HTC has announced that it’s first VR headset, the SteamVR powered Vive, is to appear at 100 retail locations from this month and for those ordering online, they’re promising to ship to you within 72 hours wherever you are in the world.
The first SteamVR powered virtual reality headset, the HTC Vive, launched in April and suffered a somewhat faltering start. The technology was great, as we said in our in depth launch review, but getting your hands on a system was decidedly tricky – especially if you were based in Europe.
Pre-orders went on sale in February, but as soon as launch day came, extended delivery times for the room-scale VR system caused by high demand built frustration among customers. As time went on, it transpired that there were more pre-orders who had suffered some extremely frustrating payment issues at the hands of HTC’s chosen third party payment provider, Digital River.
Now on a mission to rebuild its reputation with customers, HTC have announced that if you order via their online shop for $799 US (excl. shipping), they’ll ship your Vive to you within 72 hours worldwide. A bold move indeed. Note however that Digital River appears still to be the tasked with the logistics and payment associated with your order.
Alongside this new online initiative, HTC are pushing hard into bricks and mortar retail, with 100 locations throughout North America due to receive a Vive demo area in the month of June. It’s generally regarded as a truism that VR is a technology that must be seen to be appreciated, and with this move HTC will be able to do just that. Bear in mind, as much as readers of this website have likely been living and breathing virtual reality for a little while, the technology is still an undiscovered curio for the majority of the population.
It’s a strong move from HTC which seems to be taking a march on their biggest competitor Oculus, who are still struggling to fulfil original back orders from the pre-order launch back in January and subsequent launch in late March.