Having revealed SteamVR and the Vive VR headset just six months ago, Valve and HTC set an aggressive consumer release date of Q4 2015. This would make the companies first-to-market over major competitors. Now, however, Valve is dialing back expectations for the HTC Vive release date, saying that most of the headsets will go out in Q1 2016.

While Valve and HTC’s announcement of an entry into the consumer VR landscape came last compared to its two nearest competitors, Oculus and Sony, the company had impressively planted the first flag in the ground for a consumer release of the headset in Q4 2015, with Oculus and Sony following in Q1 and Q2 2016 respectively.

That lead out the gate doesn’t seem quite as far now, with Valve announcing today that only a limited quantity of units would be shipped before year’s end.

Later this year, HTC will offer the first commercial Vive units via a limited quantity of community and developer systems, with larger quantities shipping in calendar Q1 2016.

While there are reportedly a few hundred Vive Developer Edition kits now in the wild, Valve says that they’ve received more than 10,000 signups for the Vive dev kit. Other than nearing the shipping date, this is likely a major reason behind closing signups for the kit as the company did just the other day.

See Also: Consumer Vive Is “Gonna Look a Lot Different” – Modular Headphones, New Mounting System, and More

While Oculus doesn’t plan to ship the consumer version of their Rift headset until Q1 2016, they have stated that pre-orders will start sometime in 2015. With Valve’s latest announcement, the ‘first-to-market’ advantage may not be quite as clear cut as expected.

New Vision Pro App Brings Faster Typing by Using the iPhone in Your Pocket

The ‘big three’ headsets have yetto be priced for release.

Lead photo courtesy Maurizio Pesce (CC BY 2.0)

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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."
  • SuperDre

    Who actually is suprised by this.. Q4 with not even having shown a consumer product, and also with only having shipped a limited number of devkits, doesn’t suprise me that they will only ship bulk in Q1 2016, I doubt if they’ll even ship consumer versions to actual consumers (bar a few special individuals), I think the first ones will be shipped to developers first (which ofcourse also makes much more sense as you want content)..
    Another reason ofcourse would be the limited supply of displays, as Oculus is getting their displays from the same manufacturer..

  • Michael

    Guess I will be pre-ordering a Rift this year instead of purchasing a Vive.

  • Curtrock

    So much for all the “Vive wins because of being 1st / Oculus loses because took too long to release” statements. Moving fwd, the Vive looks AMAZING, and no need to rush it to market. Same logic applies to both Oculus & Valve: getting it right is more important than getting it out faster. I’m buying both, no matter which one releases 1st.

  • neutralentropy

    Interesting development. Some called this for sure, I’ll just say I was mentally preparing for vive to release nov – dec and have to watch others own consumer VR ahead of me, mostly down to money around Christmas time. There’s one or two more rounds for oculus and valve to go yet probably around oculus connect and the vive reveal event where I will make a final choice armed hopefully with all last the hard facts we are missing about price and ship dates. This year right around then I’m putting down the cash for a new rig and it will leave some sort of limited budget and a one of those format war esque choices. Yeah first to market is a pretty powerful chip to have or squander for vive, limited release definitely isn’t the same as first to market.

    • Darshan Gayake

      Really First to market is not much significance if its not First Right Done thing…. its smarter to wait and see both in action and their public acceptance since one which will get more accepted will get more content.

      Oculus has upper hand with FB’s capital and marketing team by their side… They are also going to put it as economical as they can.. not case with VIVE its going to be premium… Then we are going to need powerful rig to drive them (Minimum 970 ideal 980.. another $500 then SMPS Cpu and what not..). its lot wiser to wait release +quarter to see the trend.

  • Blender1

    Anybody know which stores they’ll be demoing in? Rift or Vive, no Sony for me. The more I use the my DK2, the more I don’t want to be tethered.

  • Darshan Gayake

    For untethered i think Gear VR is only option by far, for best quality and almost assured content support..

    Gear VR consumer is set to be out Q4 2015, You may wish to buy it since….Gunjack VR is dame cool. And its Un-tethered.

    • darkesco

      Absolutely. Gear VR is the mobile king of VR, but hopefully that will change. As Samsung shoots themselves in the foot by limiting common Android features, I hope the user base rejects there newer phones and a better company takes over the mobile VR market. As a VR enthusiast and developer, there are a number of reason I want the full potential of mobile VR market to be open to all phone manufacturers and not just Greedsung.

      • Darshan Gayake

        True darkesco, i have always found Samsung to be greedy and selling overpriced phones or just below par hardware for money they ask when we talk about their economical models.

        For mobile vr market take over only mighty opponent is apple but sadly they are in their closed environment and so far not even talking about smart phone VR. when they do they will do it best but sadly no word till now. No3 Microsoft is another apple in its own right with windows which is shrunken in sense of app market. No.4 is Lenovo+Motorola here i expect something better but who will peach them for VR?
        May be No.6 LG can do something.
        ( All data IDC.com 2015 Q2 Global smart phone market share.. You can search google not posting link here at it will UN -necessarily make my post blocked..)

        If Google standardize all apps and support development while also curate experience there is some hope. you can easily see some apps are top notch in VR at play store while most are just few minutes very limited experiences. now if you compare them with what Gear VR offers now. I dont think OCUSUNG has any competitor in nearest future if they do everything right with consumer version with economical or non-inflated pricing.

        • SuperDre

          talk about greedy and selling overpriced phones or just below par hardware for money they ask, and then you talk about apple… My god, if there is a company that is selling overprices hardware and is greedy then it’s Apple…
          Samsung has very decend phones and certainly not overpriced compared to other companies (I don’t have samsung hardware at all)..

          • Darshan Gayake

            Apple i cited as opponent who can bring alternative VR product as darkesco has posted “better company takes over the mobile VR market” I also talked about Microsoft, Lenovo, Motorola, LG all are smart phone market players who can bring competitive phone VR product.

            So i don’t think i talk any irrelevant thing… Its just that you had read only what you wanted to. One more thing I definitely don’t say apple is not greedy.. But that does not clears Samsung.

            If you don’t have Samsung hardware how you know they are very decent and certainly no over priced?