Vive Cosmos got off to a rocky start when it was launched earlier this month. Some pretty questionable low-light tracking actually forced us to postpone our review in fear of having received a defective unit (spoiler: it wasn’t). While the company pushed out a hot fix shortly afterwards that improved the range of acceptable lighting scenarios, tracking was still far from perfect. Now HTC says a software update is available in beta that addresses a number of tracking issues that currently plague its latest PC VR headset.

Update (October 25th, 2019): HTC today announced the Cosmos 1.0.7 software is now available in beta, which is said to ameliorate a number of items on the list of user grievances.

We haven’t had a chance to jump in just yet to test it out, but we’ll be putting it through its paces in the coming days to see just how much the software update has changed our admittedly tepid opinion of the $700 PC VR headset.

Original Article (October 21st, 2019): HTC says in a recent blog post that the update looks to improve low-light tracking in Cosmos, and do it with better prediction during fast movements. The company is also aiming to reduce tracking jitter, something that we noticed even in optimal lighting conditions.

All of this should also come alongside official compatibility for Vive Wireless Adapter, but that’s probably the least of your worries of you actually bought the $700 headset and are hoping for some improvement in the overall experience.

As for the other half of the equation, the company maintains that Cosmos’ controllers will get improved low-light and high brightness tracking stability too.

Photo by Road to VR

The future update is also said to include improved prediction models when a controller exits the headset’s FOV, and faster and more accurate positional recovery when returning into the headset’s FOV.

Furthermore, HTC maintains they’re bringing improved near-field headset/controller tracking, which they say should improve archery mechanics in games—a difficult scenario since the controllers come very close to the headset’s inside-out tracking cameras, making them difficult to position accurately.

Vive Cosmos is the Lowest Rated HTC Headset on Amazon by Far

In our review of Cosmos (we wrote it after trying the initial low-light hot fix), Road to VR’s executive editor Ben Lang noted that Cosmos’ tracking performance still falls somewhere between PSVR and Rift S when played in optimal conditions. There’s no telling how much HTC can actually do from the software side of things in significantly improving tracking, although we’re hoping to try the upcoming software update for ourselves in the coming days to see just how far the admittedly tepid hardware offering has come along.

In addition to the forthcoming update, the headset’s 1.0.5 update was released late last week, and is said to include better room setup performance for low-light environments as well as solving a USB audio driver compatibility issue that effected users with certain system configurations.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • MadridiCooL

    Too expensive, too late sorry HTC. Oculus Quest is the future of VR I believe and it will be $350 this coming black Friday.

    • Trenix

      With that low refresh rate? Nah.

      • dk

        quest2 would be pretty cool

        • Trenix

          With all the founders missing? Doubt it. Oculus Quest only survived because it’s a standalone headset that supports games. Outside of that, it’s a piece of crap. We’ll see what the adapter can do. But still, I prefer 360 tracking, never have any issues.

          • dk

            yeah sure …I just mean if the quest2 2021 has sd855+ and 90hz and rgb matrix and optional proper dp pc connection that would be pretty cool …as is at the moment it’s not that great for me

            …obviously it can be much better in other areas but that will be a great start

          • asdf

            yeah trenix is just a little flappy….

            “Oculus quest only survived because its a standalone headset that supports games..”

            uhhh yeah no fucking shit dumb ass. Thats WHY its so great. Cheap and effective, allowing anyone to join and not just gamers like us that can afford other systems.

            Non 360 tracking works 99.5% of the time which is a valued trade off for wires, base stations and $1k+ computers. Regardless of what YOU think, thats what the majority of people think otherwise the quest wouldnt sell.

            If you can’t understand this simple logic of why the quest is so successful, or you do see it and still find a reason to fanboy complain, then youre just a little crying bitch imho.

            Most of us arent bashing a successful product, instead we own it and its competitor. There is no reason to bitch and bash when healthy competition is pushing tech forward.

            They know the arena they are in and how to make these headsets. its a game about statistics and logical gambles over the industry. so dont act like you know what they need to do to be successful or be perfect because honestly you have no fucking idea how to run an HMD company, otherwise you’d be far more successful then someone who needs to come here and bash on other tech.

          • Trenix

            Are you talking to yourself? I said a few sentences and you’re making a research paper to counter arguments I never made. Butthurt is real in this one, Mark doing some overtime plowing on you? Also there are many tradeoffs, ffs it doesn’t take long for anyone to see the difference between an actual VR headset, and this standalone junk that runs poorly and looks as poor as it runs.

            Now I don’t care if people buy it and if it brings in people, sure whatever. Yet their experience is really watered down. Hard to tell if it’s going to bring in loads of people, or push more away. We see how much they’ve sold, they’re not going to tell you how many were returned. As for success, they expected to sell what, 1.3 million this year? They’re only at 400,000 last time I checked. Facebook is aiming for a product they can make money from, which is why the Rift 2 was not released meanwhile the quest was.

            We’ll see what they can do as I said before, but I don’t think quest is the answer. Also I’m sure many people aren’t buying anything that has Facebook attached to it because of their privacy issues. They’re probably the worst company to invest into VR and extremely suspicious that they are.

          • Nick Wallace

            Good VR isn’t about the Graphics, look at how popular games like Job Simulator, Super Hot and Beat Saber are, they don’t need to look super realistic, they need to have excellent game play because it’s good game play that gets people into it and pushes past the graphics.

            Everyone knows exactly why Facebook are getting into VR, they’ve literally saturated the market, they can’t get any more customers onto Facebook so have to find new ways, no secrets there so you can take off the tinfoil hat.

          • David Dahlstrom

            If you want to be successful, you can’t confuse your audience. If you’re going to focus on the “acceptable graphics”, “great gameplay” audience, then keep that audience happy; and like Nintendo and Facebook, you will be successful. On the other hand, if you’re going to focus on the high end gamer who wants to play both Beat Saber and DCS and justify their 2080Ti purchase, then make sure you keep them happy. As one of the latter folks, I was expecting HTC’s next major consumer product to push to the next level of high-end VR (and probably cost a bit more), but instead we get a sort-of “popular” targeted product that basically alienates their existing customer base by compromising tracking (Vive’s hallmark feature) and cost-cutting out all the reasons I’d buy them over the competition. If you want two product lines optimized for two audiences, then fine; but there is no way in the world that you can offer a product like this and make either camp very happy.

          • Trenix

            It’s not just the graphics, it’s the refresh rate and games are being gutted just so these low quality VR headsets can be supported. Stop downplaying the reality. Again, you’re an example of what I said earlier. You’re trying to convince yourself and others that it’s not bad as it truly is. Trust me, it is. Facebook would sell you crappy mobile games on your VR headset, in fact they did with their Oculus GO. So keep supporting the company that is plaguing the VR community.

          • Erilis

            who needs them when they got Carmack

          • Trenix

            And what exactly does he have to offer? Did he ever make a VR headset? Least the original developers wanted a VR headset and actually went through with it. Hopefully someone picks up these past developers and makes something better.

      • Immersive Computing

        72hz no thanks…

      • Dylan

        Unlike these people, I’ve used a quest. The “low” refresh rate actually seems faster than WMR’s typically 90hz because of amazing low pixel persistence. 72hz is fine.
        This also means the system requirements for the quest as a PC headset are insanely low. And it’s tracking has always been good.
        What amazes me is that the WMR 2 camera + imu tracking was better than cosmos 2 years ago.

        • Trenix

          Yes, people spend more for higher refresh rate because it doesn’t make a difference despite it being more demanding on your graphics card. I bought a Valve Index, for who knows why. I own a 144hz monitor because I just like to throw away money. Man you got me, I have clearly never used an Oculus headset either, because you said so! Damn you have it all figured out!

          You facebook fans are mentally retarded at best.

          • Ben Bega

            He said it was fine, not that higher refresh rates dont make a difference..

          • Trenix

            It’s not fine, especially for VR. There was a reason why the original Oculus Rift aimed for 90 hz, not 80 or 72.

          • Ben Bega

            So do you think everyone praising it and saying its okay are lying?

          • Trenix

            No, those are just people who bought into something and are going to defend it to not only trick others, but themselves, that they made a great investment. Remember, the original developers said that 90hz should be minimum for VR. Yet as soon as facebook bought it out, it changed. I know the difference of refresh rate, with the Index I can change it whenever I want.

            Refresh rate matters and if it didn’t, why don’t they go with 60 hz like most monitors? Cause it’s harder to use it for longer, whether if it causes headaches, nausea, and I’m sure other issues.

          • Zantetsu

            Wow … you are doing exactly what you are accusing Dylan of doing. You have bought an Index and now are hell bent on ensuring that everyone knows that only YOU made the correct choice. Hypocrite.

          • Trenix

            I bought the Index because I refuse to support Facebook who got rid of their founders. Oculus Rift was a good intro to VR, it could of been way better. Yet Facebook destroyed it and you’re paying for it. Go sell you data for free, as your company has to pay up millions for their privacy lawsuits, moron. Anything is better than supporting facebook, even Vive.

          • Zantetsu

            Oh noes — “your data” is being sold! You’d probably make more selling your tinfoil hat than anyone will off of your precious, precious “data”.

          • Trenix

            Facebook is only being sued billions just because. Nice one, maybe you should take off the tinfoil hat and look at what’s going on rather than mindlessly following the crowd and worshiping monopolies who can careless about you.

          • Nick Wallace

            Yes 90hz was decided as being more than enough to combat any motion sickness because they had to account for everyone. 72hz combined with low persistence screens means that it’s fine for probably 90% of people and they’re fine with that. Stats don’t tell the whole story.

          • Erilis

            I’m not sure what it is, but I don’t hear a lot of people complaining about being sick using the quest. I mean, nothing get’s me sick anymore, so I just have to do the girlfriend test to assess sickness induction.

          • Trenix

            Duration has lot to do with it. The Quest has a battery life of two hours, so as long as you take breaks every few hours or so with low resolution, you’ll be free from headaches and motion sickness. Facebook I guess was pretty smart with this, maybe they intentionally made the headset have a lower battery life to prevent such issues. Also everyone is effected differently, while it may take some multiple hours, some people just can’t even use a headset with a low refresh rate at all.

            With the Valve Index, I can play for up to six hours and honestly, it sometimes still effects me because that’s way beyond normal use of a headset. Man I didn’t even know the Quest had such a low battery life, would be a terrible experience playing VR fishing simulator.

          • Erilis

            I never understood fishing simulators, but I guess there’s a lid for every pot.
            I’ve played quest for hours, without a problem. In my opinion you have to have a counterweight, and a battery is a perfect counterweight, and while connected it can easily charge at the same time. In fact, I never charge it, I just keep an extra battery and charge that separately. So that’s that.
            I haven’t tried it for a while, but I couldn’t play hell blade for more than min before getting sick before. maybe 10 min on Lone Echo, but once I overcame it, it didn’t matter how long I play for. So length of time is not the issue for newcomers, no one plays for 5 hours once they do it the first time

          • Trenix

            Someone who just invested into a headset for hundreds of dollars isn’t going to use it for more than 5 hours once they get it? Come on now, it’s exactly what I did.

          • Erilis

            I mean, did you try VR before you paid 1200$ for an index? it’s that very first few times before you got your hands on it that you wouldn’t spend hours. Actually, i think i did stay 4 hours in a vive pro playing 4 people in arizona sunshine, horde mode. I felt very discombobulated, but not sick. Index is made for long sessions, so you should, although it gets a bit hot

          • Erilis

            he’s just saying that low persistence is important as well. He makes a good point. There are more factors to consider now than back in 2016

          • Erilis

            Even if you have the index set to 60hz, or 90hz, it has incredibly low persistence. It’s partly what gives it clarity, and a good experience even on lower spec machines. It’s partly why I think it was a good bet to go for higher refresh rates than higher ppi.

        • Erilis

          I noticed this as well, I can’t get my head around it. I Play beatsabre just as good on 72hz as my 90hz on 1080ti. I don’t know if it’s low persistence that does it, Olead is know for not having the best. I may be wrong, (i just realized that as I was typing), it’s capable of 90hz, so perhaps the persistency is at that or better rate. I thought it might just be that it’s better optimized, or doesn’t have all those processing things happening in the background, SteamVR, oculus store, chrome, spyware, or whatever else is going on

  • Joe Pineapples

    I just don’t see what this offers over the competition. Honestly, who will buy this? If it came down in price, maybe, but as it stands its a very hard sell for HTC.

    • Trenix

      I agree, I don’t get why they just didn’t upgrade their original Vive headset with better controllers, resolution, and increased refresh rate. I honestly might of purchased it then instead of an Index.

      • Jarilo

        That’s what the Index did

      • Rowdy123

        If they had increased the field of view to something north of 120 – this would be selling. For me at least, FOV is the biggest reason this is no go. Other than FOV it has top of line resolution, flip up visor, is ergonimic, etc. People complain about the controllers in low – light but that will be fixed. So the big missing factor needed to differentiate … is FOV. I know people will respond with other nit picky things it needs – but as a total package – other than FOV – this is best in class.

        • Jerald Doerr

          I believe it’s more than that… I here the deal breaker is the fact that the controllers dont register if there close to the HMD…. I believe this is a hardware problem and this can’t be fixed with software unless the controllers have accelerometers in them.

          • Dmacell

            If one controller occludes the other it flies away or disappears completely. Went back after 4 days of frustration. Sadly Windows MR has better tracking with only two cameras

          • Jerald Doerr

            Yeah, see that’s just completely stupid design….. I mean hello!!! You can’t possibly say they did not actually see this crap in the prototype?????

            I think the only reason the 1st Vive was a great device is because HTC got lots of help from Valve…. Now you see what happens when they take a “big” leap forward on there own only to fall off a steep cliff!

          • Erilis

            it’s a little better now. One thing that really helped, and this worked for wmr tracking as well, is to use 1.6 or 1.7v rechargeable batteries. They make the lights brighter, and I think bluetooth is a little more responsive. if wmr can do it, so should they

          • Erilis

            they register, they just do funny things when they are on top of each other, and they are never still, they slowly do little 8 circles all the time. strange thing is, that in Vive origin they act much better. Still with their competition, rift s is just getting better and better, with the last update over the weekend, it’s just flawless.

        • Zantetsu

          There is also the fact that HTC has no idea how to make good lenses for VR — they have not improved the poor quality lenses of the original Vive through the Vive Pro and now into the Cosmos. I personally am never going to buy another headset again where I can only look dead center without significant blur.

          • Erilis

            I think that’s a bit more of an WMR thing right now, only having clarity in dead center. Htc didn’t get the combination of halo and their optics quite right.

        • Nick Wallace

          There’s so much more wrong with it, the flip up visor is a gimmick at best that makes finding the sweet spot difficult as is but then you need to consider how small their sweet spot is already and it makes it even MORE difficult which really takes away from the increased resolution.

          It doesn’t have the refresh rate capabilities of the Index, compatibility is not good enough with its controllers.

          On top of that you have the high price too. This is barely best in class when it’s really in the same class as a Rift S but costs hundreds of dollars more.

          • Erilis

            I disagree with one thing you say, about the flip up visor being a gimmick, it’s really useful, and very well thought out. Once it’s in the sweet spot, I can flip it up and back down and it get’s back in the sweet spot. that’s as far as the good part goes,

            the bad part: it took me hours to find the sweet spot, I realized that I had to have the halo literally like a halo on top of my head, and do all kinds of adjustments to it. People misunderstand the lenses, Its like the Index, once the sweet spot is in place, everything looks clear, almost all the way to the edge.

          • Rowdy123

            People keep talking about the “bad” reviews. I’ve read a many of them. And reading between the lines it’s just reviewers taking the position at the outset they want to wrtie something bad. Jumping on the bandwagon. I largely feel this way because they tend to list a bunch of things like top resolution and flip up design – and then at the end not pick a few things and say “bad”. Like “great…good…good…great….good…but tracking issue (that will be fixed this month) … so all bad … C-.”

            I know people will disagree … but this is my general “feeling” having read a bunch of these reviews that essentially just cut and paste each other.

          • Erilis

            Yes, I don’t think it deserves the bad rap it’s got so far. When odyssey+ came out they said it was great, but migraine inducing, it just needs some adjustments and straps what have you. The cosmos doesn’t have the same benefit of doubt.

            I don’t think HTC has the same manpower as oculus, so inventing a new tracking is not going to be as fast as oculus. they seem to put more focus on panels, and ergonomics and that flip up thing. Even pass through, there are 3 ways to get pass through, even a button on the side (would have preferred volume button).

            It should have been, a little bit better than rift s, although a lot more expensive.

            With the wireless module, and the tracker module with index controllers, it should be a little better than the index (although a lot more expensive). I can’t decide what’s better, fov or wireless, kind of on par. I don’t have 2080ti, so 144hz is not really an option for me

            still, as far as content, HTC actually makes a lot of content and experiences, there’s game of thrones, ready player one, everything is very arcady. I think their audience is arcades in Asia.

        • How can you say this is “Best in Class” when almost every review has lots of bad points about it?
          Even R2VR thought their unit was defective when it wasn’t. It sounds more like “Worst In Class”.

        • Erilis

          I have the Vive Cosmos, and I agree with what you say. I managed to get the lenses closer, by making the padding and face casket smaller, (old vive trick), still, they should have had less stereoscopic overlapping and canted lenses, they saw the Index, they could have done the same thing, it’s the same size panels, even bigger.

  • Ardra Diva

    i don’t understand how these companies expect us to spend 700 dollars for a hundred more pixels per eye and 10Hz. these baby-steps are ridiculous. C’mon Varjo, make a consumer model and knock Oculus and HTC on their butts !!

  • grindathotte .

    The Cosmos is clearly a flop. Let’s hope HTC produce a completely new design and don’t pull out of consumer VR altogether. My guess is the Cosmos will be priced to clear pretty soon.

    • Trenix

      Out of all the companies, it seemed like HTC was the most invested into VR and made multiple different headsets. You’d think they’d figure it out. At this point, I think they’re going to be out of the picture soon enough.

  • Let’s hope so. As for the tracking of the headset, I’m sure they will manage to fix it sooner or later. The controllers’ tracking is much harder, especially to handle all the occlusions

  • fuyou2

    FUYOU HTC!…Don’t bother with the software update…SHITTY HARDWARE..

  • chtan

    Updated my last Sunday. It seems like this Beta is making the tracking a but worse than the previous version. Played with Borderland 2VR for a while and there quite a few of stutters due to tracking. It may be the game itself which causing the stutter. Need more time to do further testing before passing judgement. I have a solid tracking before the upgrade.

    • Erilis

      i notice that the tracking inside of Vive Origins is always a lot better. I think it’s how it’s mapped for games that is worse. I haven’t tried borderlands with it, (busy with asgards wrath) it’s just that rift s is so damn good for tracking. it almost makes it feel like the refresh rate is higher because of it.

      • chtan

        Tested the latest update fixed the issue for me. The occlusion is way better then the previous version. Need to test it further some more to be sure.

  • Pizzy

    This device is DOA in my opinion. HTC is out of touch.

  • Jerald Doerr

    Anyone deal with their “new” Tech Support I’m interested to hear about it? Good, better, bad???

    • Erilis

      they have a support page where you instantly can talk to someone, never waiting more than a couple of minutes, and they are knowledgeable. I asked them how to remove the halo, and they wouldn’t’ help me, saying that it would void the guarantee. anything else was pretty forward, but I never tried to return it.

  • Nr4ge

    still waiting on the tracking improvement