HTC today announced that the Vive Pro headset only (without controllers or base stations) will cost $800 and launch on April 5th; the headset is now available for pre-order. Meanwhile, the original Vive is getting a price cut of $100, down to $500.
After announcing the Vive Pro headset back in January, HTC left the VR sector in suspense as to what the price would be and precisely when it would launch. Now we have the answers: the Vive Pro headset alone will cost $800 and launch on April 5th. Pre-orders are open globally as of today at Vive.com and other Vive retailers like Amazon [Amazon]. Orders placed before June 3rd will receive a six month trial of Viveport Subscription, HTC’s subscription content service which gives players unlimited access to five VR titles (picked from a library of 400) each month.
Note that this doesn’t include VR controllers or base stations, which means the headset-only offering is pretty much only meant as an upgrade for existing Vive owner who have the rest of the kit. The company says the full Vive Pro package (including new controllers and base stations with SteamVR 2.0 Tracking) won’t come until later this year.
As for the original Vive, the full package (including controllers and base stations) is dropping from $600 to $500, placing the headset within $100 of main rival Oculus Rift which is priced at $400. Last month the Rift surpassed the Vive for the first time in headset marketshare on Steam, which may have contributed to the price drop.
The original Vive will continue to ship with a two month trial of Viveport Subscription and a free copy of Fallout 4 VR (2017).
With the Vive Pro, HTC seems to be trying to please both enterprise/commercial customers and its core audience of (mostly) gaming-focused VR enthusiasts. For the former, less price sensitive group, the Vive Pro price is probably fine, but for the latter, the seemingly high price is likely to be met with disappointment, especially considering that the original Vive was priced at $800 at launch with base stations and controllers, and that the only consumers who could reasonably buy the Vive Pro headset at this point are early adopters who already invested in a Vive at either $800 or the later $600 price point.
Especially with the rise of smartphones, people have come to expect that new models of their favorite consumer electronics devices will offer an upgrade but be priced the same as the prior model. We also see this expectation strongly with game consoles, PCs, and peripherals. It was for that reason that I expected that the Vive Pro would be priced at $800 for the full package (ie: matching the original launch price of the Vive while offering an upgrade), but it turns out they opted for $800 for the Vive Pro headset upgrade alone.
At this point HTC hasn’t confirmed what the full Vive Pro package will cost, but if the headset alone is $800, $1,000 or more seems like a good bet by the time the new controllers and base stations are thrown in.
Given the prices in question, it seems likely that some Vive users will consider Samsung’s Odyssey headset as a potential upgrade too, as it boasts the same high resolution displays, and the complete package (including controllers) can be had for $200 cheaper than the Vive Pro headset alone.
Certainly the choice is good for the market, but it remains to be seen whether or not HTC can effectively court the professional and enthusiast segments with one device.
What do you think of the Vive Pro price? If you already own a Vive, will you consider upgrading? We’d love to hear your input in the comments below.