When revealing the HTC Vive Pro back in January, HTC left one salient piece of information out of the announcement: the price. After letting impression of the headset’s higher resolution, improved ergonomics, and other changes simmer for a few months, the company this week finally revealed the price: $800 for the headset alone (not including controllers or tracking base stations). For many of HTC’s most loyal fans, the price was far higher than anticipated.
In what seems like a case of poor messaging, this week’s announcement of the HTC Vive Pro price was received widely negatively among VR enthusiasts. The kicker, for many, is that the $800 pricetag is for the headset only, which doesn’t include controllers or the base stations needed to track it. HTC plans to make the full Vive Pro kit available later this year (including the controllers and base stations), and that’s expected to run somewhere around $1,000.
That means that the only target audience for the currently available $800 headset upgrade is those who already own a Vive headset… many of which are consumer early adopters, and many of whom bought into HTC’s VR ecosystem back when the original Vive itself launched at $800.
Despite HTC naming the headset the Vive Pro, their messaging has straddled the line between the consumer and commercial demographics. Even though the Vive Pro is probably a solid upgrade for VR arcades and enterprises which have a strong business case for buying the premium option, HTC seemed to too readily imply that the headset would be great for both commercial and consumer sectors alike—like how they’re proudly offering six months of their consumer-focused Viveport Subscription service to purchasers of the Vive Pro.
Hundreds of comments from VR enthusiasts flooded hangouts like the Vive and Oculus sections of Reddit; our own article on the topic has spawned 160 comments, while the video announcement on YouTube attracted more than 300 comments and has seven times more downvotes than upvotes (at the time of writing).
Some joked, some jeered, and some were (in a way) amazed at HTC’s decision. Here’s a few highly upvoted standouts we spotted, which give a sense of a slice of the community’s sentiment:
This is an absolute f’in joke. I’m a guy who preorders the second these things go live. I buy the not-really-necessary stuff. I even bought 7 trackers! And I’m not even considering this thing at this price.
They have truly lost their minds.
Wait… It doesn’t come with the [base stations] or controllers at that price? WTF are they thinking.
800 for ONLY the headset? That would be too much even for a true next gen headset let alone one that has the same specs as the Odyssey.
DOA for normal users.
Won’t be shelling out that kind of money. I will stick with the original Vive for now. Price point is a big disappointment for early adopters like myself. HTC might lose some of its base over this.
It seems like HTC could have greatly reduced, if not completely avoided, this reaction by more carefully positioning the Vive Pro as a product built specifically for professionals. By directing their messaging at professional use cases only, without intermingling consumer messaging, they could have simply left the door open for anyone from any demographic to buy the headset if the price suited them, while avoiding the sense that they priced a product out of reach of many fans who would like the upgrade and be happy to continue supporting HTC’s VR efforts.
We reached out to HTC for comment on the community’s reactions to the Vive Pro but the company declined to comment.