Today at CES HTC revealed its latest headset, the Vive Cosmos. While the headset is in many ways an evolution from past learnings, the company says it isn’t designed to succeed the original Vive.

While the original HTC Vive launched way back in April of 2016, HTC says that it continues to see strong sales. Today the company unveiled its latest tethered headset, Vive Cosmos, but it isn’t designed to be a ‘Vive 2’.

HTC says its original Vive headset is still going strong. | Image courtesy HTC

With four headsets now in its stables—Vive, Vive Pro, Vive Focus, and Vive Cosmos—HTC is attempting to appeal to range of different users.

Speaking to HTC’s GM of Americas, Dan O’Brien, we learned that the Cosmos is primarily designed to draw new customers into VR, specifically those who haven’t pulled trigger on a headset purchase because of the complexity associated with many of today’s headsets.

O’Brien said that 85% of would-be VR purchasers are citing setup complexity as their roadblock to purchase. HTC is tackling that by putting an inside-out tracking system on Cosmos, which means user’s won’t need to set up any external beacons for tracking, and the headset is expected to connect to the host PC by a single cable. The company is also putting a heavy emphasis on comfort and minimal weight for Cosmos—presumably other areas they’ve identified as keeping customers from purchasing—and further introducing a new software experience called the Vive Reality System to tie everything together.

But the headset isn’t a replacement for the original Vive, O’Brien said. HTC plans to continue to the original Vive product line alongside Cosmos. Another HTC executive wouldn’t say ‘Vive 2’, but did say that the company has plans for a proper successor to the original Vive.

HTC Announces Vive Pro Eye Headset With Integrated Eye-tracking

O’Brien broke down the positioning of the company’s four headsets. Vive Pro (and the new Vive Pro Eye) are really focused on enterprise. The original Vive is for enthusiasts who want the precision of SteamVR Tracking, and are looking for a high-end experience. Cosmos is being positioned more as a comfortable headset designed for ease-of-use and flexibility. Meanwhile, Focus represents the company’s standalone effort.

Photo by Road to VR

Put that way, HTC’s four headset strategy seems pretty tidy, but how consumers view the array of devices might not be so cut and dry, especially depending upon the price of Cosmos (which so far HTC isn’t talking about—not even saying if it will represent an ‘entry-level’ price point).

There’s still a lot of questions about the headset, including the fact that Cosmos could one day run from a smartphone, or perhaps lower-end PCs—something which HTC heavily teased but wasn’t ready to talk about. The company plans to begin sending out developer kits for Cosmos soon, with the eventual launch coming later this year, so we expect to hear much more in the coming months.

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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."
  • Rudl Za Vedno

    It’s been almost 3 years since Rift/Vive came out and so called enthusiast still have no hope in next gen PC VR headset being even announced in 2019. The best thing we can hope for is for some minor company to offer us half baked 2nd genish product. That is if we’re lucky. FB/Oculus and HTC obviously don’t give a flying… about PC VR anymore. They both want closed steam like ecosystem to lock masses. Let’s face it PC VR enthusiast aren’t their targeted audience anymore. I have strange feeling that the only winner coming out of this race to the bottom will neither of those 2 corps but Sony.

    • Zerofool

      From all the big names, Valve is the only ones I expect to deliver something decent (aligning with my interests and taste). I just don’t know if by the time they release whatever they’re cooking, it won’t be too late, beaten to it by an unexpected company. Whatever the case, 2019 sure sounds exciting for VR.

      • Rudl Za Vedno

        I really hope so, but am no so sure Valve will deliver anything except controllers this year. If I had to bet, I’d say 2nd generation Rift/Vive announcement in H12020 and delivered in H2 2020 or 2021. That is if valve or some other big player doesn’t suprise us with 4K or better headset announcements in 2019.

        • Zerofool

          You may be right, who knows.
          However, according to Tyler from VNN, the HMD has been in development for a really long time, and they’ve been showing it to selected devs since Early 2018. Also, in his videos he said that Valve’s next game announcement will definitely be a VR game, and it will happen somewhat soon. Combine that with the notion that the HMD will be bundled with the Knuckles controller and one of their VR games (most likely HLVR), things could point to a 2019 announcement.
          Then again… Valvetime, as Proof XR Lab pointed out, so who knows :) I guess even Valve doesn’t know for sure when they’ll release it :)

      • Proof XR Lab

        just remember…Valvetime

        • Zerofool

          Yeah, that’s the biggest drawback, I have to agree.

    • impurekind

      Almost but not even 3 years.

      Have you ever considered YOU are the problem by expecting things to move too fast onto the next thing?

      These newer headsets feel like mid-gen and incremental improvements because that’s basically exactly what they are. Or in Oculus case with the Quest it’s another mid level pillar of products they’re introducing alongside their high end and low end system.

      Give the technology a chance to breath and for generations to actually last a reasonable time, and then we’ll get to the actual next gen in due course.

      • Nobody55

        Yeah but if they really wanted, HTC and Occulus could release Pimax 5K/8K-like headsets!

        It’s more a matter of taking risks and return on investment. They didn’t sell as much as they wanted, and now they are looking for ways to address a broader audience. But for PC VR, it’s kind of bad news.

    • Gonzalo Novoa

      Yeah, I never thought I would say this but I agree with you. I think psvr2 will be great if they come up with decent controllers and Oculus seems to not give a damn about pcvr. It’s all about the Quest now, which is good in a way for VR but not what I want personally, far from it actually.

    • Tam Phan

      Wait, so one of your complaints against HTC and Oculus is that they are closed ecosystems, but you’re going to go to PSVR, which is also a closed ecosystem? You want a more advanced headset, but are considering going to PSVR which only has one headset, when HTC and Oculus have released with multiple headsets? Doesn’t make sense.

      If you want the most choice and the latest advances in VR tech, it’s going to be for PC VR. If not with Oculus or HTC, then Pimax or any of the other headset makers. PC is an open system with many choices, why the heck would you go to console?

    • max

      I think you don’t realize how technologically challenging it is to have high resolution video stream from your PC to the headset in real time without wires. Developing this sort of technology is a huge cost and on top of that there is a much bigger audience of users who simply want to play VR games and don’t want to buy a super powerful PC for that and struggle with the setup. Basically PC gamers who want wireless VR are in minority.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Whatever you put first and above God will most definitely fail and fall.If you have the common sense and humility to honor God’s Son Jesus you will have great success and fulfillment beyond anything you can imagine or fathom.

    • Firestorm185

      Dude, we understand your point, totally get you, but that’s not the best way to get people to go to your church. Go talk to your neighbors, you could probably impact them more than the people on a news site.

    • Rudl Za Vedno

      This is VR site dude. C’mon give us a break.

    • LJW
      • NooYawker

        I have this idiot blocked, he keeps making religious nut posts.
        Everyone needs to just block him and stop giving him the attention he so desires.

    • Jistuce

      I’ll buy JesusVR.

      • dk

        …little cross controllers

        • Laurence Nairne

          HMD is a crown of thorns – probably more comfortable than some of the offerings out there right now.

    • dk

      man it’s weird how sometimes he has reasonable comments and the rest of the time it sounds like a bot ….most likely too lazy to post pro gZeus comments himself

    • gothicvillas


    • Meow Smith

      The more you post the more people think you and your religion are crazy.

      Keep posting if that’s what you want to happen :-D

  • MW

    So, cheap mobile HMD with release date in 2020… Is there still any reason to be interested in VR ?

    • dk

      well the cosmos is basically a RiftS but with optional phone mode ….it’s good for new users

  • oompah

    Cheap mobile HMDs are the future of VR
    else the industry may vanish
    also in order to keep VR relevant, it would be better if
    the game cos. start making 3D educational/business systems say:
    1. How to handle different types of customers in various situations
    2. How to handle employees in various situations
    3. How to handle meetings & stage frights
    4. Interactive virtual school labs where u learn how to do scientific experiments
    5. How to repair a product ,similar to youtube videos but should be made interactive 3D. This various cos. can offer alongwith their products.
    6. Govts may offer 3D experience to make people learn how to behave in public places. China(& others) should learn how to make some ;-) ppl behave by making them learn in 3d interactive system and the consequences of not doing it.
    7. Law can be taught to children in 3D as experiences & consequences of misbehaving
    8. Criminals can be taught also
    9. Certification for VR based education,law enforcement, business etc.
    10. Simulation of manufacturing industry, health etc.

    I think some 3D game company take initiative & prepare a slew of application samples to make the industry interested

    • Justus Comon

      I’m totally, 100%, and completely disagree:)

      VR hast to have best possible quality, or there will be no VR at all. Whole point of VR is to simulating reality, not showing smartphone content in different way!

      People already have all tools needed for your purposes. And they don’t have time for another crappy gimmick. Whole idea and potential of VR is to cheat at least one sense (vision first) that another reality exists. VR cannot exist as tool for fast entertainment! We already have a tons of those!

      ‘Cheap mobile HMDs’ are nails to VR coffin. They means no development in hardware/software-> no AAA content-> no consumer awareness and base.

      • Guru Guy

        You can’t underestimate the ‘Wow’ factor that people still have to this day with three year old (Vive/Rift) tech. We see posts all the time about how people regret having waiting this long after finally trying it. I experience it when I left relative try my Rift. Sure the tech can be greatly improved on, but getting VR into the hands of the masses is not achievable with $1000+ units which require similarly priced hardware (PC’s) to run. Developers can’t create compelling made for VR content to a market that doesn’t exist and Facebook isn’t going to subsidize the software market forever – it needs to become large enough to be self sustaining. Its pretty clear that foveated rendering paired with eye tracking will be what is required to take the next big jump for high end VR and that tech is just not here year (in any way that would be consumer affordable at least).

        • Justus Comon

          Thanks for sharing your opinion, but I will not change my.

          ‘Wow factor’ is not enough to keep VR alive. This ‘wow’ is based on imagination and expectations: ‘wow what a perspective this tech has! I will wait and watch how it develops!’ And circle is closed.

          ‘health developer market, they can push engineers to squeeze every last bit of power out of devices’? No no no.Mobile VR has no space to squeeze. That’s the whole problem with mobile VR! And insufficient hardware is the reason why VR cannot stay alive (like in 90’s).

          My point is: consumers have a very speciecificand clear expectacions from VR. If VR cannot deliver it cannot be popular/mainstream/affordable etc.

          Someone has to take a risk and create something great (I know – it takes a lot of money), not cutting coupons from mobile market.
          If not – than we stuck in chicken-or-egg situation forever. Or for the moment when other tech (like traditional gaming) will give VR tools for development. But this will talk a decades.

          • kool

            VR isn’t going anywhere from now on. There is a real demand for VR people are playing legit games in VR and would rather play VR in than flat gaming. We witnessed the birth of a whole new platform and are watching an ecosystem develop itself around it. We have major players figuring out a life cycle for the headset and prototyping next gen features in standalone headsets. The 2nd gen headsets have to take all the features of this generation and improve on all of them in an affordable package or we will continue to be a niche market with a high barrier for entry.

          • Laurence Nairne

            Three words: The personal computer. PCs came to the home via the roundabout route of the office. People saw the value of their office desktops and began dreaming of that benefit in the home.

            Enterprise is a booming market in the VR space. The problem of modern day tech is everyone expects it to explode as soon as it appears on the scene. It’s complicated tech that isn’t just the sum of its parts. There are a myriad considerations we still don’t fully understand yet that we need to work out before we have a truly mainstream and permanent industry. This will be a slow burner for a while and unless you’re terminally ill or old, you probably have the time to wait for it to work. Sit tight.

          • Guru Guy

            My point is: consumers have a very speciecificand clear expectacions from VR. If VR cannot deliver it cannot be popular/mainstream/affordable etc.

            My point is that even when I demo my ‘GO’ to consumers they are blown away, it exceeds their expectations, and its not even 6DoF. The expectations I have experienced demoing VR to potential consumers vs what you have experienced must be drastically different.

  • Mark

    “… an evolution from past __learnings__”??? Are you serious or just trying to mess with us after watching “Borat” one too many times? On the off chance you are serious, the correct English would be: “… an evolution from past lessons” … not “learnings”, “LESSONS”!!!

    From Merriam Webster Dictionary the definition of a lesson is: “1. something learned or taught. i.e. “Travels to other countries taught him valuable lessons.””

    That is to say, something learned is not a “learning”, it is a “lesson”!

    • airball

      Lol, point taken, but ‘learnings’ is not Borat inspired. It is corporate-speak inspired. Spend a few days at a consulting shop, and you’ll be asked to “convert your learnings into actionable insights” quite regularly!

    • Laurence Nairne

      While ‘learnings’ doesn’t seem to be correct (it cannot be pluralised in this manner), the use of ‘learning’ for this purpose could be correct.

      From the same Mariam-Webster, a learning is:

      1 : the act or experience of one that learns
      a computer program that makes learning fun
      2 : knowledge or skill acquired by instruction or study
      people of good education and considerable learning
      3 : modification of a behavioral tendency by experience (such as exposure to conditioning)

      It is the second point that is of interest. It entirely depends on the intention of the author as to whether ‘lesson’ or ‘learning’ is the correct work here. Lesson is the thing given, learning is the knowledge/value gained.

  • Darshan

    IMO camera arrangement on Oculus Quest is more prominently placed to not to loose tracking in most use cases, HTC arrangement of camera in “internal groove” also in odd fashion not garnering any confidence for tracking dead zones.

  • impurekind

    God, these guys really have made a series of ugly looking headsets.

    • Laurence Nairne

      I dunno, I don’t mind this one as much as the other mushroom boxes.

  • Roger Anthony Essig

    I’ve been estimating a 2022 release for next gen for the past 2 years.

    • Laurence Nairne

      I’m happy for you ;)

  • JP

    If the Cosmos came with eye tracking in anticipation for foveated rendering, and would work with my OnePlus 6, it would be a no-brainer.

    • Laurence Nairne

      I’m going to go out on a limb and say it won’t work with your OnePlus 6 but I’d love to be wrong.

    • Void

      I have this old Nokia 8810, I’d like my VR headset to work with it because buying hardware is pricey and I want things to be as cheep as possible. I’m sure those lazy tech magicians will make it work with my old Nokia. I don’t see why it would’t work, you just plug it in and electricity goes in right ?

  • Tom Szaw

    Every person who buys any VR headset for PC is investing in VR 10-20x more money than mobile buyer. Isn’t it worth it for NVidia, Intel, Microsoft, Valve and others? It is.
    If someone buys mobile headset for 200-400 USD and that’s all, he spends way way less money, even if his games are included in the bill. PC VR will not die, but will be more and more popular is my guess. If you invest in VR thousands of dollars, you won’t throw your VR headset to the corner.

  • Callsign Vega

    The Vive Pro is still solidly a “gen 1” experience. It is a shame these companies are forgetting about the high end users that want something better after all of these years.

  • Moe Curley

    Speaking to HTC’s GM of Americas, Dan O’Brien, we learned that the Cosmos is primarily designed to draw new customers into VR the dark void of nonexistant customer support

  • REP

    When are they going to make a headset with wide FOV and eliminate SDE…that’s what I am interesting in! Not incremental improvements.