If you are out and about this weekend in San Diego (Comic-Con maybe?) then you might want to head over to 530 Island Avenue. HTC is there all weekend and showing off their take on virtual reality with the HTC Vive VR. This unit has been widely publicized since its announcement back at MWC in March and looks to offer a real upmarket alternative to what is currently out there. We were there yesterday checking out Vive for ourselves and on first impressions, Vive does not disappoint.
The truck (which is making its way across the country) houses small Vive rooms and each room allows the user to submerse themselves in a full on virtual reality experience. The Vive itself is still not the finished product which will be shipped to consumers and instead is the developers edition on show. As such, the finished product will be tweaked somewhat before its full consumer release later on in the Fall. This goes for the software too. However, the experience is already at a level which will surprise many who test out the unit. And believe me, this is one you do have to experience to truly understand what Vive is capable of. The testing program on offer consists of a few different virtual reality scenarios which all play out one after the other and look to showcase the variance on offer with the unit.
Vive currently comes with two wireless controllers and these allow for the interaction between you and the programs. This is where the system still feels in its infancy as the interaction is not perfect, yet. The sensitivity on offer is great but certain features like grabbing, moving and interacting remains to be polished completely. That said, what is truly amazing is the use of space with Vive. Once the unit is on and everything begins you are transported into a whole other world. The ability to walk around the room is seamless and you do feel as though you are actually there. Not to mention, the full interaction and ability of Vive’s trackers to adjust to your position adds to the overall experience. The first program is an underwater scenario where you are on a sunken ship. You can walk around the ship, walk to the edge, look overboard and check out everything that is going on. This is followed by the second program which is a quick cooking school scenario and is definitely more fun than it sounds. Following which, is a 3D painting session and last up, a robotics workshop.
Overall, the program is designed to highlight and showcase different aspects of Vive’s capabilities and it does this well. In truth, this is one product which when being used you can’t help but realize how effective this technology is going to be in the future. One of the positions which Vive is adopting is as a high-end gaming unit and the last program (robotics workshop) really does highlight how good and subversive the gaming will be. At point’s it is scarily realistic.
For those interested in the consumer version, no firm details were provided on when, but we were told that Fall time all will be unveiled, including the pricing. However, as has been previously reported this will not be a cheap unit. That said, the experience is not one you could call cheap either. The Vive does very well transport the user into another world and once the full software and hardware is tweaked, this will be a great product when it lands. You can check out a few images of the Vive experience below.