HTC opened up orders in Europe today for their latest VR headset, Vive Pro Eye, a version of the company’s enterprise headset with integrated eye-tracking. HTC also opened up pre-orders in China too, with launch slated for May 24th; there’s no word on when to expect it in North America though.
Coming in at a eye-watering €1,708 (~$1,900) for the full system, Vive Pro Eye includes the entire kit and caboodle hardware-wise: Vive Pro Eye headset, link box, two Vive controllers, two SteamVR 2.0 base stations, adapters, cables, etc—everything you need (minus a capable computer) to get you up and running.
It seems the company isn’t selling the headset on its lonesome though, so you’ll need to go all-in if you’re looking to mess with the device’s admittedly pretty compelling eye-tracking solution, which was created by Swedish eye-tracking stalwarts Tobii.
To be clear, the €1,708 is an upfront cost with Europe’s included value-added tax (VAT) that private consumers are obligated to pay. Registered businesses however (very much the target audience) might be able to reclaim the ~23% VAT on their taxes, effectively making the whole system cost €1,389 pre-VAT. HTC prominently advertises the reduced price on their enterprise-facing site.
For €230 more, businesses can spring for an additional support package that includes a two-year limited warranty for commercial use, premium service & expedited repair, and enterprise portal access.
You might be wondering why it’s only available in Europe and China for now. HTC is staying mum on the subject, and hasn’t released info on when to expect it in North America (or at what price), however one explanation could be the recently escalated trade war with China, which has seen reciprocal tariffs of 25% levied on many goods traveling to and from both countries. The company may wait to see how it plays out, as they would likely have to eat the cost of the tariff so it doesn’t dramatically impact the final price in the US. This is however just healthy conjecture, and it could be that a North America roll-out is simply being staggered to help estimate potential demand.
In respects to pricing, both Europe and China are pretty similar, with pre-orders opening in China today for ¥13,888 (~$2,018), VAT included. Considering taxes in the US vary from state-to-state, and are significantly lower overall in comparison to either Europe or China’s VAT system, it could mean US pricing may differ when it eventually comes farther westward.
First announced at CES 2019, Vive Pro Eye was presented in a press conference where we got to go hands-on with the headset, taking in a veritable buffet of use-cases from the company’s early enterprise partners.
We got a chance to see some basic foveated rendering, user-intent analysis, and gaze-based interactions—all done to a reasonably good effect. Besides eye-tracking, not much else has changed about Vive Pro Eye, so if you’re interested to see what ultimately sets it apart from the first HTC Vive, check out our in-depth review of Vive Pro here.