.

“It’s not about picking a production cycle and timeline, it’s about bringing really meaningful innovation that helps the developer community to create compelling new experiences.”

In addition to tweaks to the SteamVR Tracking Base Stations, Vive packaging has been refined over time. | Photo courtesy Craig Albert

The question followed a discussion about HTC’s strategy of gradually improving and upgrading the first-generation Vive hardware over time, where O’Brien categorised the lighter cable as a harmless mid-generation improvement (presumably the overall lighter weight and tweaked Base Stations would meet this description too). He considers this to be far less significant than something like a display change.

“When it comes to major jumps like resolution, that’s new-new products,” said O’Brien.

However, optional VIve upgrades are growing in number, adding highly-desirable features that consumers might expect from the second generation of hardware. A wireless solution, rigid headstrap with integrated audio, additional tracking devices, and even eye tracking and corrective lenses are all becoming available for the first generation Vive, which can add several hundred dollars to the price. It supports the notion that the Business Edition and consumer versions of the Vive are about to increasingly diverge; it was recently confirmed that new purchases of the Business Edition will come with the Deluxe Audio Strap, and certainly TPCast’s wireless solution and 7invensun’s new eye-tracking modules will attract the less price-sensitive business market.

Second-gen Lighthouse Chip Could Improve Tracking, Reduce Cost of HTC Vive 2

O’Brien also acknowledged the significance of wireless, and depending on how you interpret his comment, might be hinting that the next Vive could arrive in 2018. “TPCast is actually a Vive X company that we invested in and we’re helping them come to market. That is an add-on. In 2017 I feel like wireless is going to be an option for consumers. Later on in 2018, wireless will be an expected feature.”

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Xron

    So, lets hope for vive 2 in a year from now!

  • theonlyrealconan

    I bought the vive on day one. While I love the experience, it really does need an upgrade (to get rid of the screen door, better comfort, jaggies all over, better lense, etc etc).

    Nice thing is, HTC can say whatever they want, but they know the next one that sells a truly second gen VR headset, is getting all the customers that feel the way I do. So hopefully the pressure causes them to release sooner. And no matter what they say, them holding off has a lot to do with the tech becoming cheaper to make and them making a bigger profit off the headsets (compared to when it first comes out).

    • craylon

      Actually I am quite happy with their strategy. I also bought the vive on day one and also feel new display/ optics is the way to go.
      But I do think its more about doability then about pressure or profit. I think if they could right now, they would put that better display into the vive pro and increase the price knowing many of us would bite that bullet.

    • Raphael

      I do think quite a percentage who own vr are largely ignorant about the history of it. They think vr is oculus and vive. They tend to be focused heavily on “screen door” and “pixel res”. I played serious sam second encounter in vr around 2006. Zero contrast displays, colours that changed randomly when the unit heated up. No head tracking and no vr controllers.

      So you think HTC can be pressured into releasing an amazing second gen vr system sooner right?

      Ditch your vr and come back in 5 years when you won’t have to worry about screen door.

    • NooYawker

      Valve is an independent company, they have been threatened, yelled at, cursed at.. basically everything you can think of and yet they haven’t released HL3. They answer to no share holders, they don’t think about maximizing profits, they’ll continue do move at their own pace.

    • Insanelycool

      Yes, first to market with screen-door less unit will be the first to gain MASS adoption, even at a significant price tag like they are now. I am one that is waiting for the real deal, and there are millions more like me.

  • Thought Criminal

    He doesn’t want to say it’ll be too soon because that may cut into sales as people will just wait for the new one…

  • David

    Well I am waiting for HTC Vive 2! Hope it has a higher resolution.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      You don’t have to hope, it certainly will have a much higher resolution..

      • Joe Joejoe

        Likely it will, but that will just put it more out of reach since it will take more expensive hardware to run it. It’ll also probably be more expensive. So you’ll see the Vive 1 selling for $700 two years from now, and the Vive 2 selling for $999.

        • Andrew Jakobs

          I think they will stop selling the Vive 1 once the Vive 2 is released, it will propably support upscaling by itself for lowend hardware.

  • Master E

    4K display w a 140+ fov
    External camera for an augmented reality mix
    Eye tracking for foveated rendering
    Room scale
    Haptic gloves so we can live in the world of minority report

    Some serious named launch titles optimized for it (minecraft, FO4, Skyrim VR, etc.)

    I’m on the bandwagon and can only hope…

    • towblerone

      >Some serious named launch titles optimized for it (minecraft, FO4, Skyrim VR, etc.)

      So you just want to replay old games you’ve already played before. *sigh* This is why people see VR as a gimmick. People like you are insisting that it be a gimmick.

      • Gus Bisbal

        towblerone, people like you have no vision or concept that a flat screen game is a completely different beast to the same game in VR. Only people who have never used VR make comments like this. Play Half life in VR and see. Played it 1000 times in flat screen. Would pay $150 to do it again in VR. And for those that see VR as a gimmick, those losers will be left in history books as people who never saw it coming.

        • towblerone

          “no vision” Says the people who just want to play the same crap in VR that they’ve played on a flat screen a 1000 times. Sit down. You don’t even have the vision to realize you have no vision.

          If all you can come up with “what would you like to experience in VR?” is “all my old PC games” then VR has no reason to exist. VR deserves better than you dolts.

          • Hamish Pain

            I’d argue that reliving old experiences in a new way is a fine thing to have in VR, just like HD remasters of older games and movies are nice. Having them in a new dimension is a really amazing experience, even outside the nostalgia factor.

            You’re right that experiences designed for VR are what VR as a medium deserves, just look at the Rick and Morty experience for something close to uniquely VR. However, financially, I foresee lots of VRemakes coming soon, and will be happy to see the larger pool of media further enlarging the pool of VR owners. Hopefully we’ll get some more targeted things in the future when there’s the market for it

          • towblerone

            My only fear is that VR will become a gimmick because all gamers will want to buy is stuff they’ve already played on flat screens and all of the wonderful potential that VR could’ve achieved will be squandered.

            If VR requires flat game ports to help build its market share and mind share with the public, I think it’s a temporary phase I’m willing to wait out. I just want VR to mature far beyond that and even beyond gaming itself.

          • mingchoi

            Porting old game to VR ensure the product have actual game play since they are already success. Unlike lot “indie VR game” which just a two hour experience. That’s the bad game use VR as a gimmick.

          • towblerone

            *sigh* This line of logic will not benefit VR. VR does not exist just for flat gamers.

            Trying to talk to gamers about the potential of VR is like trying to talk to potted plants. They just want the same thing and don’t understand a thing about medium-exclusive features.

            At this point I’m nearly convinced that it’ll be gamers that both popularize VR and then deprive it of reaching its potential as a truly ground-breaking medium.

          • Mark Yang

            You sound like someone who thinks they know a LOT more than they actually do. Ports may be the very thing that SAVES VR from being a gimmick. The real impediment as it stands right now is the lack of a return on investment for serious application development. There is not an install base large enough to justify ground-up AAA type titles on a VR platform. Just a fact. For that reason, the adaptation of existing popular mainstream titles is a far more workable path to convincing a skeptical mainstream that the tech is worth the investment.

            Lack of a market is what will deprive VR of reaching it’s potential. Your inference that rereleasing established IP as a VR adaptation will stunt VR development is asinine, with zero logical basis. That’s like saying the PS4 would have flopped if it had PS3 backwards compatibility. Yeah ok.

          • towblerone

            >Ports may be the very thing that SAVES VR from being a gimmick.

            The idiocy is so strong that all I can do is sigh and put my head in my hands. You don’t even understand what a gimmick is. Being forced to play nothing but old, flat PC/console games in VR IS THE VERY DEFINITION OF IT BEING A GIMMICK.

            I can’t believe it. For years the VR community fought the stigma that VR was a gimmick and now I’m hearing more and more idiot gamers fighting for VR to be relegated to nothing more than an ancillary appendage for flat gaming.

            We keep having flat gaming terminology crammed down our throats like “AAA”. There’s no such thing as “AAA books” or “AAA movies” but gamers have hijacked VR, assume it was made purely for them and that all content must be made to cater to their whims. If that’s the case then VR will die because the number of actual gamers is relatively tiny compared to, say, the mobile phone market.

            Flat gamers are pushing for all of the resources shoveled into VR development to cater to a niche of a niche market.

            If gamers with no f##king vision get to determine the course of VR, the medium is doomed.

          • Mark Yang

            You are so convinced of your own superiority that you failed to actually read my comment, and made yourself look really stupid in your response by supporting my point.

            The kind of innovative and “outside-the-box” experiences you are pining for cost $$$ to develop, and that equals risk. The expected return on investment is limited by the market size, and any piece of VR software is limited to the market of VR hardware owners, like myself.

            As an early adopter and one who downloaded and tried dozens and dozens of VR titles from every possible category, I can tell you that it is very easy for crappy software to completely spoil someone’s opinion about VR. Not only that, there are many aspects of the experience that take some serious development to tune, aspects for which there is no established best practice. That is a tremendous amount of overhead in terms of R&D.

            There is a very real chance that unless the largest group of people with rigs powerful enough to enjoy VR gets behind it, the technology will die on the vine because any major investment will not pencil out because the market is too small. Those people are gamers.

            One obvious potential way to bridge the development cost – market size gap is by adapting existing popular IP to a VR experience. This reduces developmental cost, increases name recognition, and has significant cross-over with the target demographic that is needed to give VR the install base it needs before you can expect it to blossom into it’s potential.

            Stop puking your own unrelated neuroses into responses.

          • Mark Yang

            Another thing, you act as though there is some kind of “Maximum Occupancy” for VR software, or like VR development resources are a zero sum game.

            It’s not. It’s a sum total game, and more investment in VR helps move the industry closer to the brilliant stuff no one can imagine yet because it is truly new. We all want that, and it should be obvious to you that the way to get there is to grow the install base so it is worth spending the big bucks on VR R&D.

          • Mane Vr

            that is normal just like how console was mainly arcade games in the beginning. you got to start with what people is comfortable with and what they want that will allow you to then show them what they didn’t know they wanted. right now most people see vr they go “that cool. o what I can’t play with my friends unless they too have vr and I got to play games I never heard off by devs who I’ve never played any of their games before and u want me to drop 1200-2000 for an hmd and vr ready pc? nah I don’t need that i’m just going to play the new BFand halo” it doesn’t matter how many people you let try your hmd at the end of the day they want to play in a world they are excited to visit yr after yr. it’s hard enough to get them to try a new ip but then u add an hmd on top of that. I will admit indie devs r at a point that some could be the next naughty dog or bungie in vr but they need to survive thru this and the best way I see to do so is to do what a lot of indie devs do now contract with big devs to port their games into vr just like they do ports now or how some do mp maps. it’s easy money for them while they try new things they can work into their own vr only game later.

          • It is business sense to have both. Classic AAA games that people loved and would like to be “inside” their favorite world is just as important as new AAA VR titles. No need to be in one camp or the other. Upgrading a game to take advantage of VR is also much quicker and cheaper than inventing something new, especially if the developers have a huge fan base who can be converted over to VR.

          • towblerone

            >Classic AAA games that people loved and would like to be “inside” their favorite world is just as important as new AAA VR titles.

            This is sensible. I have no issues with flat game ports being used as a springboard to help VR evolve as a medium to the point that it no longer needs the crutch of flat games to progress to the next level.

            My issue is with people who ONLY want to ever replay old flat games in VR and have no vision for how the medium should move beyond them. I want VR to fly and become its own thing and not stagnate and just become some optional, gimmicky way to play seated, M+K games.

            Video games started as a cousin of board games and tabletop RPGs, which was apparent in how initial arcade games were designed, also taking into account the difficulty levels which had to be set to exploit time-gameplay limitations to maximize revenue. Arcade games require you to stand for the most part so gaming sessions were relegated to minutes and not hours.

            I think VR, especially room-scale, will be best designed for shorter, episodic gaming sessions that you could continue over time. Eventually we could have open-world simulations that could hypothetically be lived in but that’s going to take time.

          • jarjarplinks

            I agree totally, having some past well known titles adapted to VR will only help HMD adoption. It’s a win win for both game developers and consumers. The cost to developers is relatively small, and it works as a hook to get more gamers on board. And just as importantly, the rest of us that own headsets can actually get some games that aren’t over in a couple of hours.

          • Get Schwifty!

            I agree with this 100%….. retrofit to VR when possible to open up the market… you can’t seriously expect to get the typical Gamestop denizen to be interested in Job Simulator or Wilson’s Heart, they want what all their buddies are playing that month.

        • Raphael

          Exactly right. In the year i had my dk2… Half life 2 was the best game on it. Elite also good and that’s another vintage game reborn. People are getting sick of seeing vr games with 2 hours or less gameplay. Games like hl2 and serious Sam are loved and people who know what those games are about want to be able to be in those game worlds. I spent hundreds of hours in hl2 but on a 2d rectangle you’re on the outside looking in. When you play the game in vr you experience it fully for the first time. You notice things you didn’t notice on a tiny rectangle.

          Yes i played it with mouse and keys…. Kiddies oblivious to classic games tend to take the piss out of anyone who sits down to play a vr game.

          Vr attracts numpties too unfortunately.

        • Master E

          Totally agree.

          If it cuts a corner to get more content out there it’ll only help

          Look how well some remastered games done?!

      • Markus K

        I would agree that it’s people that have not tried high end VR that downplay the the enjoyment of old titles in VR. It’s actually the old titles that will boost VR, not the other way around. Fallout VR is just one example.

        • towblerone

          Old games may boost VR interest in the interim, but if that’s all VR is, it will fail. People, even VR enthusiasts like me, will not spend hundreds of dollars to replay old games. The whole reason why I’m hyped for VR is because it’s NOT standard, flat PC gaming.

          I owned a Vive and loved it and not a single piece of software that I loved for it was something I would’ve played on a flat screen. THAT’S THE POINT OF VR. It’s its own medium.

          The problem is that you have all of these no vision having flat gamers that just want VR to be a gimmick to satiate their desire to replay old games that were made for flat screens.

      • Master E

        I don’t see where I said I’d rather have old games?! Calm!… calm….No I’d love to play some new games of course, who the f wouldn’t?, but maybe some ports would be a quicker way to bring some good games to the market. Working with animators, VR has just not been around long enough for many companies to muster the resources, $, and learn rendering techniques for 120fps.

        And then of course the big hurdle is return on investment. There are plenty of older games that would be stellar in VR and a lot of development corners could be cut.

        Let’s far it VR content is lacking. I’d rather have content at this point in any form.

    • Evan Colegrove

      Don’t worry, it’ll happen eventually. It’s just a matter of when. Remember, even as little as 5 years ago VR was still a pipe dream.

    • VRdeluxe

      I think with companies like DPVR releasing the E3 with 1440p OLED screens and 5m x 5m polaris laser tracking HTC needs to pull the finger fast. Nobody ever wanted to buy an HTC produc. They were just first to market

  • Smokey_the_Bear

    I’m betting a Vive II will come out in time for Holiday 2018, 2½ years after the first gen.
    But I’m gonna get a Windows VR headset to hold me over until then. But I’ll definitely interested in a Vive II.

    • CENTER

      Man, I do not want it to come out in December, where we have a total of a month to get down on that. I loved it when the Vive came out in April and had the whole summer with it.

      • Evan Colegrove

        Nah. Holiday launches are good for electronics. In the summer, people want to spend their free time outside, in winter it’s too cold.

    • VRdeluxe

      Im betting a vive 2 will be announced right when the other major player announces thir second gen. In other words milk these CV1 units for every dollar

      • Meow Smith

        Amen, their public stance is bs their private stance is to only release new hardware when forced to by the competition.

      • kool

        They only sold a half a million units it isn’t milking, it’s called getting a return on the investment.

    • Ben Gring

      Well this aged poorly lol

  • Gamevid4

    The moment something ships with the same features as the Vive but with higher resolution I am in.

  • Lucidfeuer

    Yeah, you wish HTC…you wish…

  • Leo Richard Comerford

    What about FDM support in the HMD or whatever it will take to get Vive headsets to ship with support for three-or-more-base-station tracking, a feature that got quite a lot of fanfare when the Vive was originally announced? Will this be a Vive 2 feature; will it come in a future stealthy Vive 1 hardware revision? Is is there already in the newest Vives? Maybe just in the Business Edition? Is it never going to happen?

  • Denti

    I just want the higher resolution and FOV. Don’t care about wireless.

    • Tony Murchison

      After an hour of wearing the Vive, I no longer noticed the screendoor, low resolution, or even the limited FOV. But I was, and am, still tripping over the cable.

      I suppose it depends on how you want to be able to use the device, what kind of experience you expect from it. But a lot of people do care about wireless, and I expect it to be a major selling point of the next high-end generation.

      • polysix

        I had vive, I noticed ALL of its drawbacks including shitty blacks and lens flares (same goes for Rift), I even preffered my DK2 I got back when that came out in some ways (blacks, comfort etc).

        GEN 1 isn’t good enough to achieve escape velocity with anyone but the most hardcore VR geeks (of which I AM one but I’m done with that low res, cartoon world, bad ergonomics, low FOV crap now – been doing it since DK1 and we need a proper boost/GEN 2 with real quality all round to be the real ‘day zero’ of VR). Hopefully sometime in 2018.

        • robert cole

          sold both my Vive’s and am now happy waiting for 2nd generation Vive (model year 2018 no doubt,as LG and others come to the steamVR party) with improved ergonomics (audio head strap) and tether less (i.e. TP cast or similar) as standard.

          Hopefully steamVR will be more stable, and a greater maturity of content across the market with some compelling experiences to make the considerable investment worth the outlay

        • Mike

          You can significantly increase the FOV by using thinner padding (or cutting out part of the default padding to make it thinner).

  • polysix

    well they better not hang around too long, I sold my VIVE – not good enough for the cash. Had PSVR and DK2.. all gone. Rift CV1 not good enough. We need higher res/foveated/wireless asap pref with much better FOV (and def with a LOT better ergonomics) or else it’s just going to stagnate, even hardcore geeks can’t / don’t want to use VR for long based on current gen. It needs at least a base/bare minimum of quality before they can sit back and watch it grow.

    GEN 2 needs to happen within 18 months or VR is fkd!

  • Jason Mercieca

    Good vr hardware is expensive, i would like new models of course but any particular model should last not less than 2 years, and only updated when there is real progress in many areas like resolution/lenses/harness/wireless, only then update is required so making it useful for what you pay, not everyone can afford to pay £750 (&more) every year for new hmds, consumers must be looked after if not then they look elsewhere, after all i will be pissed off if my vive is the latest model for only 1 year, surely for marketing reasons, so many thanks to htc vive creators for only replacing models when its really needed, thats a move in favour of there consumers and not for only marketing like near all are, so MANY THANKS TO HTC ! Im sure they will produce a vive 2 in future and when it comes it will really be an upgrade in its entirety. ..

  • I hope high-end headsets go the same way PC’s have with a design that allows upgradable modular parts. Body, lenses, strap, headphones, lighthouses, controllers etc.

    People would be more inclined to ‘buy now’ knowing it is an investment that can be upgraded rather than the worry of it being obsolete just around the corner. That will not change even after Gen 2 because VR is innovating at such a fast rate, it needs a big manufacturer to offer some peace of mind for the masses sitting on the fence due to this.

    I can imagine a sales page where you choose the body, lenses etc. based on your budget. Just like building a PC up. There are hundreds of highly skilled hardware developers out there with no access to the market other than hope somebody buys their tech or company outright.

  • crychlyd

    Definitely interested in the Windows Holographic lineup for their price points, but I will not invest in a high-end headset from HTC or otherwise until HDR is included. Every other “upgrade” feels so minor compared to it.

  • What I would see in HTC Vive 2
    – roomscale system
    – HDR
    – eye tracking
    – horizotal FOV > 130deg.
    – wireless
    – 2x controller like Touch from Oculus

  • Kev

    PC based VR HMD’s coming this year from Lenovo, HP, Acer, Dell, Asus and many others – all with higher resolution than the Vive. I really like my Vive but they are going to get steamrolled if they don’t innovate quickly. I tried an Acer and the unit I saw had a little less fov but much higher resolution. One of the big players will become the Samsung or Apple of VR and that certainly won’t be HTC if they have a lazy release schedule.